7/15 House Bill 548 sought to regulate dog breeders and establish criminal penalties for failure to comply with undefined and arbitrary requirements for the care, feeding, and housing of dogs. Compliance with the problematic provisions of HB 548 would have been required for every person and organization that has “custody or ownership” of ten or more intact dogs over the age of six months for the “purpose of breeding the dogs and selling the offspring”. This bill also would have criminalized certain humane and accepted dog care practices. Violations would have been the pejorative crime of “operating a puppy mill”. HB 548 did not advance in the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee prior to adjournment of the legislative session.
Senate Bill 468 sought to establish prohibitions, restrictions, requirements and penalties regarding outdoor tethering and confinement of dogs. Among other provisions, it would have required that dogs kept outdoors be confined by one of the following methods: 1) in a pen or enclosure with adequate space for exercise depending on the age, size, “species”, and weight of the dog; 2) in a fully fenced, electronically fenced, or otherwise securely enclosed yard where the dog has the ability run; or 3) on a trolley system or overhead cable run that meets requirements regarding height, length, and other specifications. The bill did not include provisions for dog owners who enclose dogs in pens or kennel runs with regular access to larger exercise areas, leash walking, visits to dog parks, or other forms of exercise. SB 468 was indefinitely postponed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
3/15 - Alabama:
House Bill 261 seeks to restrict tethering of dogs and to establish minimum outdoor enclosure requirements of 100 square feet for up to two dogs 35 pounds and under; 100 square feet for each dog 36-60 pounds; 150 square feet for each dog 61-100 pounds; and 240 square feet for each dog 101 pounds and over. Housing a dog in a secured enclosed yard where the dog “has the ability to run” would also be allowed; however, HB 261 does not include provisions for dog owners who enclose dogs in kennel runs of less than the required sizes in conjunction with access to larger exercise areas, leash walking, visits to dog parks, or other forms of exercise. HB 261 has been assigned to the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
1/16 - Dewey-Humboldt, AZ:
The Dewey-Humboldt Town Council is considering several changes to the town's animal control laws. These changes include allowing animal control to sell any animal not claimed from the shelter within 72 hours and allowing them to seize any animal if it is perceived that the owner is in violation of any portion of the animal control laws. The proposal also expands the definition of dangerous dog to include any dog that has bitten someone unprovoked even if the dog does not actually cause any injury or is a young puppy that nips someone. A hearing is scheduled for January 19.
7/15- AZ, Yavapai County update:
The commission has decided to table the proposal. Local clubs and the AKC are still monitoring this, as well as another limit law being proposed in Dewey-Humboldt, AZ, a town in the county.
3/15 - AZ, Yavapai County:
Yavapai County is expected to consider a 5-dog ownership limit, unless the owner obtains a “use permit” approved by the county. The county is currently accepting comments on the proposal and is expected to hold a public hearing in Cottonwood on May 20 and Prescott on June 3.
3/14 - House Bill 2530 modifies the state dog licensing laws, which currently apply to dogs that are at least three months of age. As amended by the House Agriculture and Water Committee, the County Board of Supervisors will be permitted to waive any penalties for up to 180 days in order to encourage licensing and vaccinations. Pet dealers, shelters and rescues that sell or offer dogs for adoption must provide the name and address of the person who obtained the dog within 90 days of the purchase and the county is only permitted to use this information for licensing purposes. The bill has passed the House Agriculture and Water Committee and is pending on the House floor.
2/21/14 - Arizona:
House Bill 2242 defines a “commercial dog breeder” as one who sells at least 20 dogs in a calendar year. It would require all who meet this definition to comply with the same requirements as pet stores. This would include having females examined by a veterinarian prior to breeding, complying with the state’s consumer protection laws and basic standards of care. These standards include providing potable water and adequate nutrition, adequate space appropriate for the dog’s age, weight and breed, and a resting board or another object to allow the dogs to rest off a wire floor. No commercial breeder may sell a dog younger than eight weeks of age..
3/15 - Arkansas:
House Bill 1620 seeks to regulate dog breeding and “commercial breeding kennels” in which ten or more female dogs are maintained for the purpose of breeding offspring to sell as pets. HB 1620 is on the calendar of the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development.
2/16 - Santa Paula, CA:
Santa Paula's city council has delayed voting on an ordinance mandating residents to spay or neuter their pets after veterinarians and breeders expressed concern about the proposal.
On Monday, the city council voted 5-0 to send the ordinance back to city staff for amendments. Councilmember Ginger Gherardi asked staff to research the recommended age for spaying or neutering cats and dogs.
As currently written, the ordinance would require residents to spay or neuter their cats and dogs, and implant them with an identification microchip, when the animals are over 4 months old. However, during the council's meeting Monday night, local veterinarian Angele Blanton said spaying or neutering animals at 4 months could cause health problems.
Blanton said female dogs shouldn't be spayed until they are 6 months old, and males should be neutered at 8 months or older.
"Please do not make us spay 4-month-old puppies," she said. "It's in their best interest to have full skeletal maturity, to have the growth plates on the bones closed before you remove the sex organs."
Several out-of-town dog breeders and another local veterinarian, Hector Rivera, also raised concerns about spay and neuter procedures. They called for the ordinance to be overturned altogether, arguing that it would penalize responsible pet owners and do nothing to curb the problem of animal overpopulation.
Representatives from the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, meanwhile, urged council to approve the ordinance. Health problems, such as musculoskeletal injuries and cancers, occur in many animals whether they are spayed and neutered or not, they said.
Gherardi said she had no problem with spaying and neutering the animals, but wanted to be sure the ordinance recommended an appropriate age. Councilman John Procter asked staff to see if an exception could also be carved out for owners of working animals, such as hunting dogs.
Santa Paula is set to become the first city in Ventura County to require residents to spay or neuter their cats and dogs and implant identification microchips in them.
Mayor Martin Hernandez said he supported the ordinance, noting that those speaking against it were not from Santa Paula. He said requiring animals to be fixed is good for the community, and regulations are necessary.
"If laws were for the responsible people we wouldn't have people getting DUI's daily," he said. "Do you think that people are tending to their animals more than they take responsibility for driving under the influence of alcohol? I don't think so."
1/16 - California:
House Resolution 28 calls on the Superintendent of Public Education and local school districts to ensure that humane education is part of the core curriculum and to work with local nonprofit organizations to provide humane education to all students. The measure has been assigned to the Education Committee but not yet scheduled for a hearing.
CA, Santa Paula:
The Santa Paula City Council will vote on a problematic breeder permit and mandatory spay/neuter proposal on January 19th.
9/15 California update:
Assembly Bill 494 has passed both houses and is awaiting transmittal to Governor Brown.
Assembly Bill 794 has been signed into law by Governor Brown.
7/15 - Assembly Bill 494 would enable courts to include protections for companion animals in restraining orders in cases involving juvenile dependency, elder abuse, and civil harassment. California state law already allows animals to be included in protection orders in domestic violence cases. The AKC is supporting this legislation. The bill has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and will soon be brought before the full Senate.
Assembly Bill 794 would extend protections provided to law enforcement dogs and horses to dogs and horses being handled by volunteers under the supervision of a law enforcement officer. Specifically, it would enhance penalties for attacking or intentionally injuring a dog or horse in these circumstances. The AKC supports this legislation. The bill has passed the Senate Public Safety Committee and is now awaiting hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Whittier City Council is expected to consider adopting the Los Angeles County Code (which includes mandatory spay/neuter provisions) at their July 28th meeting. Due to the outcry the initial reading was deferred.
3/15 - CA, Long Beach:
The Long Beach City Council has given initial approval to a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. AKC has informed city officials that we will no longer consider Long Beach as a site for the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship which had previously been held there from 2006-2010. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for this proposal.
3/15- On Tuesday, March 3rd, the Long Beach City Council will hear and vote on a proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance (attached).
There are no provisions in this ordinance to exempt hunting or sporting dogs, those who compete in companion events such as agility or rally, and even for exempted dogs the Director of the Animal Care Services Bureau has the power to disallow an intact license. It is also important to consider that in the neighboring City of Los Angeles, a similar, ordinance was passed with exemptions for dogs that participate in hunting, agility, obedience and other events, but those exemptions were later removed because it was too time consuming for staff to administer them. It is not unreasonable to think that Long Beach could also further restrict the rights of responsible owners to own intact animals.
It is vital that responsible dog owners and breeders oppose this burdensome ordinance.
Long Beach City Council Meeting
Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
Time: 6 PM
Location: Council Chamber, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802
What the Proposal Does
The ordinance will require that all dogs or cats over the age of eight months be spayed or neutered unless they qualify for one of the following exemptions:
• A licensed veterinarian certifies that sterilization would likely cause the animal’s death or substantially aggravate a physical condition of the animal. The veterinarian must state the medical basis for the exemption and whether the unsuitability is temporary or permanent. If temporary, the certificate shall indicate how long the period of unsuitability will last.
