AKC Taking Command - a publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
April 2014
Local Issues: City, County, and Metropolitan

The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) is pleased to assist dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can't help unless we are aware of the proposal. Please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org when new laws are discussed or introduced in your city or county. We will provide you with resources and tools to help defend the rights of dog owners and support responsible dog ownership in your community.

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

CA, Pasadena — The Pasadena City Council has chosen to defer proposed breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter proposal. AKC GR encourages local responsible dog owners to meet with their elected officials and educate them about the ineffectiveness of mandatory spay/neuter and breed-specific ordinances. AKC GR will provide further updates when this issue is back before the city council.

FL, Lee County — The Lee County Board of Commissioners enacted significant ¬†changes to the county animal control code including breeder licensing, warrantless inspections, mandatory spay/neuter and restrictions on keeping dogs outside (even in fenced yards). AKC GR and local fanciers strongly opposed this burdensome and ineffective measure. The commission has directed the animal control director to meet with interested stakeholders, including breeders to discuss possible modification prior to the May 1st effective date.

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 scheduled to consider the measures on April 30. Read more about these four measures and how you can help.

NY, Suffolk County — A measure under consideration by the Suffolk County Legislature would, as introduced, create 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 include 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. A task force amendment currently under consideration would change the age of sale of a puppy to 8 weeks, modify size requirements for primary enclosures, ¬†and prohibit pet dealers from obtaining animals from a breeder that has been cited for certain USDA violations. The amendment 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 will be discussed at a hearing on April 29, and likely considered by the Legislature on May 13.

WA, Yakima — 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.