The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can’t help unless we are aware of the proposal! If you hear of an issue in your city or county, please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com. We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools and support you need to help defend responsible dog ownership in your community.
Here are some examples of local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:
Fort Smith, AR – On March 15, the Fort Smith Board of Directors approved by a 4-3 vote an ordinance that limits breeders to one total litter per year and requires all dogs and cats six months and older to be sterilized unless the owner qualifies as a “hobbyist” and is granted an annual “hobbyist permit” at a fee of $25 plus $25/year for each unaltered animal. There are two additional readings of the ordinance, when the board may, at its discretion, hold an additional vote if sufficient public input is received. Residents are asked to contact board members as soon as possible to express concerns and request a “no” vote. Read the AKC’s Legislative Alert on this ordinance.
Irvine, CA – The Irvine City Council has directed staff to develop ordinances to require the spaying and neutering of impounded pets (it is not clear how many violations would have to occur for sterilization to be required), a ban on pet expositions and live animal shows and a ban on sales of cats and dogs in pet stores. Draft proposals are expected to be brought before the council in approximately four months. AKC GR staff is coordinating education and outreach efforts with local clubs, responsible owners and breeders.
Fort Collins, CO – A proposed ballot initiative to define hobby breeders as someone who whelps two litters or less per year and to ban sales of pet in pet stores has failed to garner enough votes to qualify for the municipal election.
St. Joseph, MO – The St. Joseph City Council is considering a proposal that would require licensing, inspections, and strict engineering standards for those who own at least three intact dogs of any age for the purpose of breeding or exhibition. The regulations would also impact rescues and boarding kennels. Among other provisions, licensees must be inspected every year and comply with numerous requirements included unfettered access to an outdoor exercise area that is at least two times the size of the animal’s indoor area. The proposal has been postponed until the May 16 meeting. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern to the council, alerted local clubs and AKC parent clubs, and continues to work with its Missouri federation to defeat this measure.
Rio Rancho, NM – The Rio Rancho City Council has postponed a hearing on changes to the city’s animal control ordinance until March 2011. Proposed changes include mandatory spay/neuter of dogs and cats, pet ownership limits, and permit requirements for breeders, animal rescues, animal shelters, boarding kennels, groomers, pet day cares, training facilities, pet stores and pet sitters. Hobby breeders, defined as those who produce even a single litter, would be required to obtain a conditional use permit from the zoning department and a business permit to sell the dogs. They would also be required to allow for an inspection of their facility. The city council has been holding a series of public workshops on the issue and changes have been suggested by the council. More work sessions are expected and a final draft should be available prior to the March 2011 meeting. The AKC GR department has alerted local clubs and breeders and sent materials to the city council on the ineffectiveness of these proposals.
Lee County, NC – The Lee County Board of Commissioners hosted informational meetings across the county last month regarding proposed changes to its dog ordinance. While much of the proposal is focused on measures to protect the public from dangerous animals and prevent the spread of rabies, some sections of the proposal are problematic. Specifically, the AKC is concerned about provisions to require sterilization on a second impoundment, specifications for enclosures, and requirements for a special license for anyone owning more than 30 dogs. AKC GR has notified local clubs and breeders, and continues to monitor this proposal.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Malden, MA – The Malden City Council’s Ordinance Committee voted to recommend to the full city council an ordinance that would require all “pit bulls” be muzzled. A draft of the ordinance is not yet available. AKC GR department sent a letter to the mayor and city council opposing the adoption of a breed-specific ordinance.
Saginaw, MI – The City of Saginaw is seeking to restrict the ownership of 10 dog breeds and impose a 3-dog limit on all dog owners, regardless of breed. AKC GR has contacted local clubs and parent clubs, provided sample letters, talking points and background information on the issues, and sent letters to the council in opposition to the proposed ordinance. A committee is being formed to further examine this issue prior to a draft being formally considered by the council. Read the AKC’s Legislative Alert on this proposal.
Washoe County, NV – The Washoe County Board of Commissioners is considering proposed changes to the animal control ordinance, including requiring kennel permits in the unincorporated areas of the county. The measure will also add provisions for a new “Variance Permit,” available to those who own 4 or 5 sterilized dogs (current limit is 3 dogs). The ordinance will also mandate at-large dogs be microchipped upon redemption and makes other changes to the existing animal cruelty and dog licensing laws.