Twenty-nine state legislatures and the District of Columbia are in regular session. Two states are in special session. AKC GR is currently is tracking more than 1,300 state bills. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit the 2012 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated each weekday, provides the latest bill text, status, and legislative alerts posted by the AKC. For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com.
Here are some highlights of the state bills AKC GR is currently tracking:
California – Senate Bill 969 would require pet groomers, defined as "an individual, licensed as a pet groomer, who bathes, brushes, clips, or styles a pet for compensation," to be licensed and regulated by the California Veterinary Medical Board. The measure will be heard by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on April 23rd.
California – Senate Bill 1221 has been amended to prohibit the use of dogs to pursue bear or bobcat at any time. Current law allows dogs to be used during the legal hunting season for these animals. The bill will be heard by the Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 24th.
Colorado – House Bill 1125 will make several changes to the procedures and costs associated with impounding an animal when the owner is charged with neglect, cruelty, or another criminal act involving animals. These changes include forfeiting all ownership rights if the accused fails to pay “impoundment, care, and provision costs” at any time during the trial. A positive amendment was added at the request of the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs that permits the owner to have their veterinarian examine the animal within 72 hours of the seizure, as well as throughout the impoundment. Other amendments that were rejected by the Senate would have allowed the court to schedule periodic payments when an owner is indigent and would have required itemization of all costs. The bill has been signed by the governor.
Connecticut – Senate Bill 253 seeks to repeal positive regulations regarding animal importation that were signed into law in 2011. Current law includes requiring any dog imported into the state for rescue or resale to have a veterinary examination within 48 hours, and every 90 days until disposition. SB253 would only require one examination 15 days prior to final placement. It would also change the definition of “importer” to require intent to sell, adopt, or transfer the animal. AKC GR believes this would create a loophole where unscrupulous importers could avoid veterinary examinations by requiring a paper transfer prior to the dog entering the state. The Joint Committee on the Environment held a public hearing on March 7.
Georgia – House Bill 685, which is supported by the AKC’s state federation, the Georgia Canine Coalition, would revise dangerous dog provisions and require registration, safety and indemnity measures as a condition of owning a dog classified as “vicious” or “dangerous.” The bill has passed both chambers and has been sent to the governor.
Hawaii – House Bill 108 H.D.1 S.D.2 was introduced in 2011 as a dog fighting bill. It has been entirely amended to include the provisions found in problematic breeder bill SB2494 and the amended version of SB2504. HB108 would establish care requirements that are detrimental to the safekeeping of dogs, require owners of ten or more intact dogs over the age of four months to pay a $500 biennial license fee, allow unannounced inspections of their private homes, limit their ability to make decisions about breeding their animals, and prohibit owning or keeping more than 30 intact dogs. Licensing, recordkeeping, and other violations could result in fines of $1000 per offense. The bill passed the Senate with amendments. The House issued a notice of disagreement with the amendments and a conference committee has been appointed. AKC GR issued legislative alerts and sent letters of concern.
Hawaii – House Concurrent Resolution 141 would establish a dog breeding task force to consider legislative and other solutions to prevent future instances of animal cruelty by “large-scale commercial dog breeders” and to protect the public from purchasing sick and unhealthy dogs. Three positions on the task force would be designated for dog fanciers. HCR141 was adopted in the House and has been referred to the Senate Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection/Judiciary and Labor. AKC GR issued a legislative alert and sent letters in support of this measure.
Hawaii – Senate Bill 2492 would designate every owner and keeper of ten or more intact dogs over the age of four months as a “large scale breeding facility,” even if the person breeds no litters and sells no puppies. The bill would establish enclosure requirements detrimental to the care and safety of dogs, restrict breeding decisions, and prohibit ownership or custody of more than thirty intact dogs. SB2492 has passed the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee and has been referred to the House Finance Committee. Read more about this bill. Read AKC’s letter of concern.
Hawaii – Senate Bill 2494 would require owners of ten or more intact dogs to pay a $500 biennial license fee, allow unannounced inspections of their private homes, limit their ability to make decisions about breeding their animals and prohibit ownership of more than 30 intact dogs. The bill further provides that those operating without a license or licensees in violation of any of the care or recordkeeping requirements may be charged fines of up to $1000 for each offense. AKC GR issued a legislative alert and letters of concern. The measure has passed the Senate and has been deferred by the House joint JUD/CPC committee. AKC GR continues to monitor this bill.
