AKC Taking Command - a publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
January 2014
Local Issues

The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can't help unless we are aware of the proposal! If you hear of an issue in your city or county, please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org . We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools, and support you need to help support and defend responsible dog ownership in your community.

Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:

Breed-Specific Measures

Albany, GA — The city commission approved on first reading an ordinance that would require registration of “pit bull” dogs, establish stringent enclosure requirements, and require owners to maintain $100,000 liability insurance or a $15,000 surety bond. The ordinance defines “pit bulls” as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of the breeds.  The measure will receive a second reading at a future commission meeting.

Reynoldsburg, OH — The Reynoldsburg City Council is considering a repeal of its long-standing breed-specific laws. This is the latest city in Ohio to consider a repeal since a state law was signed in 2012 to remove the term "pit bull" from the state's definition of "vicious dog". AKC GR has sent a letter of support to the council. The issue was postponed at a recent meeting and an ad hoc committee was formed. The issue is expected to be reconsidered by the city council in the next few weeks.

Yakima, WA — The Yakima City Council voted to keep their breed-specific law in place, but is continuing to gather information and has indicated that the council will consider breed-neutral dangerous dog ordinances in the future. AKC GR has sent a letter to the council supporting a repeal of the breed-specific law and continues to work with local dog clubs and owners.

Breeding Restrictions

Pasadena, CA — The Pasadena City Council has deferred for six months any action on a proposed mandatory spay/neuter proposal. In that time frame the local animal control authorities are expected to complete a canvassing and licensing education program which the city council members believe will provide them with additional information regarding the state of animal control in the city. AKC GR thanks all those who attended the recent city council meeting and took time to educate their elected officials about the ineffectiveness of mandatory spay/neuter ordinances. AKC GR will provide further updates when this issue is back before the city council.

Ventura County, CA — The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has approved an ordinance that will require the sterilization of all animals unless the owner qualifies for an intact animal license or purchases a breeder permit and agrees to allow animal control to inspect their private homes without a warrant. AKC sent an alert to local breeders and fanciers urging opposition to this burdensome and ineffective measure and also sent a letter of opposition to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. The measure passed on December 10.

Lee County, FL — The Lee County Board of Commissioners will soon consider major revisions to their animal control code including breeder licensing, warrantless inspections, mandatory spay/neuter and restrictions on keeping dogs outside (even in fenced yards). AKC GR has contacted county officials and local fanciers regarding our opposition to this burdensome and ineffective proposal.

Marion, IN — A Marion City Council subcommittee public hearing has been rescheduled for February 4.  The purpose is 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. AKC GR, the Indiana Purebred Dog Alliance, and the Marion Kennel Club are closely monitoring council activity on this issue. Read more about this proposal.

Houston, TX — The staff of BARC, the City of Houston's animal shelter and adoption facility, is drafting proposed updates to the city's animal ordinances. The original draft proposal considered all breeding of dogs to be commercial and would have required all breeders to acquire commercial breeding permits. All non-commercial breeding of animals would have been outlawed. Because most land use in Houston is controlled by home owners' association covenants, which almost uniformly prohibit commercial activity on controlled lands, hobby breeding in Houston could have been effectively ended if the original draft had been adopted. BARC officials have been provided with extensive explanations as to why the original proposal would be detrimental to responsible dog breeders, and BARC has publicly stated their intention to address those concerns. In the next week, BARC is expected to introduce a revised proposal in the Houston City Council. AKC GR is monitoring developments and will continue to work with Houston-area constituents to protect the rights of responsible breeders and enthusiasts in Houston.

Intact Animal Permits

Johnson City, TN
— 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.