California State Bill Would Prohibit Ear Cropping

As many fanciers are now aware, officials in West Hollywood, California recently proposed a city...

As many fanciers are now aware, officials in West Hollywood, California recently proposed a city ordinance that would ban ear cropping, tail docking and other non-therapeutic measures. AKC has been actively working with California fanciers and parent clubs to oppose the ordinance. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) shared AKC’s concern over the measure because they believe it to be in violation of the state’s Veterinary Medical Practice Act. The Act clearly states that local governments cannot enact legislation that is already regulated by a state agency, as is the case with veterinary medicine. Questions were raised as to whether passage of West Hollywood’s proposal could result in legal challenges against the city.

In response to this situation, Rep. Paul Koretz, whose district includes West Hollywood, has this week introduced AB418, a state bill to ban ear cropping. Such legislation, if allowed to pass, would secure a ban on ear cropping in West Hollywood—and indeed all over the state—but would not be considered a violation of the Practice Act.

Fanciers in California and nationwide fought tirelessly last summer to defeat a similar ear cropping bill. AB418 differs from that bill in that it bans ear cropping only. It further addresses many of the fancy’s 2004 concerns in that it does not prohibit showing, owning, selling, buying or adopting a dog with cropped ears. This language was almost certainly included in order to reduce opposition to the bill. However, it does not change the fact that AB418 sets a dangerous negative precedent by allowing the government to slowly have more and more control over how responsible owners keep and enjoy their dogs. This slippery slope may only address ear cropping today, but tail docking, spaying and neutering, and a host of other issues will not be far behind. Owners, in close consultation with their veterinarians, should make informed decisions about their pets’ health care—not the government.

AB418 will not be referred to committee for approximately one more month. AKC will post an update on this issue at that time. Until then, concerned fanciers should contact their own state representatives and urge them to oppose the measure. To find out who represents you in the California legislature, click here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. Your voice is especially important if one of your representatives sits on either the Assembly Committee on Public Safety or the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, as AB418 will likely be referred to one or both. Committee membership is listed below.

It is critical that legislators hear from their constituents, so please share this alert with your fellow dog owners. AKC will post updates as soon as they become available.

Assembly Committee on Public Safety
Asm. Mark Leno (D) [Chair]
Asm. Jay La Suer (R) [Vice Chair]
Asm. Rebecca Cohn (D)
Asm. Mervyn Dymally (D)
Asm. Jackie Goldberg (D)
Asm. Ira Ruskin (D)
Asm. Tod Spitzer (R)

Assembly Committee on Agriculture
Asm. Barbara Matthews (D) [Chair]
Asm. Bill Maze (R) [Vice Chair]
Asm. Patty Berg (D)
Asm. Sam Blakeslee (R)
Asm. Dave Cogdill (R)
Asm. Nicole Parra (D)
Asm. Simon Salinas (D)
Asm. Juan Vargas (D)