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:
Pasco County, FL – The Pasco County Commission is considering numerous changes to the county animal control ordinance. Proposed ordinance CS12-012 is expected to be considered in an upcoming commission hearing. According to the county attorney’s office, the following controversial provisions will be considered: mandatory breeder permits for anyone whose dogs or cats produce more than two litters or more than 20 animals per 12 month period, expanded requirements for owners of dangerous dogs, and tethering limits. AKC sent a letter of concern, issued a legislative alert, and is working with its Florida federation to address this problematic proposal.
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.
Lenoir, NC – The Lenoir City Council is considering amendments to the zoning ordinance that would have a significant impact on owners of intact dogs. The amendment would define a “high-volume breeder” as a breeder who owns five intact dogs, and makes no indication as to whether the dogs are actually being bred. It would also define a “high-volume dog retailer” as someone who sells 30 dogs in a calendar year. Anyone who meets either of these definitions would only be permitted to keep their dogs in areas zoned for business or industrial use. AKC GR has alerted local residents and sent a letter of opposition to the city council. The amendments are scheduled for a public hearing and vote on May 1.
Breed-Specific Legislation/Dangerous Dog Measures
Ventura County, CA – The Ventura County Animal Services Commission has proposed an ordinance to require the sterilization of all “pit bulls” over sixteen weeks of age unless the dog qualifies for a medical exemption, is registered with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, or other national registry, or is a law enforcement dog. The draft ordinance defines "pit bulls" as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and any mixed breed dog containing these breeds. The ordinance must be passed by a majority of the cities that contract with the county for animal control services and by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. AKC GR is working with its California federations, local dog clubs and local responsible owners and breeders to oppose this ordinance.
Miami-Dade County, FL – The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted 3-1 to allow county voters to decide whether to repeal the current breed-specific ban. “Pit bull” is defined in current law as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American pit bull terriers and any dog which conforms to the standards for these breeds. The State of Florida prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific laws, but the Miami-Dade ordinance was grandfathered in since it was passed before the state law. AKC GR thanks the many Florida residents who have fought this ordinance since its inception in 1989. The issue will be on the August 14 primary ballot.
Malden, MA – On Tuesday, April 3, the Malden City Council capped three years of study by passing a measure that requires “pit bull” type dogs to be muzzled when in public . Along with our Massachusetts federation, AKC GR sent a letter of opposition to this measure.
Tupelo, MS – The Tupelo City Council will discuss adding Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers to the city’s list of “dangerous animals,” subject to increased licensing fees and specialized enclosure requirements. The city code currently defines “American Staffordshire bull terriers,” “Staffordshire bull terriers,” and any dog identified as a mix of those breeds as dangerous animals. AKC GR is monitoring the situation and will provide more information as it becomes available.
Middletown, NY – Some residents of Middletown requested that the city consider a ban on “pit bulls.” Since breed-specific legislation is prohibited in the State of New York, the Middletown City Council conducted a public hearing on a proposal that would require all renters who own a dog over 50 pounds to carry at least $100,000 worth of liability insurance. AKC GR sent issued a legislative alert to local residents and sent a letter of concern to the council. The mayor, who also sponsored the legislation, has agreed to make some amendments, including creating an exclusion for dogs that are certified as “people-friendly.” A draft of these amendments is not yet available.
Cincinnati, OH – A Cincinnati city councilman is expected to soon introduce a proposal to repeal the city’s breed-specific policies. Current law bans the ownership, transfer, sale, or harboring of any “pit bull terrier” (defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or any mixed-breed containing one of these breeds) within city limits. AKC GR is monitoring this issue and will provide more information as it becomes available.
Brick Township, NJ – The Brick Township Council recently considered an ordinance to impose severe restrictions on dog breeders, including limiting ownership to 10 dogs and barring any establishment from engaging in the business of boarding or selling dogs or in the business of breeding dogs for sale. The proposal permitted small breeders to engage in the breeding dogs for sale, subject to the 10-dog limit, as long as they comply with licensing requirements and that all other applicable Township, state, and federal laws are met. Additionally, any kennels established in Brick prior to January 1, 2012, would have been “grandfathered” and not required to comply with the proposal. AKC GR alerted New Jersey residents regarding the proposal, and worked with our New Jersey federation to oppose the limit proposal. Due to this outreach, the Township Council tabled consideration of the proposal, and established a Council subcommittee to address the concerns of the breeder and enthusiast communities.
Delaware Township, NJ – AKC GR continues to work closely with the New Jersey federation to assist the Delaware Township Committee in diagnosing potential animal control issues and crafting reasonable solutions that protect all responsible animal owners.
Franklin Lakes, NJ – AKC GR has learned that the Franklin Lakes Board of Health has recommended that the Mayor and Council duly consider placing limits on the number of pets that can be legally kept at any single residence. AKC GR continues to work with the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs in addressing any proposal, and will respond once one is introduced.
Mendham Township, NJ – The Township Committee recently considered a dog ownership limit ordinance. Due to the strong reaction of both Township residents and interested organizations, including the American Kennel Club, the ordinance was unanimously tabled. AKC GR continues to work with the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs in an effort to ensure that any effort on the part of Mendham Township to strengthen their nuisance laws does not include ownership limits.
Cumberland County, NC – The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners has drafted a proposal that would make numerous changes to its animal control code, including further limiting dog ownership. The county already limits residents in zoned areas to owning three adult dogs (defined as 5 months of age or older). There are no limits on cats or farm animals. The current draft would limit those residing in single-family, residential lots of 20,000 square feet or less to owning no more than three total dogs or cats. Those residing in multifamily housing would be limited to two dogs or cats combined. The City of Fayetteville has indicated that it will consider whatever is adopted by the county. AKC GR has issued a legislative alert and sent a letter of concern to the county commission. The draft is currently pending with the Policy Committee, and no hearing date has yet been announced.
Abilene, TX – On March 22, the Abilene City Council discussed extensive revisions to its animal regulation ordinance, including differential licensing fees, dog ownership limits, and requiring the sterilization of dogs unless an intact animal permit was purchased. AKC GR sent a letter of concern to council members, alerted area dog owners, and worked with members of the Abilene Kennel Club and other concerned dog owners to organize opposition. In response, the Abilene City Council has tabled consideration of the proposal and is attempting to redraft the proposal to better meet the city’s needs.