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:
Pima County, AZ – The Pima County Animal Care Center Director tabled a proposal that would have imposed numerous requirements on all breeders in unincorporated areas of Pima County. Requirements would have included obtaining a $200 litter permit for every litter whelped and keeping records on all ownership transfers for 10 years. Some members of the Pima Animal Care Center Advisory Committee also proposed mandatory spay/neuter provisions. AKC Government Relations notified local residents of the committee meeting, provided talking points, and sent a letter of opposition to the committee. Read more about this victory.
Chula Vista, CA – Despite opposition from local responsible breeders and owners, the City of Chula Vista has enacted an ordinance that establishes new kennel definitions and regulations and requires animals to be sterilized on a second impoundment. It further defines a “pet seller” as anyone who sells two or more animals annually. The city intends to draft regulations for pet sellers in the future. AKC sent letters of opposition to the city council and mayor, and alerts to local dog club members and responsible breeders.
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.
Cecil County, MD – The Cecil County Board of Commissioners is considering numerous 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 in a year 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 has held numerous work sessions 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.
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 in current law 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). Anyone who purchases a hobby/show permit would also have to pay an annual $200 inspection fee. The proposal includes a new limit law and defines "commercial breeder" as anyone who owns more than one intact female for the primary purpose of breeding animals for sale and holds a state license for that purpose. The bill has been approved by committee and is pending consideration by the full board. The bill has been on the inactive calendar since September, meaning that the sponsor and Board must now decide whether to bring the bill forward for a vote. AKC GR has contacted the board in opposition to the measure several times and encourages local dog owners to do the same. Read more about this legislation and how to contact the board.
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 our state federations, local dog clubs and local responsible owners and breeders to oppose this ordinance.
Wentzville, MO – The city passed an ordinance that repeals the citywide ban on “pit bulls” and increases the number of animals a person may own in city limits. Under the “pit bull” ban, Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American pit bull terriers (or any mixes of these breeds) were banned in the city. The city had also limited ownership to three dogs or cats of any breed. This new law replaces the breed-specific policies (BSL) with general definitions of “dangerous, vicious or ferocious animal,” as well as “nuisance animal.” It also allows owners to keep up to ten animals with a kennel license. AKC GR alerted regional dog clubs and breeders and sent a letter to the Board of Alderman supporting the BSL repeal and thanking them for increasing the number of animals a person may own. The letter also encouraged the board to consider introducing an ordinance that would repeal the limit law in its entirety.
Dunn, NC - The Dunn City Council rejected a proposal by the city police chief that would have banned “pit bulls” (defined as Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers) in city limits. The proposal also contained numerous inaccurate and offensive statements about these breeds. AKC GR sent a letter of opposition and issued a legislative alert. The council will reportedly form a committee to examine current laws and draft new policies that are not breed-specific. AKC GR has sent the council a letter of thanks along with additional information on how to develop effective dangerous dog laws.
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 in assisting 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.
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.