January 2006

Editor's Note
The new year has arrived, and with it a slew of new bills that will impact dog owners all over the country. For most states, 2006 is the second half of a two-year session, meaning many bills that were introduced last year have “carried over” and are still active. Additionally, most legislators have retained their committee assignments and office locations, which means officials have been able to hit the ground running with the introduction of new bills. Of particular note is the rapidly increasing number of breed-specific bills that have appeared at the state and local level.

2006 promises to be busy, so we encourage purebred dog owners to stay active, be alert, and never hesitate to contact the Canine Legislation department with your concerns.

Stephanie Lane

Fighting BSL Effectively
The Canine Legislation department is very concerned about the dramatic rise in breed-specific legislation that we are seeing at both the state and local level. To assist dog owners in fighting breed-specific legislation, AKC has prepared and updated a number of important materials that are available to our Legislative Liaisons, club members, fanciers and concerned dog owners.

One of our most helpful items is our Dangerous Dog Information Packet. Recognizing that it is important to provide elected officials with sound legislative solutions to animal control issues, the packet contains the AKC's position statement on dangerous dogs as well as position statements from other organizations who oppose breed-specific legislation such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association. The packet also contains model ordinances from local and state dangerous dog laws, including New York City, Gwinnett County, GA and Washington State. Read more.

Around the Nation: Legislation That Affects You
ALABAMA -- Rep. Ward is sponsoring H27, which establishes a procedure by which a dog can be declared dangerous, allows the owner to appeal the initial determination and provides that a dog found to be a significant threat to public health and safety be humanely euthanized. Owners of dangerous dogs may be fined up $300 for the first offense and $600 for a second offense. The dog is also required to be registered with the city or county for an unspecified fee. The House Judiciary Committee will hear the bill. A companion measure, S82, is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Dial and will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

See news from other states.

Deciphering Legislative Language
During this time of year, Legislative Liaisons spend a great deal of time reading and processing the many bills that are being introduced in their state legislatures. This can be a daunting task, even for veterans of canine legislation. Here are a few pointers to help you decipher the often long and confusing pieces of legislation that come across your desk. Read more.

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

© The American Kennel Club 2005