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 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, participation in dog shows, performance events or field or obedience trials. Other proposed changes include requiring anyone who is “engaged in the business of breeding” five or more dogs to obtain a kennel license, individual dog licenses and a business license, as well as schedule annual inspections with three separate county departments. The council is expected to schedule a hearing 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.
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. While 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, as opposed to 10 as stated 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 passed 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.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Charles County, MD – The Charles County Board of Commissioners is considering a proposal that would establish an “animal fancier permit” for anyone who harbors or keeps more than 10 adult animals and does not breed them. This permit includes an unknown annual fee, annual inspections, and 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 also requires a shelter for any animal left outside for over 30 minutes. This shelter must be in compliance with the same specific structural guidelines as shelters for dogs left permanently outside. The board has removed breed-specific dangerous dog language from the proposal. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern, alerted local clubs and breeders, and continues to closely monitor this proposal. The board discussed the proposal at a work session in early October and is expected to hold a public hearing soon.
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 as a precautionary measure. At the October council meeting, staff reported that only one Rottweiler was licensed in the city, and no other cities in the county included 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.