Under the guise of updating Albuquerque's animal control ordinance to help reduce euthanasia rates...
Under the guise of updating Albuquerque's animal control ordinance to help reduce euthanasia rates at local animal shelters, City Councilor Sally Mayer has instead proposed sweeping changes that would drastically limit fanciers' ability to breed and own dogs, while doing little to address the city's problems with irresponsible ownership. The proposal is currently set for a final vote at the August 15th city council meeting. Fanciers are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will be held in the Council Chambers on the basement level of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center building at One Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque. The meeting beings at 5pm.
The proposal, known as the HEART ordinance (Humane and Ethical Animal Regulations and Treatment), contains draconian regulations, oppressive fees, and allusions to changing the status of animals as more than property. Worse, the measure was put forth based on "findings" that were established without any studies being conducted and without any input from responsible dog owners and breeders.
The measure's restrictive provisions include:
- An annual $50 permit for each unaltered dog or cat over six months old.
- A litter permit, which expires six months after the date of issue. The cost of this permit has not yet been established. Breeders would be limited to 2 litters per year.
- A limit of six animals per household (four of the same species) unless residents purchase a $50 multiple companion animal site permit.
- Requirements that owners microchip or tattoo their dogs and cats.
- Prohibiting the crating or tethering of dogs for more than 1 hour per day.
In applying for any permit, dog owners would be forced to comply with a long list of provisions, including submitting to property and record-keeping inspections.
Violations of the proposed ordinance could result in $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs, and we believe that dog owners should be responsible for their animals. We further encourage pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental breedings resulting in unwanted puppies. However, we believe that the key to solving pet population concerns lies not in creating overly-restrictive breeding regulations, but rather in educating the public about responsible dog ownership and responsible breeding practices. Strong enforcement of leash laws would also help prevent accidental breedings and lost dogs – both of which contribute to animal population concerns. Furthermore, if pet population is indeed a concern for the City of Albuquerque, then an objective study group should be formed to address this issue with input from members of various animal organizations, including purebred dog breeders.
It is critical that local fanciers immediately contact Albuquerque's city officials and convey their strong opposition to this ordinance. Area purebred dog owners, including members of the Rio Grande Kennel Club, are working to oppose the ordinance and to support fair and reasonable animal control legislation that does not penalize responsible owners and breeders. However, more help is urgently needed!
What You Can Do:
AKC encourages dog owners to contact their city council member and express your opposition. It is extremely important that council members hear from their constituents!
For more information, contact:
Rio Grande Kennel Club
AKC's Canine Legislation department