July 2005

California Fanciers Fight to Keep Preemptive Breed-Specific Clause
Last week, the California Assembly Local Government Committee voted 4 to 3 in favor of a repeal of California's current prohibition on breed-specific local ordinances. The bill, SB 861 by Senator Jackie Speier, will now proceed to the Assembly floor for a vote.

The amended version of SB 861 will allow local governments to pass breed-specific ordinances that require mandatory spay/neuter of certain breeds and/or impose breeding restrictions on the owners of these breeds. Though the author claims that this bill will not allow communities to ban specific breeds, these regulations amount to a de facto breed ban. If allowed to pass, such legislation would have a direct negative impact on fanciers and breeders in California. Any breed could be targeted under this proposal, so all purebred dog owners need to heed the call and join the opposition efforts.

Despite the short notice about the hearing, the Assembly Local Government Committee did receive opposition from many groups including the AKC, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs, The Animal Council, and many individuals. Concerned dog owners who attended the hearing waited over three hours for the opportunity to speak. In fact, only two organizations were listed in support of the bill?othe California League of Cities and the City of Concord?oalthough the bill has since been endorsed by the City of San Jose. SB 861 was introduced by Senator Speier at the request of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in the wake of a tragic dog attack.

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ALABAMA - The City of Wilton has voted unanimously to adopt a leash law. The ordinance requires that a dog be confined by a fence, electronic fence or on a leash. Violators can be fined $50 plus court costs for a first offense and $100 and $200 respectively for second and third offenses.

ARKANSAS - Without the knowledge of local fanciers, the Town of McGehee has adopted a new ordinance which will ban "pit bulls," defined as "Stafforshires, American bulldogs and dogs recognizable as 'pit bulls'" from being kept in the city limits. A grandfather clause allows existing "pit bulls" to remain if they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and have a tattooed registration number on their abdomen. Additionally, the dogs must be kept in a secure enclosure or on a leash of 6-feet or less.

See news from other states

As we begin the second half of the year, California dog owners have yet another battle on their hands-this time over proposed legislation that would permit breed-specific ordinances in the state. Please see our feature article this month for more information about how you can help fight to keep the state's generic dangerous dog law intact.

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Stephanie Lane, Director
Sarah Sprouse, Program Administrator
Phone: 919-816-3720 | Fax: 919-816-4275 | Email: doglaw@akc.org

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