Eleven state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Four states are in special session and two states have special sessions forthcoming. AKC GR is tracking nearly 1,100 state bills thus far in 2011. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit the 2011 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated each weekday, provides the latest bill text, status, and Legislative Alerts posted by the AKC.
For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com.
Here are some highlights of the state bills AKC GR is currently tracking:
California – Assembly Bill 1121 would offer cities and counties the option of issuing a puppy license for microchipped dogs under 4 months old. The puppy license would be charged at the sterilized rate regardless of the animal’s reproductive status and would expire when the dog reaches 12 months of age. Pet dealers, pet stores, rescue groups, humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals would be required to provide information on puppy sales to the local licensing agency. The measure would also allow local governments to accept electronic proof of sterilization. AB 1121 passed the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
California – Senate Bill 702 requires that animals adopted out or returned to an owner by an animal control agency, rescue group or humane society be microchipped. The measure passed the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Hawaii – Senate Bill 1522 SD2 HD 1 would impose ownership limits of 50 intact dogs of any age and require licensing as a high-volume dog breeder for anyone who sells 25 or more puppies per year or owns 20 intact female dogs or 30 intact dogs of either sex over the age of 6 months. This bill also would establish extensive engineering requirements for licensees’ dog facilities and allow inspections of any areas in which dogs are kept, handled or transported with no exemptions for personal residences. The bill has passed the legislature. The Office of the Auditor will review SB 1522 to determine whether the new licensing is necessary to protect consumers and prevent cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs. AKC GR has offered to provide information and assistance to the state auditor. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for SB1522.
Illinois – Senate Bill 1531 was previously HB 1080, which sought to remove the state ban on breed-specific legislation. The new substitute bill makes numerous changes to the state’s dangerous and vicious dog laws, including increasing the penalties for those who fail to comply with laws or court orders regarding their dangerous or vicious dogs. The bill was not acted upon prior to the Legislature’s summer recess.
Illinois – House Joint Resolution 37 would create a committee to study dangerous dogs, bite statistics and reporting, and animal control training. The committee would be required to hold at least three hearings throughout the state and report their findings to the Legislature by October 1, 2011. The resolution was not acted upon prior to the Legislature’s summer recess.
Massachusetts – House Bill 562 would strengthen the Commonwealth’s dangerous dog laws by creating a number of provisions, including allowing dogs declared “at risk” to have the designation removed if the dog does not exhibit the behavior again within two years. The legislation also would prevent municipalities from establishing breed-specific laws or programs. The AKC and its Massachusetts federation both support this measure. On May 11, the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government held a public hearing on this bill. The bill is now pending a decision by an executive session of the committee.
Massachusetts – House Bill 1023 would significantly change the definition of kennel to encompass “daytime only” facilities that have more than 12 dogs on the premises. This would include any facility used for training, dog shows, or trials. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on July 19. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern, alerted parent clubs and Massachusetts club officers, and continues to work with the Massachusetts federation to defeat this measure. Read more about this legislation
Massachusetts – House Bill 1455 would make numerous changes to animal control laws, including establishing intact animal permits for all owners of intact dogs and providing recommended penalties for common nuisance violations that include sterilization or euthanasia. The bill would also allow municipalities to ban or regulate specific breeds and require localities that do so to establish a 3-person board “to identify and determine the breed of dogs.” On May 11, the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government held a public hearing on this bill. The bill is now pending a decision by an executive session of the committee.
Nebraska – Legislative Bill 427 would further regulate “commercial dog breeders,” defined in current law as anyone "engaged in the business of breeding dogs" and who owns or harbors four or more intact dogs or cats, sells at least 31 dogs and cats per year, owns dogs/cats that produce four or more litters per year, or who knowingly sells or leases dogs/cats for later retail sale or brokered trade. Although the amendments offered by the Legislature Agriculture Committee address some of AKC’s concerns, the broad definition of “commercial dog breeders” remains. Due to this low threshold in current law, LB 427 would require anyone who owns four intact dogs of any age to comply with the same strict engineering standards and other standards for large, commercial facilities. The Nebraska Legislature has adjourned for the year and will reconvene in January 2012, at which time LB 427 will be considered.
New Jersey –Assembly Bill 3559/Senate Bill 1506 would prohibit insurance companies from denying homeowner coverage based on the ownership of a specific breed of dog. The bills do permit a company to include a clause excluding liability coverage for a dog or specific breed. It also allows insurance companies to develop guidelines or a rating system to establish rates and premiums for coverage of certain breeds. A. 3559 has been assigned to the Assembly Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee. S.1506 was referred to Senate Commerce.
New York – Assembly Bill 259/Senate Bill 3806 would amend the laws regarding the care of animals that have been seized and are being cared for during animal cruelty hearings. A. 259 has passed the Assembly and been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. S. 3806 is has passed the Senate Finance Committee and is pending in the Rules Committee. The AKC has written letters, most recently to the Senate Finance Committee, requesting that the bill be amended to allow for reimbursement for animal owners found “not guilty.” Read AKC’s letter to the Senate Finance Committee.
New York – Assembly Bill 3507 prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums based on a specific dog breed. It does allow the insurer to deny coverage or increase premiums if the dog has been classified as “dangerous,” based on the current definition in statute. AKC GR and its New York federation are supporting this bill, which has passed the Assembly Insurance Committee and is pending in the Codes Committee. Read more about this legislation.