• The dog is undergoing or has received training and certification by a recognized agency, if such certification is available, and will be or is utilized or is retired from use:
• By a law enforcement agency for law enforcement activities
• By a search and rescue agency for search and rescue activities (it should be noted that most search and rescue dogs are privately owned and trained)
• As a guide animal, hearing animal, assistance animal, seizure alert animal or social/therapy animal approved by the Animal Care Services Bureau.
• The animal is breeding stock for dogs described above by a recognized agency or organization approved by the Director. (This places a lot of power in the hands of the agency to determine which organizations are acceptable. There is no requirement in federal law that recognized assistance dogs be trained by specific agencies or organizations.)
• For each of the above, the owner shall provide proof to the satisfaction of the Director with each application for a new or renewal license. (It is not clear what criteria the Director will use and standards could change as staff changes.)
• A dog or cat harbored by a public shelter, humane society, or similar organization, whether public or private, the principal purpose of which is securing the adoption of dogs or cats, provided that such organization requires the spaying or neutering of all dogs and cats placed for adoption by such organization.
• A dog or cat that is a breed approved by and registered with a national or international breed registry or association which, at a minimum, requires identification of breed, date or birth, names of registered sire and dam, the name of the breeder and recordkeeping relating to breeding, transfer of ownership. The owner shall provide verified proof to the satisfaction of the Director with each application for a new or renewal license.
• A dog which is undergoing training or currently is trained to compete or be used for herding of other animals, or as a livestock guardian dog, or a dog designated as breeding stock for these purposes by a recognized agency or organization approved by the Director. The owner shall provide proof to the satisfaction of the Director with each application for a new or renewal license.
The American Kennel Club opposes mandatory spay/neuter as ineffective because it fails to address the underlying issue of irresponsible ownership. California state law already provides for the sterilization of animals adopted from shelters and mandates that the license fee for intact animals be at least double that of sterilized animals. Mandatory sterilization requirements will merely punish those who are responsible owners and breeders; irresponsible owners who are not complying with current laws are unlikely to continue their behavior under new laws.
The report from Long Beach Animal Care Services shows that the department is making great strides in improving shelter intakes and euthanasia rates and in providing low-cost sterilization services. These good works should continue to be supported. Because mandatory spay/neuter policies are known to be ineffective in reducing shelter intakes and euthanasia, none of the major national animal welfare organizations support mandatory spay/neuter. The AKC, AVMA, ASPCA, No Kill Advocacy Center, and the American College of Theriogenologists are just a few of the groups that oppose mandatory spay/neuter policies because they do not benefit dogs or the community.
The proposed ordinance will also prohibit the sale, barter, giving away or transferring of dogs, cats or rabbits unless the person or shop is in compliance with the following:
• Possess a breeding permit issued in accordance with city code 6.16.190
• A dog, cat, or rabbit is obtained from a publically operated animal shelter
• A dog, cat, or rabbit is obtained from a private humane society or duly incorporated organization devoted to the rescue, care, and adoption of stray, abandoned or surrendered dogs, cats and/or rabbits
What You Can Do
• Attend the Long Beach City Council meeting at 6pm on March 3rd.
Contact the members of the Long Beach City Council and ask them to oppose this ordinance.
6/4/14 Assembly Bill 2343 would establish a $10 million block grant program for local animal control agencies and allow local governments in certain circumstances to reduce the holding periods for unidentified stray cats and dogs. The measure would also require animals be checked for microchips during the holding period and before release, and provides more leeway in working with rescue and adoption organizations. It has been referred to the Assembly Local Government Committee.
3/14 - Assembly Bill 1809 is currently a spot bill with nonsubstantive language. AKC believes that this bill will be amended to require Certificates of Veterinary Inspection for dogs entering the state. AKC is monitoring this legislation and working with staff to address concerns of those traveling to dog shows and events as well as visitors traveling with owned family pets.
3/14 - Assembly Bill 1810 will allow a veterinarian, cat or dog kennel, pet grooming parlor, animal hospital or animal care facility to turn an abandoned animal over to a public animal control agency, animal shelter or humane society if the group agrees to accept the animal. Current law requires that abandoned animals held by these facilities be humanely destroyed. The bill passed in the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee.
3/14 - Assembly Bill 1965 would authorize retail food establishments to permit dogs in outdoor eating areas. It will also allow local governments to prohibit the practice. The measure passed the Assembly Health Committee and has been referred to the Committee on Local Government.
3/14 - CO Alert: Ask the Aurora City Council to Repeal BSL!
1/16 - CT, Stamford:
A committee of Stamford’s Board of Representatives is considering proposed changes to the city’s animal ordinances, including the establishment of breeder permits. While several changes have already been made at the request of AKC, local clubs and constituents, a new revised proposal would still create breeder permits. The committee will accept public comment regarding the proposal at a meeting in January.
9/15 - CT, Stamford:
A committee of Stamford’s Board of Representatives is considering changes to Chapter 111 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, which currently deals with “Dogs and Other Animals”. The changes include use of the term “guardian” to describe the relationship between dogs and their owners and require breeders to acquire breeder permits. The committee currently developing the changes is expected to make more changes to the proposal. The American Kennel Club opposes portions of the ordinance as originally written. All dog owners in Stamford are encouraged to contact the members of the Legislative and Rules Committee to express their concerns with the proposal and demonstrate the positive impacts they make as responsible breeders.
7/15 - House Bill 6187 sought to permit courts to order that a separate, independent advocate be assigned to represent the interests of an animal in a criminal proceeding in which the welfare or custody of the animal was at issue. AKC expressed concerns with this measure, including the potential for legal confusion about who would be ultimately responsible for making decisions impacting animals, and the potential for providing advocates akin to guardians ad litem that are traditionally used to protect the interests of people. The bill had a public hearing on April 1. No further action was taken on the bill before the Connecticut legislature adjourned on June 3, 2015.
6/4/14 - Connecticut:
Senate Bill 445 was developed pursuant to a 2013 task force investigating the sale of cats and dogs from “inhumane origins” at Connecticut pet shops. As amended by the Joint Committee on Environment, the measure establishes standards of care for dogs owned by individuals who maintain more than 10 dogs capable of breeding that are consistent with the standards required of animal importers. It requires pet sellers to post the USDA inspection reports of breeders from whom they source puppies, and bans the sale of pets from breeders with certain USDA regulatory violations. The measure further clarifies that the reimbursement under the state’s puppy lemon law is limited to the purchase price of the dog or cat, provided that the pet is diagnosed with a congenital disorder within 6 months of purchase. The measure is awaiting a vote by the Senate.
2/21/14 - Connecticut:
HB 6690 would allow courts to order that a separate, independent advocate be assigned to represent the interests of animals in any proceeding in which the welfare or custody of an animal is at issue. The measure passed the House and several Senate committees before being re-committed to Senate Judiciary committee in 2013. AKC GR has learned that it is likely that this measure will be brought forward again in 2014. AKC GR issued a legislative alert and a letter that expressed concern with the unintended and potentially far-reaching consequences this proposal could have on the legal status of animals in the state.
9/15 - Delaware update:
Senate Bill 22 was signed into law on August 11.
7/15 update - Senate Bill 22 was amended to clarify that a warning will be issued for a first offense. AKC supports SB 22, which has unanimously passed the Senate and House of Representatives and will likely be sent to the governor's desk soon.
Senate Bill 22 would allow law enforcement, animal control officers, animal cruelty investigators and firefighters to enter a vehicle if it is believed the temperature is such as to cause injury or death to the animal. The person removing the animal must make a reasonable effort to contact the owner, and if that is unsuccessful, leave written information with local animal shelters with their name and title and the location of the animal. Owners who leave their animals in vehicles in a situation where their health is endangered will be guilty of a misdemeanor on a first offense. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 18. Read AKC’s legislative alert for more information on SB 22.
1/16 - FL, Sarasota:
The Sarasota City Council will consider an ordinance on January 24 that includes provisions to define and restrict hobby breeders. A final draft is not yet posted on the county’s website.
9/15 - FL, Palm Beach County update:
The Palm Beach County Commissioners adopted changes to their animal control ordinance.
7/15 - House Bill 71/Senate Bill 414 broaden the definition of service animal to be consistent with federal regulations and prohibit discrimination by timeshares that are transient housing facilities. It provides that an employee who fails to allow a service animal where one is allowed will be guilty of a second degree misdemeanor and will be required to serve 30 hours of community service working for an organization that services those with disabilities. HB 71 has been signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.
FL, Palm Beach County:
The Palm Beach County Commissioners proposed changes to their animal control ordinance that will place additional restrictions on the ownership of intact animals and hobby breeders, reduce the age for dogs affected by the limit law from 8 months to 4 months, prohibit off-leash training and increase fees.
The Lee County Board of Commissioners will be voting on revisions to an ordinance that was adopted back in February. The revised ordinance (attached) will REMOVE the breeder licensing and inspections provisions and make other clarifications that will benefit responsible owners and breeders in Lee County. The mandatory spay/neuter requirements in the ordinance were not being considered for repeal, but the provisions and definitions related to this section have been clarified to ensure that purebred dogs and cats that are registered or eligible for registration with a nationally or internationally recognized cat or dog registry are exempt.
