Thirty-four state legislatures and the District of Columbia are in regular session. Two states are in special session. AKC GR is currently is tracking nearly 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 a pet groomer, 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 has been assigned to the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
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 is in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a policy committee.
Colorado – House Bill 1125 would 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 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 passed both the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor.
Connecticut – Senate Bill 253 seeks to repeal positive regulations regarding animal importation that were signed into law in 2011. This 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 passed the House of Representatives and will be heard, with amendments, in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hawaii – House Bill 108 H.D.1 S.D.1 (Proposed) 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, prohibit ownership of more than 30 intact dogs, and limit their ability to make decisions about breeding their animals. Licensing, recordkeeping, and other violations could result in fines of $1000 per offense. The bill has passed the Hawaii Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. AKC GR issued a legislative alert and sent a letter of concern to the committee.
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 passed the House Committee on Economic Revitalization and Business (ERB) and is pending referral to the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC). AKC GR issued a legislative alert and sent a letter to the ERB Committee 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 legislation. 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 issued a legislative alert and letters of concern. The measure has passed the Senate and has been deferred by the House 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 Senate committee. 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.
Iowa – Senate File 2290 sought to create guidelines for the disposition of dogs and cats when, for any reason, a commercial breeder’s license is not renewed. Under current law, anyone who owns four or more intact dogs/cats and sells, exchanges, or leases their offspring (or offers to do so) in return for consideration must be licensed as a “commercial breeder.” SF 2290 would have given a commercial breeder whose license was not renewed 120 days to either sterilize or dispose of their animals until they were under the threshold of four intact cats/dogs. This could have been accomplished by selling the animals (if the breeder was able to obtain a temporary authorization), transferring the title, or “humane destruction.” AKC GR wrote letters of concern, issued legislative alerts, and worked with local dog owners to address concerns with this bill. SF 2290 was held in the Senate.
Iowa – Senate File 2301 would have made two significant changes to the requirements for “commercial breeders.” As introduced, it would have required licensees to obtain a surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit that would be used to pay for boarding if their animals were seized as a result of a cruelty violation. It also would have ended the option of a public hearing for applicants who were denied a license. Due to concerns expressed over the bonding issue, a proposed amendment to SF 2301 would have instead created a new fund (from license fees) to reimburse local authorities who seized animals pending the outcome of a cruelty case.Owners still could have been required to pay for the keeping of seized animals throughout the judicial process. AKC GR wrote letters of concern, issued legislative alerts, and worked with local dog owners in opposition to this bill. SF 2301 passed the Senate but was held in the House of Representatives.
Louisiana – House Bill 163 would further restrict the number of dogs a person may own or keep to 75 dogs. The bill also seeks to impose problematic care and conditions requirements, including prohibiting the stacking of cages, which would also outlaw the temporary stacking of crates at dog events. AKC GR has issued legislative alerts on the bill and made numerous contacts with stakeholders. HB 163 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development.
Maryland – House Bill 912 sought to change the word “owner” to “guardian” in reference to dogs in state code, thereby potentially changing the interpretation of who must obtain state and county kennel licenses and individual dog licenses, as well as who would be held responsible under nuisance and dangerous dog laws.The AKC alerted parent clubs, Maryland clubs, and breeders about this measure, sent a letter to the committee, and worked with its Maryland federation in opposition to the bill. The bill was given an unfavorable report by the House Environmental Matters Committee, meaning it is not likely to be considered again this session.Read more about this victory.
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 pending in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Nebraska – Legislative Bill 427 will further regulate “commercial dog breeders,” defined in current law as anyone "engaged in the business of breeding dogs" and who owns or harbors four or more intact dogs or cats, sells at least 31 dogs and cats per year, owns dogs/cats that produce four or more litters per year, or who knowingly sells or leases dogs/cats for later retail sale or brokered trade. Due to this low threshold in current law, LB 427 requires anyone who owns four intact dogs of any age to comply with regulations designed for large commercial kennels. The AKC requested that the definition of commercial breeder be amended to add the word “and,” so a person would have to meet all the qualifications in order to be a commercial breeder, rather than just one. The bill has passed the Legislature and was signed by the Governor on March 7, 2012. Read more about LB 427.
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. The AKC issued a legislative alert, 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 the domestic animal abuse laws.
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 revises the definition of “property” in the state’s penal code to include pets. It also expands 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. 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 removal of 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 still requests 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 is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. Read more about HB 2921 and how to contact the Oklahoma Legislature.
Oregon – House Bill 4170 unanimously passed both houses of the state legislature and is awaiting signature by Governor John Kitzhaber. The measure will clarify 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 our Oregon federation and the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) in support of HB 4170 and urged legislators to support the measure.
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 SB 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.
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. The AKC is working with Rhode Island constituents and other allied organizations to address this concern.
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. Updates and additional information will be posted under AKC’s Legislative Alerts.
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.
West Virginia – Senate Bill 406 would have imposed numerous regulations on “commercial dog breeders,” which was defined as anyone who “maintains” eleven or more intact dogs over one year of age and breeds dogs exclusively as household pets. The AKC opposed several provisions, including arbitrary care and conditions requirements and a 50-dog ownership limit. As amended by the Senate, the bill exempted anyone who keeps or breeds dogs "for the purpose of herding or guarding livestock animals, hunting, tracking or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events or field and obedience trials…" The AKC believed, however, that these exemptions were vague and may not have truly protected hobbyists. The AKC issued numerous legislative alerts and letters of concern and also worked closely with concerned dog owners in opposition. SB 406 passed the Senate and was held in the House Judiciary Committee. Read more about this win for West Virginia breeders.