New York – Assembly Bill 3595 would prevent senior citizens from being denied occupancy or evicted from a multiple-unit dwelling because they own a pet. The bill also recognizes the benefits of pet ownership and allows landlords to create regulations such as leash laws in public places, removal of animal waste, and other health and safety rules. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Housing Committee. Read the AKC’s Legislative Alert and learn how you can help support this bill.
New York – Assembly Bill 8146 seeks to create an “Animal Breeding Permit” for everyone who breeds a female dog for pay or other compensation. The permit would allow for the whelping of one litter per female in a twelve-month period. The bill also calls for inspections of all licensees. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture Committee. No hearings have been held on this bill, and to date none have been scheduled. The AKC is closely monitoring this legislation and has sent a letter of concern to the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
New York – Senate Bill 946 revises the definition of “property” in the state’s penal code to include pets. It also expands the penalty of grand larceny in the fourth degree to include pet theft. AKC sent a letter of support for this measure, which passed the Senate and is now pending in the Assembly Codes Committee.
North Carolina – House Bill 426/Senate Bill 2, called "Chamberlin’s Law," would have expanded the state’s cruelty laws and lowered the standard for the definition of cruelty from an act that is "intentional" to an act that is only "reckless." While exceptions are made in current law for physical alteration of livestock and poultry to conform to breed standards, no exception is made for dogs. Anyone who is found guilty could have been prohibited from owning or having custody of dogs for an established period of time, and ordered to receive a psychiatric or psychological evaluation at his own expense. HB 426 was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary B. SB 2 was re-referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. AKC GR sent a letter of concern to both committees. Neither bill was scheduled for a hearing.
Ohio – House Bill 14 as introduced would remove the term "pit bull" from the state's definition of "vicious dog." The term "pit bull" is not defined in current law, but owners of dogs considered to be of this breed must comply with numerous requirements. The bill passed the Ohio Criminal Justice Committee with numerous amendments to clarify the difference between dangerous and vicious dogs, and to add a classification for "nuisance dog." HB 14 overwhelmingly passed the House on June 28 and is now pending in the Senate. AKC GR is supportive of the bill in general and is working with the sponsor to make some clarifying amendments. Read more about this legislation.
Ohio – Senate Bill 130 seeks to regulate “high volume” dog breeding in Ohio, defined as those who produce at least 9 litters of puppies and sell 60 or more dogs in a calendar year. The bill is very similar to Senate Bill 95 from 2010, which, in its final version, included a number of changes requested by the AKC, but still contained several provisions of concern. These include a definition of “kennel” that could be interpreted to mean any owner of an intact dog and problematic standards for “high volume breeders.” The Senate Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources Committee has heard sponsor testimony on this bill. An opportunity for public comment will be scheduled at a later date. The AKC has sent a letter of concern to the committee.
Oregon – House Bill 3653 would clarify the definition of “farm use” to ensure that dog training is an acceptable use for land zoned exclusively for farm use. The measure has been referred for study. AKC GR sent a letter of support for this measure to the committee.
Oregon – House Concurrent Resolution 12 recognizes the AKC Canine Good Citizenship program, encourages owners to train their dogs and urges kennel clubs to provide training programs in their communities. The measure is in the House Rules Committee.Pennsylvania – Senate Bill 27 would make several changes to the state’s consumer protection laws. Among other provisions, it would change the timeline from 10 days to 14 days from the time of sale for a dog to be determined to be clinically ill or to have died from an illness that renders it “unfit for purchase,” and from 30 days to 90 days for a dog to have a congenital or hereditary defect. The bill also clarifies that a dog may not be found “unfit for purchase” if it has intestinal or external parasites (unless the dog is seriously ill or dies), it has an injury or illness likely contracted after the purchase, or if it has a health problem that is disclosed by the seller in writing prior to the sale. SB 27 unanimously passed the Senate and is now pending in the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
Rhode Island – Senate Bill 140 /House Bill 5690, in addition to other provisions, would have made it a violation of the animal cruelty statute to keep any dog “outside, tethered, penned, caged or otherwise confined” for more than one hour without access to an outdoor housing facility, unless the person caring for the dog also remains outside. This would mean that someone allowing their dog to play in a fenced-in backyard for an hour must have an outdoor facility available, unless they remain outside with the dog. The bills also allowed the local SPCA to enter private property without notice or a warrant to examine dogs and enforce the new law. SB 140 was held for further study. HB 5690 passed the House. The General Assembly has adjourned and neither bill will advance this year. Read more about this legislation.
Texas – House Bill 1451 has been signed into law by Governor Rick Perry. The law defines a "licensed breeder" as anyone who owns 11 or more intact female animals (dogs or cats), sells 20 or more animals annually and is engaged in the breeding and sale of animals for consideration. Among other requirements, the newly-defined "licensed breeders" will be regulated by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), be required to undergo criminal background checks and allow an annual inspection of their property. AKC GR sent letters to Governor Perry and all members of the Texas legislature, alerted clubs and breeders in Texas and held a lobby day in Austin to educate legislators about this bill. AKC GR will closely monitor the regulatory process over the next year and work to ensure fair and reasonable regulations. TDLR has until March 31, 2012 to draft the regulations and affected breeders will have until September 1, 2012 to come into compliance and obtain a license. Read AKC’s most recent alert on HB 1451.