The Lee Alliance for Responsible Dog and Cat Ownership has spent the last several months working with Lee County Animal Control Director Donna Ward to draft these changes. We thank these dedicated individuals for all their work in protecting the rights of responsible owners and breeders.
Please show your support for these positive changes by attending the County Commission meeting on May 20th. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please send a note thanking the commissioners for their willingness to work on this issue and encouraging passage of the revised ordinance.
Lee County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Date: Tuesday, May 20th
Location: Commission Chambers, 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers, FL
Lee County Board of Commissioners
Commissioner John Manning (District 1)
Phone: (239) 533-2224
FAX: (239) 485-2155
Commissioner Cecil L Pendergrass (District 2)
Phone: (239) 533-2227
FAX: (239) 485-2021
Commissioner Larry Kiker (Chairman of the Board, District 3)
Phone: (239) 533-2223
FAX: (239) 485-2099
Commissioner: Brian Hamman (Vice Chairman of the Board, District 4)
Phone: (239) 533-2226
FAX: (239) 485-2054
3/14 - House Bill 1305/Senate Bill 1574 are companion bills which would define commercial breeders as persons who own intact females and sell 16 or more animals in a twelve month period and defines as dealers anyone who sells dogs and cats and is currently regulated by USDA/APHIS. The measure would require these persons to be registered with the Department of Business and Professional Regulations, in compliance with USDA/APHIS standards of care and be inspected annually. HB 1305 has been referred to the Business and Professional Relations Subcommittee, the Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the Regulatory Affairs Committee but no hearing has been scheduled. SB 1574 has not yet received committee assignments.
1/16 - GA, Augusta:
A new draft of a proposed ordinance under consideration by the Augusta/Richmond County Council enact changes to the county’s animal control law, including reducing the holding period for impounded animals, requiring all impounded animals to be sterilized, and other problematic provisions. The ordinance could be considered by the Public Safety Committee on January 26.
7/15 - GA, Savannah:
Proposed changes to the Savannah animal ordinance will be voted on by the Savannah City Council. Among many problematic provisions, this proposal would require all cats and dogs six months and older to be spayed or neutered with certain exemptions for competition, hunting, and herding dogs. Licensing would be required for broadly-defined “commercial pet animal facilities”, which would include individuals who sell more than one litter or three adult animals per year. The proposed ordinance would require all animals redeemed from animal control to be spayed/neutered prior to release, require 100-foot fence setbacks for persons with more than three dogs or cats over the age of 12 weeks, and allow only boarding kennels to keep more than six animals (including cats, dogs, birds, fish, livestock, etc.). It would empower animal control officers and “appointees” to enter private property without a warrant to capture an animal based on any violation. A dog on its owner’s property, but outside an enclosure, would be considered “at large” and subject to confiscation. Failure to provide “proper mental stimulus” to an animal would be a crime. Penalties for violations would include fines of up to $1000 and imprisonment for up to 30 days.
3/15 - GA, Spalding County:
The Spalding County Animal Care & Control Advisory Board has proposed an ordinance that would require persons who own or have custody of a dog or cat 6 months of age or older to have the animal surgically sterilized with few exemptions. Owners who wish to maintain an intact dog would be required to purchase a registration license tag and apply for an unaltered animal permit for each dog. The Spalding County Board of Commissioners returned the proposed ordinance to the advisory board with questions.
11/14 - GA, Augusta/Richmond County update:
Additional problematic provisions would empower animal services personnel to seize and destroy an animal believed to be “diseased” or “crippled” with no notification to the owner, require enclosures of 100 square feet per dog, and require owners to provide veterinary care for every minor injury or illness. As originally written, the proposal would require a greater level of health care for animals than is required for children.
3/14 - Senate Bill 414 SD2, which carried forward from the 2013 legislative session, seeks to require licensing of persons who own or have custody of ten or more intact dogs over the age of 12 months and sell more than 3 litters or more than 25 dogs per year. Those operating without a license would be subject to a penalty of $1,000 per day, and any failure to comply with standards and recordkeeping requirements would be subject to penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation. SB 414 passed the Senate in 2013. It remains assigned to the House Economic Development and Business Committee in 2014.
1/16 - ID, Bonneville County:
A proposal currently pending with the Bonneville County Commissioners seeks to impose animal possession limits in unincorporated parts of the county based on zoning district. The proposal also includes a “grandfather” provision that allows all dogs currently in the county to remain, but requires owners to reduce the number of animals maintained on a premises to new limit levels when current animals become deceased or are sold.
9/15 - Illinois update:
House Bill 4029 has been signed by the governor.
7/15 - House Bill 4029 would create new requirements for shelters that will help streamline the process to get lost animals home more quickly. Among other requirements, shelters would have to check for identification within 24 hours after the initial intake of a dog or cat. An additional scan for a microchip and other forms of identification would also be required prior to transferring an animal to another shelter or rescue group, or euthanization. HB 4029 as amended also states that if the first person listed on the microchip cannot be reached, the shelter must notify the second contact if one is listed. Also, shelters must notify the owner when one is identified and transfer dogs with identified owners to a local animal control or law enforcement agency for redemption. If they cannot transfer the animal, they must hold the animal for at least 7 days prior to removing the animal. The bill has passed the legislature and is pending action by the governor.
3/15 - IN, Wayne County:
Wayne County is considering kennel regulations that would include ownership limits and impose strict zoning requirements that could prevent hobbyists from breeding in their homes. No official draft has been released.
11/14 - IN, Tippecanoe County:
The Tippecanoe County Commission has proposed a rewrite of the county’s animal control code. Among new provisions is a mandatory spay/neuter requirement for all dogs at least 6 months of age, unless the owner purchases a breeder permit. The permit must be renewed annually and allows for one litter to be bred per year. On October 20, the commission agreed to temporarily table the ordinance and appoint a task force.
1/9/14 - Marion, IN:
A Marion City Council subcommittee is conducting a public hearing on January 7 to discuss a mandatory spay/neuter proposal in an effort to address a shelter overcrowding issue. It is anticipated that this proposal will require all dogs over 6 months of age to be sterilized unless the owner purchases a breeder license. It may also include breeding and ownership limits.
7/15 - Senate File 502 (formerly Senate Files 347 and 168) passed committee but was never considered by the full Senate. AKC GR continues to monitor the legislation, as it could be considered again in 2016.
3/15 - Iowa:
Senate File 347 (formerly SF168) would create many new regulations for “commercial breeders”, which are currently defined as someone who has four or more intact dogs and receives any kind of consideration for breeding (including stud fees or a puppy back). Those who meet the definition would be required to keep their kennels open for unannounced inspections during “normal business hours”, which could be a challenge for hobby and home-based breeders. They also could be subject to onerous license fees. There are certain exemptions for “special breeders”, including “competitive show breeders”, but it is unclear who would qualify for this designation. SF 347 would also prohibit certain breeders from being involved in rescue activities. SF347 is pending in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
A bill recently introduced in the Iowa Senate would likely have an extremely damaging impact on breeders and fanciers.
This bill is expected to move very quickly. It is imperative that Iowa dog owners and breeders contact their State Senator TODAY and ask them to oppose Senate File 168. Click here to find the name and contact information for your State Senator. Contact information for the full Senate can be found here.
Background – Understanding Current Law:
Current Iowa law defines a "commercial breeder" as someone who sells, exchanges, or leases dogs (or even offers to do so) in return for consideration. While those who keep dogs or cats for "hunting, for practice training, for exhibition at shows or field or obedience trials" are exempted, if a person has four or more intact dogs and receives any kind of consideration for breeding or transferring even a single dog, they are considered a commercial breeder and must be licensed and comply with commercial breeder laws. This could include offering a stud dog and receiving any compensation or "consideration" (such as a puppy back) from the resulting litter. The term "consideration" is not defined.
Current law also defines a “pet shop” as “an establishment where a dog… is bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale.” The only exemptions to this would be those who receive less than $500 in a year for the sale of animals or those who sell/exchange fewer than 6 dogs.
Summary of Senate File 168:
Senate File 2166 creates many new regulations and requirements for those who meet the broad definition of “commercial breeder”. Some highlights of the significant changes include:
Mandating inspections of all “commercial breeders” – Current law allows the state’s agriculture department to inspect those licensed as “commercial breeders”. Under this bill, anyone who meets the definition of “commercial breeder” must make their premises available for inspection during normal business hours as a condition of obtaining or renewing a license. The bill would further require the Agriculture Department to inspect all “commercial breeders” a minimum of once a year. Breeders would be required to provide a copy of the inspection report to all who purchase a dog from them.
This should be of particular concern to people who keep a few dogs in their home and do not have “normal business hours” because they could find themselves in violation of state law simply for keeping intact dogs and not being home when the inspector comes. It is also an unnecessary and costly drain on state resources.
