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 Assembly on a vote of 53-23 and has been sent to the Senate.
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 has passed the Senate and is headed to the State Assembly.
Hawaii – Senate Bill 1522 SD2 HD 1 would have imposed ownership limits of 50 intact dogs of any age and required 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 have established extensive engineering requirements for licensees’ dog facilities and allowed inspections of any areas in which dogs are kept, handled or transported with no exemptions for personal residences. The session ended with the bill in process. Legislators have requested a state audit of the number of dog breeders in Hawaii as a first step for enacting future regulations. 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 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 also would 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.
Read more about HB 562, HB 1455 and several other pieces of canine legislation under consideration in Massachusetts.
Michigan – House Bill 4714 sought to ultimately ban “pit bulls” in the state, defined as American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers or a dog displaying the majority of physical characteristics of any of these breeds. Dogs displaying “distinguishing characteristics” that “substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of these breeds” would also be impacted. Within one year after passage, no one could breed or sell one of these breeds in the state. After four years, a mandatory spay/neuter for these breeds would be implemented, and after 10 years ownership would be banned. The AKC issued a Legislative Alert to parent clubs and local Michigan dog owners and breeders and sent a letter of concern and some materials on the ineffectiveness of breed-specific legislation to the MI committee. HB 4714 was assigned to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform, but the committee chairman contacted AKC GR and stated that he was not going to hear this bill.
Missouri – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed Senate Bill 161, which makes numerous positive changes to the provisions enacted by Proposition B, including removing the 50-dog ownership limit and the restrictions on breeding ages (the bill now states that female dogs may not be bred more than what is recommended by a veterinarian). AKC congratulates the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners and the numerous responsible dog breeders who worked to make positive changes to this law. Read more about this victory.
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 expand the state’s cruelty laws and lower the standard for the definition of cruelty from an act that is “intentional” to an act that is only “reckless.” While exceptions are made for physical alteration of livestock and poultry to conform to breed standards, no exception is made for dogs. Anyone who is found guilty could be 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 has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary B. SB 2 has been re-referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. Neither bill is scheduled for a hearing.
North Carolina – House Bill 816 as introduced would have established an Animal Welfare Advisory Board in North Carolina and a Spay/Neuter Donation and Memorial Fund. As amended by the House Agriculture Committee, the bill establishes a Spay/Neuter Advisory Board instead and changes some of the members, including adding the President of the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs or their designee. The bill passed the House on June 1 and is pending in the Senate Agricultural Committee.
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." AKC GR and its Ohio federation are continuing to closely monitor 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.
Oklahoma – Governor Fallin has signed Senate Bill 637, which makes numerous changes to the Commercial Pet Breeders Act. These changes include establishing a toll-free hotline for reporting animal abuse and prohibiting the Board from hiring “humane society groups” to perform inspections. Read more about this bill.
Oklahoma – House Joint Resolution 1045 “disallows” several of the regulations approved by the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders in December 2010. These changes include deleting the requirement in the application that the breeder provide “any other relevant information required by the Board” and the provision allowing the board to cancel or revoke a license for a felony conviction. Other changes include removing the provision allowing members of the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders to request an investigation of a breeder and requirements the breeder must adhere to even after the dog has been transported to its new location. Governor Fallin has approved this resolution. Read more about this resolution.
Oregon – House Bill 2712 would establish minimum fines for specific violations. Specifically, being cited for an at-large dog, an unlicensed dog, a dog that is deemed a nuisance, or for keeping a dog which has harmed livestock would be categorized as a Class B violation with a minimum fine of $260. HB 2712 passed the House Judiciary Committee has been assigned to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety.
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. A work session was held June 1st in the House Rules Committee. 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 would, in addition to other provisions, make 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. As currently written, this could 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 Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee has held two hearings, but not yet voted on the measure. Read more about SB 140.
Read more about this and other dog-related bills being considered in Rhode Island.
South Carolina – Senate Bill 200, which would allow courts to order the forfeiture of animals that are seized based on alleged acts of animal cruelty unless the defendant pays 30 days costs of care, was not addressed by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources during the regular session. A special session is forthcoming.
Texas – Senate Bill 279 has been signed into law by Governor Rick Perry. The new law prohibits the removal of a pet, companion or assistance animal from the possession of a person named in a protective order. As of September 1st it will be a crime to harm, threaten, or interfere with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal owned by a person named in a protective order.
Texas – House Bill 998 has died upon adjournment of the legislature. The measure would have required the owner of any unneutered male dog over 20 pounds that is ever off the premises of the owner off-lead to purchase $100,000 per occurrence in liability insurance to cover instances of property damages, bodily injury or death. Read AKC’s alert on HB 998.
Texas – House Bill 1451 would define a "licensed breeder" as anyone who owns 11 or more intact female animals (dogs or cats), sells 20 or more animal annually and is engaged in the breeding and sale of animals for consideration. Among other requirements, the newly-defined "licensed breeders" would be regulated by the Commission of Licensing and Regulation, and be required to undergo criminal background checks and allow an annual inspection of their property. According to the fiscal note, which estimates 600 breeders and a cost of over $565,000 annually, individual licenses are likely to cost close to $1000. AKC GR sent letters to 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. The measure is before Governor Rick Perry. Read AKC’s most recent alert on HB 1451.
Texas – House Bill 2116 died upon adjournment of the legislature. The measure directed the Health and Human Services Commission to conduct a study regarding the proper care and conditions for dogs and cats and to report those findings to the appropriate legislative chairs. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert.
Texas – House Bill 2833 died upon the adjournment of the legislature. The bill defined “working dogs” as those that are used in law enforcement, agricultural activities, hunting, service or therapy and would have exempted those animals from compliance with mandatory spay/neuter provisions, limits on the number, weight or breed of animals a person may own, specified housing requirements or requirements for additional insurance.
Texas – Senate Bill 1500 died upon adjournment of the legislature. The bill would have allowed pet owners to sue for noneconomic damages of between $500 and $1,500 in certain cases.
Texas – Senate Bill 1517 died upon adjournment of the legislature. The bill would have required any dog adopted out or returned to an owner by a releasing agency be sterilized unless specified conditions were met. The bill also would have required that owners of dogs and cats that were not sterilized obtain a $50 intact animal permit for each intact animal.
Vermont – House Bill 303 sought to change numerous licensing and tax requirements for those who sell dogs. It also would have required inspections of all “pet merchants,” defined as someone who engages in the sale of one or more litters per year or the sale of two or more animals over six months of age within a year. Anyone who owned two or more intact “domestic pets” would have to obtain a $25 annual license, to be prominently displayed on the owner’s premises. The Vermont Legislature adjourned prior to considering this bill. It is possible it may be reintroduced in 2012. Read more about this legislation.
Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Dog Breeders and Sellers Law took effect on June 1, 2011. Under this law, all dog breeding facilities that sell at least 25 dogs per year from more than three litters must be licensed. Licenses are also required for in-state dealers who sell at least 25 dogs per year that they did not breed and raise, anyone who imports at least 25 dogs into the state each year, animal control facilities, and non-profit shelters and rescues that shelter or foster at least 25 dogs a year. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information about the new law and how to apply for a license.