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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools and support you need to help support and defend responsible dog ownership in your community.
Here are some examples of local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:
Cecil County, MD – The Cecil County Board of Commissioners is considering numerous proposed changes to its licensing laws. These provisions include requiring a license and inspection for anyone who keeps dogs for hunting, tracking, performance events or field or obedience trials. Anyone who breeds three or more litters would be required to obtain a commercial breeder license, individual dog licenses and a business license, as well as comply with zoning requirements. Other provisions include implementing a differential licensing and fee structure for individual dog licenses, depending on whether the dog is intact and microchipped. A license for an intact dog would cost four times as much as one for a dog that is sterilized and microchipped. The commission held a work session on November 15 and is expected to schedule an opportunity for public comment in the near future. Local fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors are encouraged to contact the commission and express opposition to these proposals. Read more and view the County Commission contact information.
Charles County, MD – The Charles County Board of Commissioners is considering an updated proposal that would establish an “animal fancier permit” for anyone who “harbors or keeps” more than 10 adult animals and does not breed them. To obtain a permit, owners would be required to pay an unknown annual fee, submit to annual inspections, and purchase individual licenses for each animal owned. Separate permits would also be required for anyone who owns four or more intact animals for the purpose of charging a fee for stud services or selling offspring, or anyone who trains, boards or transfers animals. The proposal further requires a shelter for any animal left outside for more than 30 minutes. This shelter must be in compliance with the same specific structural guidelines as shelters for dogs left permanently outside. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern, alerted local clubs and breeders, and continues to closely monitor this proposal. The board held a public hearing on November 1 and is expected to vote soon.
Irvine, CA – The Irvine City Council approved a measure to ban the sale of cats and dogs in retail pet stores and prohibit rodeos and circuses with exotic animals in the city.
Medford, MA – The Medford City Council is considering a mandatory spay/neuter proposal. Although a final draft is not yet available, AKC GR has sent a letter of concern regarding mandatory sterilization laws and suggesting more positive alternatives. AKC GR is working with its Massachusetts federation to address this proposal.
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering Board Bill 107, which would redefine hobby/show breeders and impose a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, among other provisions. Under the proposal, all dogs in city limits for more than 30 days must be sterilized. Exemptions would be made for those with hobby/show permits (which would be required for all who own two intact dogs, down from 10 in current law). Those who purchase hobby/show permits must also pay an annual $200 inspection fee. The proposal also includes a new limit law and low commercial kennel thresholds. The bill has been approved by committee and is pending consideration by the full board. The sponsor must now decide whether she wants to bring the bill forward for a vote. Local residents are encouraged to contact board members and ask them to oppose this measure. Read more about this legislation and how to contact the board.
Suffolk County, NY – Resolution IR-1769 would create a voluntary rating system for Suffolk County pet stores. AKC GR is monitoring this proposal closely, which has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Tulsa, OK – After a proposal containing numerous breeder regulations was tabled this summer, a second measure proposed by a member of the Tulsa City Council in October would have defined "commercial breeder" as anyone who possessed an intact female animal for "sale, indirect sale or exchange". The proposal would also have limited those who hold Hobbyist Exemption Permits to owning five intact dogs or cats and breeding only one litter per year. As with the previous proposal, those who held a private kennel permit would be exempt from the city’s current limit laws, but those would only be issued for industrial or commercial zoned areas. Thanks to the diligence and persistence of local clubs and hobby breeders, who continued to educate the members of the council and attend every hearing after the first proposal was tabled, the measure was pulled from consideration just prior to the final vote on November 3, 2011. AKC GR assisted their efforts by sending letters of concern, issuing Legislative Alerts, and providing constituents with talking points, economic statistics, and other information to share with the council.
Mercer County, WV – The Mercer County Commission has given initial approval to a proposal that would establish mandatory spay/neuter and breeder licensing requirements for county residents in an attempt to address animal population concerns. Owners of intact dogs would be required to purchase intact animal permits good for the life of the dog, so long as it is "vaccinated annually," "housed properly," and the owner can prove that "the permit is sought for a proper purpose." These terms are not defined or explained. In addition, an annual $30 breeder permit would be required for each animal bred, and would allow one litter per dog per year. Animals could be sold at seven weeks if "immunized against common diseases," although the proposal does not state which diseases it considers common. The commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on December 13. AKC GR sent a letter of concern, issued a Legislative Alert, and continues to work with local citizens to address this proposal.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Mission Hills, KS – The Mission Hills City Council is considering whether to move forward on a recommendation to add Rottweilers to the city’s existing breed-specific dangerous dog ordinance. At the October council meeting, staff reported that only one Rottweiler was licensed in the city, and no other cities in the county include the breed on their dangerous dog list. The council has asked the staff to research whether there are credible studies verifying that this breed is more dangerous than other breeds, and to present their findings at the November meeting. AKC GR sent a letter to the council explaining the inherent problems with breed-specific policies and providing suggestions for more effective solutions.
Los Angeles, CA – The City of Los Angeles Animal Services Department is proposing an increase in the city’s current animal limit from 3 dogs or cats to 5 dogs or cats. AKC GR staff alerted local club members and breeders in Los Angeles, and is asking them to contact their council members in support of this change. AKC GR provided talking points that laud the proposed changes, but also discuss the general ineffectiveness of limit laws. This item has not yet been placed on the council’s agenda, but as ordinances do move very quickly, residents are being asked to contact the mayor and council as soon as possible in support of this change.
Cedar Park, TX – Cedar Park officials have rejected a proposed ordinance that would have limited residents to a combined total of seven dogs and cats. AKC thanks the local clubs and fanciers who worked to educate legislators about this important issue.