Vague “Special Type of Commercial Breeder’s Reserved License” – A less-costly license is available for those who qualify for a “special type” of license, which is for those who are a “small breeder, competitive show breeder, or specialized breeder.” None of these terms are defined, so it is very unclear who would qualify or how one would prove they meet this definition. The bill does say that this would not apply to those who hold a public auction or own or keep dogs that produce 3 litters or 30 puppies, whichever is greater.
Significantly increasing license fees to pay for animal seizures – Currently, the registration fee is $175. This covers the state department of agriculture’s administrative costs for managing the commercial breeder program. SF 168 requires “commercial breeders” to pay that amount plus an additional amount based on the number of dogs kept on your property. This includes any dogs “kept for breeding” (it is assumed this means intact dogs) that happen to be on your property during an inspection. The additional amount – unless you have a “special type of license” – starts at $100 and increases to $7,500 depending on the number of dogs. The lowest threshold is for those who have one dog or cat. It is unclear why it mentions those who keep one dog when the threshold for commercial breeder is four dogs.
If a person falls into more than one category, then multiple licenses will need to be purchased. This includes licenses for foster care and rescue efforts. It could also apply to those who meet the broad definition of “pet shop”.
The fee increases will be deposited in a new “animal rescue remediation fund” to reimburse local authorities for “expenses incurred for the rescuing of an animal from a commercial establishment” (this includes breeders, rescues shelters, grooming facilities, etc.), as well as the “maintenance” of the animals and their “disposition” if required by the court after a hearing. Current law already allows the court to require someone accused of cruelty to post a bond during the hearing to pay for the care of the animals.
The uncapped fee increases are unnecessary, and create a significant burden on breeders and small businesses. Furthermore, the provision would defame in statute the integrity of anyone who might be considered commercial breeder under this law.
Prohibiting breeders to be involved in certain rescue activities– The bill prohibits any “commercial breeder” from owning, operating, or maintaining a controlling interest in an “animal shelter”. “Animal shelter” is defined as an organization operated by a local humane society, animal welfare society or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals that is used to receive, rescue, house and transfer animals. Those with a “special breeder license” are permitted, but, as stated above, this definition is very unclear and AKC is uncertain who would qualify. It is unclear how a “controlling interest” is defined, and whether it would impact breeders who also serve as foster homes and are engaged in other rescue activities on behalf of non-profit rescues and shelters. This could also impact parent club rescues if they are registered as a non-profit organization.
3/14 - Senate File 2254 would create many new restrictions and requirements for “commercial breeders”, which are currently defined as someone who has four or more intact dogs and receives any kind of consideration for breeding. Provisions of concern include significantly increasing license fees to pay for a new “animal rescue remediation fund” to pay for the “rescue” of animals from commercial kennels. All who meet the definition of commercial breeder would be required to open up their kennels for unannounced inspections and by 2016 the primary enclosures would have to be three times that required by USDA. In addition, breeders would be prohibited from being involved in certain rescue activities. The bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee and is now pending on the Senate Floor..
3/14 - IA Update: Hobbyists and Breeders Encouraged to Keep Asking the Senate to Oppose SF 2254
Iowa Senate File 2166, which creates many new dangerous and costly requirements on “commercial breeders” was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday and could be voted on in the Senate any day.
Current Iowa law defines a "commercial breeder" as someone who sells, exchanges, or leases dogs (or even offers to do so) in return for consideration. Dogs kept for hunting, field trials and dog shows are exempted only if they are not kept for breeding (for example, if you own four intact dogs, participate in a conformation show then provide your dog as a stud dog, you are no longer exempt).
Iowa residents are strongly encouraged to read AKC’s previous Legislative Alert for more details on how this bill will harm breeders in Iowa.
It is imperative that Iowa dog owners and breeders contact their State Senator TODAY and ask them to oppose Senate File 2166.
3/14 - House Bill 2682 and Senate Bill 392 expand the state’s Pet Animal Act. Rescue networks would be required to keep records of all foster homes and to designate a manager to oversee intake of animals and maintain records on their premises. Both bills require a $10 fee per foster home, and a $125 annual license fee. The bills would also expand the definition of “animal breeder premises” to include any premises where all or part of six or more litters or 30 or more dogs or cats are sold, offered, or maintained for sale. Current law only applies to those who meet this definition and sells primarily at wholesale for resale to another. New provisions for “animal breeders” include mandating inspections, which are currently at the discretion of the state Department of Agriculture. The frequency of the inspections will be based on performance, and the perceived risk of the kennel or rescue being inspected. House Bill 2682 is pending in the House Agriculture Committee. SB 392 passed the House and is pending in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
3/14 - House Bill 409 would establish “minimum care standards” which, among other problematic provisions, would require pet owners to provide dogs and cats with “continuous access” to an exercise area. This requirement would criminalize many responsible pet owners, particularly apartment dwellers and others who may lack such facilities. Failure to provide such standards of care would be a crime of felony torture, and a conviction would include forfeiture and a prohibition against owning dogs and cats for three years. HB 409 would also allow officers to seize a dog or cat without due process or procurement of a warrant. A person whose animal was seized would be required to either relinquish ownership prior to adjudication or post a surety or cash bond for care of the animals. If found not guilty or if the charges were dropped, the owner would be reimbursed only the funds not used. HB 409 has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary.
7/15 - House Bill 710 sought to require certain dog breeders to register annually with their parish and to submit to annual inspections of their facilities by local officials. AKC GR expressed concern that the bill unnecessarily duplicated federal regulatory oversight of breeders, employed vague and potentially unconstitutional requirements, imposed an unfunded mandate on localities, and risked empowering individuals without expertise in canine husbandry matters to inspect kennels. The bill was considered on May 28 by the House Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development Committee, which significantly amended the bill. The new version, House Bill 847, only required kennel license applicants to provide their parish with their USDA license and sales tax identification information, if they have one; or explanation for why they do not. HB 847 was passed by the full House on June 3 and the full Senate on June 6; and currently awaits Governor Bobby Jindal’s action. The Louisiana legislature adjourned on June 11.
The “Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety” bill was signed into law by Governor Patrick.
- HB 3762, which was substituted for HB 1874/SB 401 on November 14, 2013, would require “an individual, or a partnership, association, corporation, or an officer or employee thereof that sells animals to the public” to be subject to extensive consumer protection laws. The bill would also prohibit the sale of puppies or kittens less than eight weeks of age, and specifically empower the Department of Agricultural Resources to make rules and regulations for commercial breeder kennels and personal kennels where persons keep at least six intact female dogs between one and eight years of age for the purpose of breeding such dogs and selling the offspring as household pets. The bill remains under the cognizance of the House Ways and Means Committee.
- Senate Bill 767 seeks to allow anyone to bring a legal action for the protection and humane treatment of animals, including those who do not have any legal interest or rights of possession in such animal. AKC GR is concerned that this broad language could allow radical animal rights activists to bring suit against any animal owner, regardless of the merits of the accusation. As a result, owners who are sued could be forced to bear extensive costs to defend themselves against unfounded accusations and could be subject to seizure of their animals, as currently permitted under Massachusetts law.
1/16 - Maryland:
Senate Bill 36 expands current law to allow anyone to remove an animal from a vehicle if they believe the animal’s health or safety is in danger. Current law only allows certain first responders, law enforcement officers or animal control to remove animals from vehicles. Those who remove animals from vehicles would be exempt from all liability. AKC, the state federation and local dog owners contacted the committee and sponsor to express concerns about pet theft, lost dogs, and the lack of recourse for dog owners who were being responsible. The sponsor has agreed to work on amendments to address these concerns. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on January 19.
3/15 - Maryland – 2 bills:
House Bill 645 contains many problematic legislative findings, including implying that breeders are the reason for shelter population issues in the state, comparing animals to humans, and using the term “puppy mill.” The bill would also prevent new pet stores in the state from selling dogs or cats. This bill has a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on March 3.
Senate Bill 393 and House Bill 362 would force individuals charged with—but not convicted of— animal cruelty to forfeit ownership of their pets, even after they are later found not guilty of those charges, if they are unable to pay for a care bond for animals seized subsequent to a criminal charge. For defendants already incurring high costs to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding, the additional cost of daily boarding and care fees could prove an impossible burden to meet. In cases where a verdict of not guilty was reached or charges were dropped, a defendant unable to pay would be permanently deprived of their property, with no recourse. SB 393 was heard in the Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 26. HB 362 was heard by the House Judiciary Committee on March 4.
3/14 - Maryland Update: Senate Committee to Consider Banning BSL on April 1!
3/14 - Maryland Update: Debarking Ban, Crop/Dock Bills to be Considered on March 27!