Hawaii – Senate Bill 2504 as introduced would have prohibited selling or giving away an unsterilized cat or dog in the state. AKC GR provided written testimony, letters of opposition and issued a legislative alert. SB2504 received overwhelming opposition at a public hearing held by the Senate CPN/EDT committees. The joint committee responded to public input and passed amendments that deleted the mandatory sterilization provision prior to passage in the Senate. As further amended in House committees, SB2504 would establish requirements for pet retailers and prohibit the sale or exchange of dogs and cats in a public place, except by humane societies, animal control, and rescue organizations. AKC GR continues to monitor this bill.
Louisiana – House Bill 163 would further restrict the number of dogs of any age a person may own or keep to 75. The bill also seeks to impose problematic care and conditions requirements, including prohibiting the stacking of cages, which would outlaw the temporary stacking of crates at dog events. AKC GR has issued several legislative alerts on the bill and made numerous contacts with stakeholders. HB 163 was to be considered by the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development on Thursday, April 12, but was voluntarily deferred. The bill may be considered again at a future committee meeting. Read more about this legislation.
Massachusetts – House Bill 2809 would unnecessarily and severely limit keeping dogs outdoors and introduce guardianship language into Massachusetts law regarding animal ownership. A decision on HB 2809 is pending from the Massachusetts Joint Judiciary Committee, which considered the bill on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. AKC GR issued a legislative alert on the bill and continues to work with the Massachusetts federation and other concerned fanciers and enthusiasts in opposition to the bill.
Missouri – House Bill 1404 would declare December “Pet Breeders Appreciation Month” and recognize the contributions that responsible breeders make not only to the economy, but also to the health and well-being of purebred dogs. AKC has sent a letter of support and notified Missouri clubs and breeders about this bill. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate General Laws Committee. Read more about this legislation.
Missouri – House Bill 1513 would prohibit state laws from conferring “upon any animal a right, privilege or legal status that is equivalent or that exceeds a right, privilege or legal status” that the state confers upon humans. AKC has sent a letter of support and notified Missouri clubs and breeders about this bill. HB 1513 has passed the House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Read more about this legislation.
Missouri – House Bill 1934 would exempt shelters from state licensing fees.Current law requires kennels, pet shops and shelters to obtain a license and pay an additional annual $25 fee for “Operation Bark Alert” (the reporting mechanism for unlicensed breeders). HB 1934 exempts shelters from the license and administration fees (not the license itself). It also allows a shelter license application to be denied or revoked if “it is determined…that the [shelter] unreasonably profits from the charges for adoption or sales of the animals.” The bill is has passed the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending on the House floor.
New Hampshire – As introduced, Senate Bill 370 would have placed numerous restrictions and regulations on anyone who owns 10 or more female dogs. It also would have limited ownership to 50 intact dogs, mandated that all tail docking be done by a veterinarian, and allowed any local humane society, animal control officer, or SPCA to investigate complaints. AKC GR issued a legislative alert, sent a letter of concern to the committee, and worked closely with its New Hampshire federation to educate the committee on the many problems with this bill. The Senate Executive Departments Committee unanimously voted to delete the bill in its entirety and replace it with language to clarify that local law enforcement has the ability to investigate complaints and prosecute violations of domestic animal abuse laws. The bill has passed the Senate and is now under the consideration of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.
New York – Assembly Bill 259/Senate Bill 3806 would amend laws regarding the care of animals that have been seized and are being cared for during animal cruelty hearings. Among other provisions, it would allow the burden of proof for violations to fall to the organization that impounded the animals if the organization requests it, rather than the District Attorney. AKC GR sent a letter of concern to the committee asking that some amendments be made, including allowing for reimbursement if the charges against the owner are ultimately dismissed. The letter also requested that the burden of proof lie solely with the District Attorney, rather than with the impounding organization, as AKC GR believes such organizations should not be petitioning the court for funds based on their own perceptions of whether or not a law has been broken. A. 259 has passed the Assembly, and both this bill and the companion bill (S. 3806) are pending in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
New York – Senate Bill 946/Assembly Bill 3686 revised the definition of “property” in the state’s penal code to include pets. The measures also expand the penalty of grand larceny in the fourth degree to include pet theft. AKC GR has sent letters of support and issued legislative alerts encouraging New York residents to contact the Senate in support of the bill. SB 946 has passed the Senate Codes Committee and is pending on the Senate floor. A3686 is pending in the Assembly Codes Committee. Read more about this legislation.
