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 email@example.com. 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:
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 the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners to address this proposal.
Lenoir, NC – The Lenoir City Council has tabled amendments to the zoning and animal control ordinances 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, be subject to annual inspections, and required to comply with numerous other regulations. AKC GR alerted local residents and sent letters of opposition to the city council. The council tabled the amendments until August 7 and will convene a committee of legislators and interested parties to draft a new proposal. AKC continues to closely monitor this issue.
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.
Covington, LA – On May 2, Councilman Lee Alexius suggested the council consider creating a law to restrict pit bull ownership. The council’s public safety committee is expected to review the ordinances of other jurisdictions and fashion a proposal to be considered soon. AKC GR has distributed a letter of concern to the Covington City Council expressing concerns with breed-specific laws.
Malden, MA – On Tuesday, April 3, the Malden City Council capped three years of study by passing a measure that required “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. Malden Mayor Gary Christensen, however, returned the ordinance to the City Council unsigned, requesting that all breed-specific elements to the proposal be removed. AKC GR continues to monitor developments in Malden.
Tupelo, MS – the Tupelo City Council declined to vote on a proposed ordinance that would have established additional restrictions and requirements for owners of “pit bull terriers,” including American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and mixes of those breeds. AKC GR sent a letter to the council to express concerns with the measure and to recommend repeal of existing breed-specific provisions, and provided talking points to AKC club members who opposed the ordinance.
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 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 – The Cincinnati City Council has approved a repeal of the city’s breed-specific law. Previously the city banned 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 notified parent and local clubs about the proposal, sent letters in support of the repeal, and communicated with the sponsor’s office on multiple occasions regarding talking points and strategy. The council has established an advisory committee to examine the city’s animal control laws and develop other solutions. AKC and its Ohio federation will continue to monitor this committee. Read more about this victory.
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 is considering numerous changes to the county animal control ordinance, including clarifying that those residing in single-family, residential lots of 20,000 square feet or less may own no more than three dogs. Those residing in multifamily housing would be limited to two dogs. Amendments have been made to remove the limits on cat ownership and to add a grandfather clause for those currently owning more than number of dogs allowed. The City of Fayetteville has also indicated that it will adopt whatever the county adopts. AKC GR has issued several legislative alerts and contacted county commissioners in opposition.
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.