3/14 - Maryland Update: Three Dog Bills Impacting Dog Ownership Pass House
3/14 - Minnesota Breeder Bills on the Move with Hearings Today and Tomorrow
3/14 - MN UPDATE: House Committee to Consider Commercial Breeder Bill on Tuesday, March 18
3/14 - Updated: Senate Version Of Minnesota Commercial Breeder Bill To Be Considered On Thursday, March 13
3/14 - Minnesota Commercial Breeder Bill Advances in House
3/14 - Minnesota Info: HF 84 Bill to be Considered on Wednesday, March 5
3/15 - Michigan:
Senate Bills 28 and 29 would increase the penalties for acts of animal cruelty. AKC GR and the Michigan Association for Pure Bred Dogs are requesting amendments to clarify some definitions and are expressing concern regarding a proposed definition of breeder which, as currently written, would include anyone “who breeds animals other than livestock for the purpose of making a profit.” AKC and its federation are asking that this vague and unnecessary definition be removed from the bills. The bills were passed with amendments on January 27, and are pending consideration by the full Senate.
6/4/14 - Michigan:
Senate Bill 560 would, among other provisions, limit the number of dogs that can be kept on a single premises and define a “large scale commercial breeder kennel” as one where more than 15 intact female dogs are kept for the purpose of breeding. The bill also includes new regulations and reporting requirements for animal control and animal protection shelters. The Senate Agriculture Committee has heard testimony on this bill, but no vote has been taken.
3/14 - House Bill 4168 was signed by the governor on March 12, 2014.
9/15 - MO, Kansas City:
Officials are seeking public input on their animal laws and suggestions for changes. Current law includes breed-specific policies, ownership limits, and hobby kennel licensing and inspections, among other provisions. This is an excellent opportunity for residents and those who participate in shows in Kansas City to provide constructive suggestions for changes to the law.
3/14 - Missouri Committee to Consider Prohibiting BSL on Tuesday!
7/15 - Montana update:
HB 608 was tabled in the Senate Business and Labor Committee.
Senate Bill 115 sought to limit the court’s discretion regarding bonds for care for animals seized under allegations of animal cruelty. It would have expanded existing law by requiring accused owners to pay impoundment costs prior to retrieving their animals even when the court directs that the animals be released to the owner pending adjudication. SB 115 would also have required the court to order payment of a bond for care in certain civil proceedings. Further, officers of an undefined “animal welfare agency” would have been empowered to order euthanization of seized animals. SB 115 did not advance in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
3/15 - Montana:
House Bill 608 seeks to establish licensing, inspection, regulations, fees, and penalties for dog and cat breeders. A “commercial breeder” would be defined as a person or entity who owns, keeps or harbors eight or more intact dogs or cats 9 months of age or older used for breeding or who sells, exchanges, leases, transfers or offers to sell, exchange, lease or transfer 31 or more dogs in a calendar year. Penalties for violations of rules adopted pursuant to the act would range from $100 to $1,000 per day per violation. HB 608 has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee.
3/15 - Nebraska:
Legislative Bill 377 could force a dog owner to forfeit their animals for only a suspicion of animal cruelty – even before a conviction by the court. Within 10 days of an impoundment for suspicion of cruelty, a hearing must be scheduled. If the court finds probable cause (not a conviction) that violations exist that may threaten the animal’s health and safety, then the court may order the immediate forfeiture of the animals and authorize “appropriate disposition” – including sale at a public auction, adoption of the animal, “donating” the animal to a shelter, or euthanasia. The court may also require the owner to pay a bond for the care of the animal throughout the trial. If a payment is missed, then all ownership rights would be forfeited. The Nebraska Legislature’s Agriculture Committee held a public hearing on this bill on February 17.
3/14 - LB 288 is pending in the Agriculture Committee.
The Nebraska Legislature’s Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on February 25 that would make two significant changes to the state’s commercial breeder laws.
Under current law, a “commercial breeder” is defined in part as someone who owns or harbors four or more intact dogs or cats and is “engaged in the business of breeding.” This means if you have at least four intact dogs (males or females) and sell even one puppy, you may already be considered a commercial breeder in Nebraska.
Legislative Bill 1002 would make two changes to the current law:
Require the Department of Agriculture to apply for a restraining order or injunction against any person violating the law or threatening to violate the law.
Require a state inspector or law enforcement officer to impound dogs if there are alleged violations or if an inspector observes an act that poses a significant health or safety risk to the dogs.
Currently both of these items are optional, meaning it is up to the Department of Agriculture and state inspectors to assess the situation and determine if further action is necessary.
The AKC strongly believes that if an animal is being harmed or is in danger, immediate action should be taken. However, LB 1002 would now require authorities to take action if someone is alleged or threatens to violate the law. This means if someone meets this very broad definition of “commercial breeder”, they could have their dogs impounded for an accusation.
This bill could violate a breeder’s property rights and creates a burdensome unfunded mandate for local law enforcement and animal control.
Nebraska residents are encouraged to contact the committee prior to the committee hearing on February 25 and ask them to not support LB 1002, which would have a negative impact on responsible breeders and hobbyists, local communities, and dogs
7/15 - Senate Bill 147 was signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval.
NV, Washoe County update:
The Washoe County Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance at their June 9th meeting which would have provided for licensing of commercial breeders defined as anyone who whelps three or more litters per year. The Commissioners referred the proposal for additional study.
3/15 - Nevada:
Senate Bill 147 would require peace officers to be trained in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present. This will include education on aggressive and nonthreatening behaviors in dogs as well as nonlethal methods of handling aggressive dogs. The bill was heard in the Government Affairs Committee on March 2nd, but no action was taken.
11/14 - NV, Washoe County:
The Washoe County Board of Commissioners has held multiple public hearings regarding changes to the county’s animal control code. A revised draft is expected to come before the commission after January 1, 2015. Proposed changes include breeder licensing, dangerous dog updates, changing nuisance regulations and possible regulation of retail sales. Some of the changes will bring the county into compliance with new state laws but in some cases definitions are changed or expanded.
7/15 - House Bill 661 would require licensed animal shelters and rescues to compile, maintain, and report certain records for any animal born; accepted from a transporter, animal control officer, or its owner; cared for; sold or otherwise transferred; or which died while in a licensed facility’s possession. The information would then be reported to the New Hampshire Director of Charitable Trusts for publication. HB 661 was heard by the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee on Tuesday, February 17, and awaits further committee action.
3/15 - New Hampshire:
House Bill 624 would force individuals charged with—but not convicted of— animal cruelty to forfeit ownership of their pets, even after they are later found not guilty of those charges, if they are unable to pay for a care bond for animals seized subsequent to a criminal charge. For defendants already incurring high costs to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding, the additional cost of daily boarding and care fees could prove an impossible burden to meet. In cases where a verdict of not guilty was reached or charges were dropped, a defendant unable to pay would be permanently deprived of their property, with no recourse. AKC GR and the Dog Owners of the Granite State (DOGS) opposed HB 624. HB 624 was heard by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee, which recommended that the bill was inexpedient to legislate, likely ending its consideration for the year.
9/15 - New Jersey update:
Assembly Bill 3037/Senate Bill 736 - SB 736 was substituted for AB 3037, and has passed both houses. The bill awaits action by Governor Christie.
Senate Bill 2625 would require registration of animal importers and licensing of animal grooming facilities and animal training facilities. The bill would define an animal importer as, “a person who brings any cat or dog into the State from any other state or sovereign entity for the purpose of offering the cat or dog for sale, adoption, or transfer in exchange for any fee, sale, voluntary contribution, service, or other consideration”, and includes any commercial or nonprofit animal rescue, adoption, or humane relocation or delivery organization that is not otherwise required to be licensed by the Department of Health. Animal importers conducting sales or adoption events in locations open to the public would be required to provide notice to the Department of Health. Additionally, those who own, operate, or plan to establish a grooming or training facility would be required to obtain a license from the municipal clerk in the municipality where the facility is located. The Commissioner of Health would be charged with developing rules and regulations for such facilities as well as rules and regulations establishing the procedures and registration and reporting requirements for animal importers, and the importation of cats and dogs into the State. The bill has passed the Senate Economic Growth Committee, and has been referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
7/15 - New Jersey update:
AB 2961 was substituted by SB 1341, which has passed both houses and is awaiting a concurrence vote.
Assembly Bill 3034 originally sought to force individuals charged with—but not convicted of— animal cruelty to forfeit ownership of their pets, even after they are later found not guilty of those charges, if they are unable to pay for a care bond for animals seized subsequent to a criminal charge. For defendants already incurring high costs to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding, the additional cost of daily boarding and care fees could prove an impossible burden to meet. In cases where a verdict of not guilty was reached or charges were dropped, a defendant unable to pay would be permanently deprived of their property, with no recourse. AB 3034 also fails to protect the property interests of non-possessory co-owners of seized dogs. The bill was amended by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on June 4, 2015.
3/15 - New Jersey – 3 bills:
Assembly Bill 991 seeks to establish a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for harming or threatening to harm animals owned or used by a law enforcement agency or a search and rescue dog. This bill has passed the Assembly, and has been assigned to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
Assembly Bill 2389 attempts to bar employment at animal-related enterprises, or ownership of animals, for at least two years, of those convicted of or found civilly-liable for any animal crime; permits courts to order forfeiture of animals of those found guilty/civilly-liable for violating animal statutes; provides for new animal control officer rules and regulations; and creates a statewide animal cruelty registry. This bill has passed the Assembly and is currently pending in the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
Assembly Bill 3037 creates a minimum penalty for animal cruelty offenses and revises the state’s animal fighting laws. One provision would allow the court to sever ownership rights when someone has been convicted of cruelty. AKC has asked for an amendment to allow co-owners the opportunity to claim the animal prior to the dog being surrendered to a shelter or rescue. The bill has passed the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and awaits further action by the full Assembly.