Ohio – Senate Bill 130 seeks to regulate “high volume” dog breeding in Ohio, defined as those who produce at least 9 litters of puppies and sell 60 or more dogs in a calendar year. A number of changes requested by AKC GR have been incorporated into the bill, including removing problematic standards and ensuring that high volume breeders are represented on a proposed advisory board. The AKC remains concerned that the new definition of “kennel” could be interpreted to mean any owner of an intact dog. While those who fall under this definition will not be affected by Senate Bill 130, the AKC continues to request that this amendment be stricken and the definition of kennel remain as it is in current law, which clarifies that a kennel license is required for those who are “professionally engaged in the business of breeding dogs…”. SB 130 has passed the Senate and is pending in the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. Read more about this legislation.
Oklahoma – House Bill 2921 seeks to create the Commercial Pet Breeders Act of 2012 and would make significant changes to the state's oversight of dog breeders. Changes include dissolving the controversial Commercial Pet Breeder Board and moving oversight and rulemaking powers to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry. Other changes include amending the definition of “adult animal” from 6 months of age to 12 months of age and more clearly defining an “intact female animal” as a female at the second estrus cycle or one and one-half years of age (whichever comes first) and is capable of sexual reproduction. Numerous aspects of the current law, such as the definition of “commercial breeder” (“11 or more intact female animals for the use of breeding for dealing with animals for direct or indirect sale”), licensing, inspection, and annual reporting, all remain the same. The AKC believes that HB 2921 is an important step toward fair oversight of dog breeders in Oklahoma. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. It is now pending on the Senate floor. Read more about HB2921 and how to contact the Oklahoma Legislature.
Oregon – House Bill 4170 unanimously passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber. The measure clarifies the definition of “farm use” to ensure that dog training classes and dog testing trials, as well as the raising and boarding of dogs (with conditional use permit), are acceptable uses for land zoned exclusively for farm use. AKC joined the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), AKC's state federation for Oregon, in support of HB 4170 and urged legislators and the governor to support the measure and responsible dog owners and breeders in their state.
Rhode Island – House Bill 7663 seeks to make it a violation for a person to keep a dog outside for more than 14 hours during any 24-hour period. The AKC believes that the keeping of dogs in outdoor enclosures during appropriate weather conditions should not be subject to arbitrary time limitations. AKC GR is working with Rhode Island constituents and other allied organizations to address this concern.
Rhode Island – On Thursday, April 12, the Rhode Island Senate considered an amended version of Senate Bill 2035. Similar to H 7663 (above), this bill also would have made it a violation to “keep any dog confined in a pen, cage or other shelter for more than fourteen (14) hours during any twenty-four (24) hour period.” When read in combination with the definition of “shelter” in the bill, the prohibition could be read expansively to prohibit individuals from confining an animal in structures as large as their own homes. AKC GR and other allied organizations worked in opposition to the bill. During floor debate, the bill was recommitted back to committee to address these concerns.
Rhode Island – Senate Bill 2193 sought to virtually eliminate the veterinary procedure commonly known as debarking from being performed in the state. The AKC strongly opposed S 2193 and worked with Rhode Island constituents and other allied organizations in opposition to the bill. The bill was considered by the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee, which held the bill for further study. AKC GR does not expect the bill to be reconsidered this session.
Texas – On March 27, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) adopted a new draft of the rules that will apply to licensed dog and cat breeders. The new draft puts most of the rules in line with USDA regulations. AKC GR has closely monitored developments in Texas, offered analysis and commentary on the proposal, and issued regular informational alerts on the draft regulations. AKC GR continues to work with AKC’s Texas federation and many concerned responsible breeders in Texas on this issue. Read more about these regulations.
Vermont – Significant stakeholder work continues on Senate Bill 142, an act relating to pet merchants. AKC GR is continuing to work with the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs to address concerns with the bill.