AKC Taking Command - a publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
July 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 voted 5-3 to direct staff to draft a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for consideration. AKC GR sent a letter of opposition and alerted local fanciers, breeders and clubs to this proposal. AKC GR continues to work closely with local fanciers and dog owners and we thank the many people who attended the hearing and are working to educate the council and address concerns.

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 modifications. Local fanciers are working with staff to finalize revisions for commission approval.

FL, Miami-Dade County — The Miami-Dade County Commission is considering an expansion of their strict breeder regulations ordinances. AKC GR has raised objections to the existing law as well as the proposed changes which include warrantless inspections. AKC GR is working with local fanciers to educate the commission about responsible breeding practices and to help them find more effective solutions to their animal control issues.

IN, Kokomo — Local animal advocates are asking the Common Council to develop a mandatory spay/neuter policy. It is believed this policy will be based on a neighboring county’s ordinance, which also includes animal ownership limits and mandatory licensing for any breeder. AKC GR is working with its state federation and local clubs and breeders to encourage the council to consider other options to address their concerns.

LA, Lafourche Parish — In response to the events in Terrebonne Parish, a Lafourche Parish councilman publicly discussed introducing breed-specific restrictions. AKC GR and several concerned residents contacted the council, which instead considered breed-neutral updates to the Parish’s dangerous dog ordinances. That proposal ultimately lacked sufficient support to pass. Recent media reports have indicated that the council will again consider dangerous dog legislation at its August 12, 2014 meeting. Concerned residents are encouraged to contact members of the Lafourche Parish Council and ask them to ensure that Lafourche remains a breed-neutral jurisdiction.

LA, Terrebonne Parish — An incident in the City of Houma prompted the Terrebonne Parish Council to consider stronger dangerous dog laws. Despite some public urging for breed-specific legislation, AKC GR reached out to the Parish Council and recommended that it continue to feature breed-neutral policies. The Parish Council passed stronger breed-neutral laws on July 9, 2014.

NY, Nassau County — The Nassau County Legislature is seeking to regulate “pet dealers.” While much of the proposal is virtually identical to the language recently adopted by Suffolk County (which included a number of amendments requested by the AKC and local clubs), AKC GR 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 Rules Committee considered the bill on June 30, but no further action has been taken.

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 will go into effect in late October.

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.

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, but no further action has been taken. AKC continues to monitor this proposal.