11/15/14 - New Jersey:
Assembly Bill 2961/Senate Bill 1341 supports legislation enacted in 2009 by establishing a penalty for failure to include a bittering agent in antifreeze. SB 1341 has already unanimously passed the Senate, while AB 2961 is under first committee consideration. Both bills have passed the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
AB 3306 and SB 1870 seek to impose additional requirements on pet shops and pet dealers, including providing consumers with specific breeder information; posting information on enclosures and in internet/print advertisements; prohibiting pet shops from selling, offering for sale, or purchasing for resale, any animal purchased from any breeder/broker who fail to meet certain standards; mandating that pet shops submit annual reports to the state; and allowing localities to impose more significant restrictions. Failure to comply with the requirements and prohibitions established under the bills would result in a $500 penalty. Both bills have passed the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Assembly Bill 3381, as introduced, expands the animal cruelty statute to include theft or release of animals during burglary. This bill has passed the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
1/9/14 - Newton, NJ:
The Town of Newton tabled a proposed 4-dog limit at its December 23rd meeting. Under the proposal, dog owners with more than one acre of land would have been permitted to own one additional dog for each acre, not to exceed a total of six dogs. Persons who wished own more than the limit would have been required to apply for a kennel license.
1/9/14 - New Jersey:
Assembly Bill 3953 states that an insurer shall not refuse to issue, cancel, or renew a homeowner's insurance policy solely on the basis that a dog is kept on the property. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.
7/15 - NM, Taos County:
The Taos County Board of Commissioners heard testimony on proposed changes to the animal control code including mandatory spay/neuter provisions, burdensome licensing fees, leash requirements that could deem a dog to be “at-large” even when on its own property, and revisions to the limit law. The Commissioners have deferred action on this item.
3/15 - New Mexico:
House Bill 415 seeks to allow methods to fund a spay/neuter program, but also contains a provision that requires the state’s animal shelter board to develop and implement a statewide spay and neuter program. As written, it is very broad and could allow for a mandatory spay/neuter program to be implemented in the state. The bill has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. New Mexico’s legislature adjourns on March 21, so the bill could move through the Senate very quickly.
3/16 Senate Bill 3850: The New York Senate is expected to vote on a bill any day that would allow owners to take their companion animals on public transportation if a state of emergency is declared. This is meant to partner with identical legislation passed in 2014 in New Jersey to assist those utilizing public transportation through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Senate Bill 3850 would allow owners to take companion animals on Port Authority of New York and New Jersey public transportation during official states of emergency, so long as the animal is under the owner’s control (tether, leash, “appropriate container”, or “other suitable means”), and the boarding is consistent with local emergency plans. This only applies to owners who are evacuating the region affected by the emergency. The bill does allow for a domestic animal to be refused if there is a health or safety hazard. Passengers with service animals will be provided priority seating, and passengers must be given seating before a companion animal is given a seat.
1/16 - New York update:
Assembly Bill 6626/Senate Bill 5372, which the AKC supports, were signed into law in December.
NY, Montgomery County:
The Montgomery County Legislature is expected to again propose a measure in January that would regulate breeders and impose various care and conditions requirements. While no draft is available at this time, the AKC is reaching out to the legislature to encourage them to not proceed with any proposal that would not be in the best interest of dogs or responsible breeders.
9/15 - NY, Ulster County:
The Ulster County Legislature introduced a proposal that would have regulated those who sell more than 9 dogs or 2 litters of dogs in a year. Those meeting this definition would be subject to licensing and inspections. The inspections could have been carried out by local animal welfare organizations. The proposal also included several kennel requirements that were not in the best interest of dogs and would have been virtually impossible to enforce. The proposal has been tabled and the local breeders have been invited to meet with the legislature to develop more effective solutions.
7/15 - Assembly Bill 6626/Senate Bill 5372 would allow victims of domestic violence to bring their service or therapy dogs with them when going to an emergency shelter. They have passed the legislature and will be sent to the Governor.
Senate Bill 423 would include pets in the definition of “property” in the larceny statutes. As a result, stealing a pet from someone’s dwelling, enclosure, yard or other property would be a fourth degree grand larceny offense. It passed the Senate on June 3 and, along with its companion Assembly Bill 3510 is pending in the Assembly Codes Committee.
Senate Bill 1812/ Assembly Bill 141 would amend current laws to help better identify the owners of lost dogs. Under this bill, a lost dog must be checked for all forms of identification, including tags, microchips, tattoos or licenses within 24 hours after intake, or as soon as practicable. Also, if possible, a photograph and description of the dog should be posted on the Internet, unless it is deemed better to not post if deemed appropriate to facilitate finding the owner or protect the safety of the dog. If the dog is identified, the owner must be notified either personally or by certified mail, and the dog must be held for seven days. If the dog is not identified right away, it must be held for at least five days. This bill was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee and now is pending on the Senate Floor. A. 141 is pending in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
Senate Bill 3321 would allow owners to take companion animals on commuter transportation (i.e. buses, railroads, ferries, and other forms of transportation operated by the metropolitan transportation authority) when a state of emergency has been declared and an evacuation has been ordered. The animal must be under the owner’s control (leash, crate, etc.), and passengers with service animals will be given first priority. The bill has passed the Senate and, along with its companion Assembly Bill 539 is pending in the Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee.
Senate Bill 3850 would allow owners to take their companion animals on public transportation if a state of emergency is declared. This bill is similar to Senate Bill 3321 and would partner with virtually identical legislation passed in New Jersey to assist those utilizing public transportation through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The animal must be under the owner’s control (leash, crate, etc.), and passengers with service animals will be given first priority. The bill has passed the Senate and is pending in the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee.
The Hempstead Town Board has proposed a measure that would require pet stores to comply with numerous requirements, including mandating the sterilization of all dogs prior to sale. “Pet stores” would include not just retail establishments, but also anyone who meets the state definition of “pet dealer”, which is anyone who raises more than 25 dogs a year on their property or sells 9 dogs a year that they did not raise themselves. Those who meet this definition would be subject to many other new regulations as well, including having 100 square feet of retail space for each dog sold and not selling a dog that has not been sterilized. The measure is expected to be considered by the board soon.
11/14/ - NY — Numerous counties:
Are seeking to regulate “pet dealers” after a measure was signed by the governor in 2013 that allows local governments to create their own regulations. A “pet dealer” is defined in New York as a person who sells more than 9 dogs in a year, unless those dogs are bred and raised on someone’s residential premises. If the dogs are raised on a person’s premises, then they are a pet dealer when they sell 25 or more dogs/year. AKC GR worked closely with local clubs and the Suffolk County Legislature in April 2014 to significantly amend their proposal in an effort to protect the rights of breeders and fanciers as much as possible. This version has been used as the basis for proposals in Nassau, Westchester, and most recently Rockland Counties.
NY, New York City update:
The committee has tabled these measures, but they could come back later in the year.
NY, Westchester County:
The Westchester County Legislature is seeking to regulate pet dealers in response to the state legislation passed in 2013 allowing local governments to establish their own laws on pet dealers, so long as they were not less strict than state statutes. Currently, the legislature is discussing a model ordinance put forward by ASPCA that would require local licensing for those who meet the definition of pet dealers (it is presumed this would be in addition to state licensing), as well as inspections. The licensing program and inspections could either be handled by the local government, or contracted out to a local organization. The model also includes requirements for specific temperature ranges for kennels and a prohibition on stacked crates of dogs older than 12 weeks of age.
6/4/14 - NY, New York City:
The New York City Council Committee on Health is considering four measures that would redefine “pet store” to mean anyone who sells even one dog to the general public for a profit. Introduction 136 would require anyone who meets this definition to have animals sterilized prior to transfer to the new owner. Dogs and cats must be 8 weeks old prior to sterilization, unless there is a letter from a veterinarian stating the animal cannot be sterilized at that time. This letter only applies for 4 months. Introduction 55 would create many new requirements for “pet shops”, including prohibiting them from obtaining dogs from anyone who has an ownership interest in one female and sells or offers to sell 50 dogs/year, or from anyone who has an ownership interest in 20 female dogs. The measure would also establish many other requirements, including regular site visits from a veterinarian. The AKC opposes this new definition of pet store that is contained in all four measures, and further opposes the mandatory sterilization of dogs being sold in the City. The committee is currently holding the measures for further consideration and possible amendments.
