AKC Taking Command - a publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
June 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, Jurupa Valley — The Jurupa Valley City Council did not advance a breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter proposal which would have required the sterilization of all “pit bulls.” There was an exemption for dogs registered with the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. AKC GR sent a letter opposing breed-specific legislation to the city council.

NY, Nassau County
— The Nassau City Council is seeking to regulate “pet dealers.” While much of the proposal is virtually identical to the language recently adopted by Suffolk County (see below), the AKC is expressing concerns over several provisions. The concerns include preventing a dog from being sold, traded or given away prior to 14 weeks of age and an assumption that all “pet dealers” are USDA licensed. The AKC is also requesting an appeals process for those accused of violating the care standards outlined in the measure. The bill is expected to be considered by the county on June 30.

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. Read more about these four measures and how you can help
NY, Suffolk County — A measure considered 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 was approved by the Legislature with the changes requested by the AKC and local clubs and is pending action by the County Executive.

PA, PhiladelphiaBill 140080 as introduced by the Philadelphia City Council would have prohibited keeping a dog outside (except for brief exercise) when the temperature is below 32 or above 80 degrees. The AKC expressed concerns with this measure, as it did not account for certain breeds that may safely be outdoors in temperatures outside this range, and it did not allow for dogs to be kept outdoors when they had proper protection from the elements. The measure was amended to state that a dog may not be left outdoors when an extreme heat or cold weather emergency has been declared by the city unless the dog has access to a structure that is of a suitable size and will protect the dog from the elements. The dog must also have access to clean water and the structure and surrounding area must be free from excessive dirt, trash, and waste. The bill was signed on June 4 and takes effect immediately.

PA, PhiladelphiaBill 140381 would effectively prohibit pet stores from selling any dog that did not come from a shelter or an animal care facility or kennel operated by a governmental entity. The AKC has expressed concerns with this measure, which is pending in the Committee on Licenses and Inspections.

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.

WI, Milwaukee — The Milwaukee 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 AKC and its state federation sent letters of concern to the council. The Council’s Committee on Public Safety discussed the measure on May 22. AKC continues to monitor this proposal.