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:
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. A hearing scheduled for August 16 was cancelled, but the council is expected to schedule another 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 will hold a public hearing on October 11th to discuss changes to the animal control ordinance. The city attorney will provide the council with several options that will be available in draft form on the city’s website on October 7th. Although city staff is not recommending changes to spay/neuter laws, the council could choose to pursue policies that would require sterilization on a first impoundment, sterilization on a second or third impoundment, or a requirement that all dogs be sterilized unless they qualify for a specific exemption. The measure would also prohibit rodeos, circuses, or other similar activities. The potential impact of these changes on AKC events cannot be evaluated until the draft language is received. Additionally, the ordinance would prohibit sales of dogs and cats by pet stores, although existing stores would be allowed to continue selling animals until a date yet to be specified. AKC GR is coordinating education and outreach efforts with local dog clubs, owners and breeders and will provide updates after the drafts are posted.
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 – The Suffolk County Legislature Resolution 1545 contained legislative intent language that made a number of inaccurate, misleading and unsubstantiated claims. Although the sponsor removed language that attacked the AKC, the legislative findings still impugned the integrity of responsible dog breeders. AKC GR sent a written response to the legislation as introduced, created alerts to be distributed at local shows, and worked extensively with local clubs in opposition to the measure. Legislators were also invited to the Suffolk County Kennel Club’s Canine Experience on July 31. The sponsor, Legislator Cooper, agreed to withdraw the bill after legal concerns were raised and instead introduced Resolution IR-1769, which 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 make numerous changes to the county’s animal regulations. This includes declaring all “pit bull terriers” (defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and American Bulldogs) as “potentially dangerous” and requiring the owners to comply with numerous regulations. The proposal would also establish an “animal fancier permit” for anyone who harbors or keeps up to 10 adult animals and does not breed them. The annual permit would cost no less than $250 and include an annual inspection. Among other provisions, the proposal would also require an outdoor 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. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern, alerted local clubs and breeders, and continues to closely monitor this proposal. The board is expected to discuss the proposal at a work session on October 4 and hold a public hearing later that month.
Egelston, MI – The Egelston Township Board of Trustees rejected a proposal that would have, among other provisions, automatically declared all “pit bull dogs” as dangerous. “Pit bull dogs” were defined as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and any dog that has the appearance of or characteristics predominant in these breeds. Owners of “dangerous animals” would have been subjected to numerous new laws, including keeping the animal muzzled and on a 4-foot leash when in public, confining the animal in a kennel built to specific standards, and possessing $50,000 of liability insurance. AKC GR alerted local residents and sent a letter to the board about the problems with BSL and encouraged them to consider more effective solutions. The board has sent the proposal back to the Planning Commission and pledged to develop a non-breed-specific dangerous dog ordinance.
Vancouver, WA – The Vancouver City Council will hold a work session in August to discuss possible changes to their dangerous dog law. AKC GR sent a letter to the council opposing breed-specific legislation and provided samples of alternative ordinances that have proven successful in other communities. The council has since indicated that they will pursue a breed-neutral approach to this issue. AKC GR is contacting local clubs and responsible dog owners with specific information about the upcoming work session.
Waukesha, WI – The Waukesha Common Council is accepting public input on changes to the city’s vicious dog ordinance. Local residents are encouraged to contact the council and ask that they not proceed with any breed-specific proposals. AKC GR and the Dog Federation of Wisconsin are also contacting the council and providing information on effective, breed-neutral dangerous dog laws.
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 will be hosting a community input meeting on September 27 to allow residents to voice concerns regarding a proposed ordinance that will limit residents to a combined total of seven dogs and cats.