NY, Suffolk County:
A measure under consideration by the Suffolk County Legislature, as introduced, would have created many new requirements on those who meet the state definition of “pet dealer” (those who sell or offer to sell 9 or more dogs a year. Those who raise 25 dogs or fewer in a year at their residence are exempt). The new regulations would have included preventing a dog from being sold, traded or given away prior to 14 weeks of age, unannounced inspections, and unclear and potentially problematic requirements for “primary enclosures”, which could possibly include someone’s home. Based on concerns raised by the AKC and local clubs, the sponsor created a task force to help develop amendments. Amendments were made that changed the age of sale of a puppy to 8 weeks, modified size requirements for primary enclosures, and prohibited pet dealers from obtaining animals from a breeder that has been cited for certain USDA violations. The amendments would also require all pet dealers to provide a copy of their latest USDA inspection report. It is unclear how this would apply to breeders who are not licensed by USDA. This measure is currently pending a final vote by the Suffolk County Legislature.
6/4/14 - New York:
Assembly Bill 3371 would require all breeders to be licensed and inspected if they breed three or more animals a year “for profit”. Breeders would also be required to comply with basic standards of care. AKC GR sent a message opposing the definition of “breeder”, explaining that this would require people to open up their private homes for unannounced inspections. The bill was held in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
3/14 - Assembly Bill 7064 would require any permanent structure where animals are kept to be equipped with a fire suppression system and an alarm system that directly connects to the local police and fire departments. AKC sent a letter of concern over the extensive unnecessary cost and burden this would place on animal owners. The bill had a public hearing in the Assembly Agriculture Committee on March 25, but was held.
2/21/14 - New York update:
Assembly Bill 740 / Senate Bill 3753 clarify that counties and municipalities can regulate "pet dealers," so long as the laws are not less stringent than state law. The bills also allow municipalities to enact local laws and regulations governing pet dealers to address “the source of animals offered for sale by pet dealers” and whether spaying/neutering should be required prior to all sales. "Pet dealer" is defined in current law as those who sell 9 or more dogs per year. Breeders who raise dogs on their residential premises are exempt, so long as they sell fewer than 25 dogs per year. The bill was signed into law on January 10 and took effect immediately.
9/15 - North Carolina update:
House Bill 199/ Senate Bill 247 was signed by the governor on August 4.
NC, Iredell County:
A public hearing is scheduled for August 25 to discuss several changes to the county’s animal control laws; including a broad categorization of all dogs as solely companion animals; requirements on ear cropping, tail docking and dewclaw removal; and tethering and outdoor shelter regulations. It also would require that all outdoor enclosures must have a minimum of 100 square feet of space, plus an additional 5 square feet for each pound the dog weighs over 25 pounds, regardless of the amount of time the dog spends outside.
7/15 - North Carolina update:
House Bill 159 has passed the House and is being held in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 199/ Senate Bill 247 would allow Raleigh law enforcement and police officers to adopt the animals they worked with or handled during the animal’s service. H199 has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Committee on State and Local Government. S247 has passed the Senate with an amendment to add Mecklenburg County to the legislation.
House Bill 97 (the state legislative budget proposal) as passed by the Senate would require that the general sales tax rate be applied to gross receipts for a variety of services, including grooming, boarding, training, veterinary services, or “providing other care for an animal.” Different versions of the state budget were individually passed by the House and Senate and a conference committee will be appointed during the next few weeks to negotiate a compromise.
3/15 - North Carolina – 2 bills:
House Bill 159 would seek to define “commercial breeder” as any person who owns, has custody of, or maintains 11 or more female dogs over the age of 6 months for the purpose of breeding. Among other provisions, the bill would also transfer the oversight of all animal welfare activities in the state from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety. Someone who keeps or breeds dogs exclusively for herding, hunting, tracking, or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events or obedience trials would be exempt, but it is unclear how this would be determined. AKC GR is concerned about defining commercial activity solely on animal ownership and transferring oversight away from those with animal husbandry expertise. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary II and Finance Committees.
Senate Bill 209 would establish the “NC Pets We Care Hotline” to allow North Carolinians to report any act of animal cruelty or any violation of the state’s Animal Welfare Act directly to the state’s Attorney General. Reports would be forwarded to local law enforcement and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The bill also provides resources to help local communities offset the costs of enforcing cruelty laws.
3/14 - House Bill 930 - Senate leadership has announced that due to some tactics used by some of the bill’s supporters, HB 930 will not be considered this year. AKC is conducting outreach with key officials to develop a long-term strategy for addressing these canine policy concerns in North Carolina.
1/9/14- Ohio update:
House Bill 274 modifies the state’s animal cruelty laws and creates a new definition of “serious physical harm” against a companion animal. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on December 4.
3/14 - House Bill 2637 revises local requirements regarding kennels. Under current law, a kennel (where 4 or more dogs are housed) may not be built within 2,500 feet of a school or day care. This bill modifies the law by stating that this prohibition applies solely to commercial pet breeders. Commercial kennels already in existence are exempt. HB 2637 passed the House and is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
9/15 - Oregon:
Senate Bill 4 would clarify that a rescue entity includes any group that maintains legal custody of ten or more animals, whether physically located at a facility operated by the entity or kept, housed or maintained elsewhere. The measure has been signed into law by Governor Kate Brown.
3/15 - Oregon:
Senate Bill 419 would direct animal impounding facilities to work with animal rescue groups (defined as a tax exempt 501(c)3 that operates to find permanent homes for lost, homeless, surrendered or abandoned animals) to facilitate adoption of animals. It further establishes requirements for animal care and adoption processes for animal impounding facilities. Finally, the measure authorizes a humane investigative agency volunteer to be commissioned by Superintendent of State Police as humane special agent. Current law allows only employees to perform in this capacity. The bill has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
9/15 - Pennsylvania:
Senate Bill 77 would make several changes regarding dog training areas. This includes making it unlawful for anyone to “willfully, negligently, or maliciously” kill, injure or interfere with a dog engaged in training or field trials, or to negligently and maliciously interfere with a person training dogs, participating in field trials or lawfully hunting in a dog training area. The bill has passed the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and is pending on the Senate floor.
7/15 - Senate Bill 22 makes several changes to the Commonwealth’s consumer protection laws, including clarifying that a dog may not be rendered “unfit for purchase” if the dog has intestinal or external parasites, unless the dog is clinically ill or dies, or if the dog has an injury or illness likely contracted subsequent to the date of sale. SB 22 also requires “releasing agencies (rescues, shelters, etc.) to provide health certificates including vaccinations, medical treatments, known medical conditions and any illness or disease the dog currently has or has ever had. The bill also amends the timelines for dogs being considered unfit for purchase. The AKC and Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs both support this legislation, which unanimously passed the Senate Consumer Protection Committee on April 15 and is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senate Bill 373 would amend the commonwealth’s cruelty laws to regulate tethering and sheltering for dogs kept outdoors. The bill would prohibit tethering a dog outside for more than 30 minutes if the temperature is below 32 degrees. The AKC is concerned that this would impact field trials, sledding, dog training, and other activities where a dog could be humanely tethered in these temperatures. AKC GR is recommending that the bill be clarified to instead state that a dog should not be left outdoors in conditions where the health and safety of the dog is in immediate danger. The bill has passed the Senate and is pending committee assignment in the House.
6/4/14 - Rhode Island:
House Bill 8205 seeks to limit all Rhode Island dog owners from owning or harboring any dog six months of age and older that has not been spayed or neutered. To be excepted from the mandatory spay/neuter requirement, individuals would be required to purchase an annual “intact” dog permit costing $100 per dog. HB 8205 was heard by the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee on Wednesday, May 21, which held the bill for further study.
3/14 - Rhode Island: Another Bill Seeks to Chip Away at State's Breed-Neutral Dog Laws
7/15 - South Carolina:
House Bill 4120 seeks to require licensing and to establish standards for “commercial dog breeders”, defined as a “person or business that owns, has custody of, or maintains twenty or more female dogs over the age of six months that are capable of reproduction and kept primarily for the purpose of breeding and selling the offspring to a person, business, or pet store for resale as pets to the general public”, with certain exemptions. HB 4120 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs and may be considered during the 2016 legislative session.
Senate Bill 800 seeks to require licensing, fees, and inspections as a “Professional Dog Breeder” for persons who own or control “ten or more intact female adult dogs for the primary purpose of breeding and selling”. S.800 would establish extensive requirements for breeders and empower the Director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control or his/her designee to promulgate additional regulations. The home-based raising of puppies would not be feasible under the requirements of S.800. Inspections and unlimited re-inspections could be conducted by appointees with no training or certification, and such appointees' organizations would receive resulting fees and civil penalties of up to $5000 per day. Violations subject to these extreme penalties could include minor infractions such as the use of incorrect food storage receptacles. This bill would also expand animal cruelty laws applicable to all animals and establish penalties that would include imprisonment for up to five years and fines of up to $15,000. S.800 would further empower the Director or designee to seize animals if he or she “believes” the animals’ health, safety or welfare are endangered. S. 800, which was referred to Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, may be considered in the 2016 legislative session.
1/16 - Tennessee:
Proposed amendments to HB 1142 and SB 1020 sought to regulate “professional breeders”, defined as a person who possesses or controls ten or more unsterilized female dogs over the age of 6 months for the primary purpose of breeding and selling the offspring as pets. These amendments would also have granted “appointees” who were not government employees or law enforcement officers access to dog owners’ private property and further empower them to be granted administrative warrants to come onto the property and examine the records of any dog owner to determine if a violation had occurred. HB 1142 was withdrawn and SB 1020 was deferred to the 2016 legislative session.
9/15 - Tennessee:
Proposed amendments to HB 1142 and SB 1020 sought to regulate “professional breeders”, defined as a person who possesses or controls ten or more unsterilized female dogs over the age of 6 months for the primary purpose of breeding and selling the offspring as pets. These amendments would also have granted “appointees” who were not government employees or law enforcement officers access to dog owners’ private property and further empower them to be granted administrative warrants to come onto the property and examine the records of any dog owner to determine if a violation had occurred. HB 1142 was withdrawn and SB 1020 was deferred to the 2016 legislative session.
TN, Germantown update:
The Germantown Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance that defines “proper shelter” and requires any animal that is impounded two times in a twelve month period or five times over any time period to be spayed or neutered at the owner’s expense prior to release.
7/15 - TN, Germantown:
The Germantown Board of Aldermen has passed on first reading a proposed ordinance that would require any animal that is impounded two times in a twelve month period or five times over any time period to be spayed or neutered at the owner’s expense prior to release. A second vote is scheduled for July 13.
Discussion of an ordinance that would include pet limits, regulations, fees, inspections and licensure for persons with more than four cats and/or dogs has been deferred indefinitely.
3/15 - TN, Nashville/Davidson County:
Ordinance BL2015-1008, which makes it an animal cruelty violation to tether a dog, even temporarily in conjunction with an event, unless a 15 foot tether is used and access to water, food and shelter is provided, has passed and takes effect immediately. This measure also prohibits outdoor tethering under certain weather conditions and temperatures.
3/15 - Tennessee – 2 bills:
House Bill 147 / Senate Bill 1204 seek to establish an animal abuser registry. HB 147 would also redefine “animal” and “companion animal” as used in this legislation. HB 147 will be heard by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on March 17. SB 1204 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Extensive language that would significantly affect dog breeders and owners in the guise of a new commercial breeder regulation bill is expected to be inserted into an existing bill mid-session. This could potentially could allow little time for comment.
6/4/14 - Tennessee:
House Bill 2385 / Senate Bill 2468 sought to delete a provision that terminates the Commercial Breeder Act on June 30, 2014. The bills did not advance in committee, and therefore the Tennessee Commercial Breeder Act will end on June 30. The Act, which went into effect January 1, 2010, cost taxpayers more than $1 million to regulate approximately 20 commercial breeders. Dog breeders and owners will continue to be subject to Tennessee’s animal cruelty laws which make it a crime to fail to provide food, water, care or shelter for an animal or to transport or confine an animal in a cruel manner.
3/14 House Bill 1260 / Senate Bill 1359 seek to enact conditions under which tethering a dog would be an animal cruelty violation. Under these bills, it would be a crime to use a tether of less than 10 feet in length or to tether a dog without access to food, a spill-proof container of water, and a shelter with bedding. As written, this bill would effectively outlaw the use of grooming nooses and could prohibit temporarily securing a dog by a tether in conjunction with training, hunting, and competition activities. HB 1260 did not advance in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. SB 1359 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
1/9/14 - Johnson City, TN update:
The Johnson City Commission passed a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance that requires all cats and dogs six months of age and older to be surgically sterilized unless the owner obtains a $25 unaltered permit for each animal or qualifies for an exemption. Permit holders are required to make the unaltered animal permit certificate available for inspection at all times. Violations are subject to a fine of $50 per occurrence per day.
1/16 - TX, Austin:
A committee of the Austin City Council recently heard testimony on the subject of whether mandatory spay/neuter should be implemented in the city. Due to the city’s 94% live release rate, as well as the unintended consequences often found in localities that have implemented mandatory spay/neuter, the local animal control officer joins AKC in opposition to requiring sterilization of animals in Austin. The Council Committee has requested more information regarding mandatory spay/neuter, and will review the information at a future meeting.
3/14 - Houston City Council Expected to Consider Animal Ordinance Changes Next Week
3/14 - Tennessee Informational Alert: Dog Bills in Committee March 19
3/15 - Utah:
For the purposes of issuing municipal business licenses, House Bill 61 would define a commercial breeder as “a person who for a fee or other consideration maintains in a kennel at any time six or more dogs for breeding or six or more cats for breeding and sells, leases, trades, barters, auctions, or provides to another person the offspring of those dogs or cats.” The bill states that a commercial breeder does not include an animal shelter or a person with five or fewer unsterilized dogs over six months old. It defines a kennel as “a facility where a commercial breeder keeps, maintains or houses dogs or cats.” AKC GR is working with local concerned breeders to initiate a dialogue with the bill sponsor. The bill was tabled in the House Political Subdivisions Committee and returned to the Rules Committee.
3/14 - Ask Utah's Governor to Sign a Law Prohibiting BSL!
3/14 - Under current Vermont law, when someone is charged with animal cruelty, a prosecutor is permitted to bring an additional civil proceeding to determine whether the defendant should continue to own animals; and has to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant should not. However, the original version of Senate Bill 237 would have mandated such a civil proceeding and would have lowered the burden of proof to a “preponderance of the evidence.” Furthermore, the bill failed to specifically provide for a right to appeal an order of forfeiture before property rights were extinguished, and failed to protect the rights of non-possessory co-owners to trump those of statutorily-cited parties of interest should the defendant be ordered to forfeit ownership. In light of several high-profile cases where animals were seized after defendants were charged with, but ultimately not found guilty of, animal cruelty and in which animals were permanently altered or sold, the AKC, joined by the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs, expressed concern that the permanent deprivation of property rights and interests that would be easier to achieve should SB 237 be enacted was a dangerous proposition for Vermont residents. The bill was subsequently amended by the House Judiciary Committee on February 18 to address those concerns. SB 237 now features extensive yet fair changes for the procedures to be used in civil forfeiture proceeds in cases of animal cruelty.
1/16 - Virginia:
House Bills 38 and 211 would allow private citizens to remove companion animals from vehicles if they believe the animal is at risk of serious injury or death. The bills further state that the person may not be held liable for any damages, including loss of the animal or any injury caused by the animal. There is no requirement that the person removing the dog should stay with the vehicle, or leave any kind of message as to who removed the animal and where it was taken. The bills do require that the person attempt to call a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services officer, an animal control officer, or 9-1-1. There is also no recourse for the owner for damage incurred when the animal in the car was not in danger, or for protection if the dog harms someone as a result of being removed from the vehicle. The bills are scheduled for consideration by the House Courts of Justice-Civil Law Subcommittee on January 18.
3/15 - Washington:
Senate Bill 5501 amends state animal cruelty laws to make it a class 2 civil infraction to leave or confine any animal unattended in a motor vehicle or enclosed space if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat, cold, lack of ventilation or lack of necessary water. It allows animal control officers and law enforcement officers who believe the animal is in danger to remove the animal from the vehicle. AKC GR has submitted a letter in support of this legislation, which is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.
3/16 - A West Virginia measure that would have instituted statewide mandatory spay/neuter policies was not considered in committee prior to the hearing deadline. As a result, the bill will not advance this year.
Instead, a resolution has been introduced that would require the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to “study the most effective, humane, and cost-efficient means of reducing the population of unwanted and stray dogs and cats in the state” and then provide recommendations to the legislature in 2017.
1/16 - WV, Jefferson County:
The county council unanimously approved an ordinance that, among other provisions, establishes minimum outdoor enclosure sizes for dogs and limits tethering to 16 hours in any 24 hour period. It requires that dogs confined outdoors for more than 16 hours a day must be provided with “adequate space”, defined as a fenced permanent outdoor enclosure of no less than 100 square feet for one or two dogs 35 pounds and under; 100 square feet for each dog 35-60 pounds; 150 square feet for each dog 60-100 pounds; and 250 square feet each dog 100 pounds or greater. A motion was approved to task the County Administrator with researching whether an ordinance needs to be developed to set the fees for Commercial Breeding Licenses.
1/16 - Wisconsin:
Assembly Bill 487 would make several changes to current law regarding animals taken by shelters and local humane societies. These changes include decreasing the amount of time an animal is held at a shelter from 7 days to 4 days. Another provision would require those accused (but not convicted) of “crimes against animals” to continue to pay for the care of the animals during an ongoing trial. If a payment is missed, their ownership rights will be forfeited forever – even if they are ultimately found not guilty or charges are dropped. AKC and its state federation have expressed several concerns with these provisions. The bill had a public hearing on January 13.
6/4/14 - WI, Milwaukee:
The City Council has proposed legislation that would only allow pet stores to sell dogs, cats, or rabbits obtained from an animal control center, nonprofit humane society or rescue, or kennels or training facilities operated by a subdivision of the federal, state or local government. The Council’s Committee on Public Safety discussed the measure on May 22.
3/14 - Madison, WI to Vote on Breed-Specific Mandatory/Spay Neuter on March 18