Local Issues: City, County, and Metropolitan

The AKC Government Relations Department 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, Whittier — The Whittier City Council is expected to consider adopting the Los Angeles County Code (which includes mandatory spay/neuter provisions) in August. AKC GR sent a letter of opposition when the issue was first raised a few months ago and local dog owners joined the California Federation of Dog Clubs in opposing the measure. Due to the outcry the initial reading was deferred. AKC GR will provide updates to local fanciers and breeders as specific information becomes available.

CT, Stamford — A committee of Stamford’s Board of Representatives is considering changes to Chapter 111 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, which currently deals with “Dogs and Other Animals”. The changes include use of the term “guardian” to describe the relationship between dogs and their owners and require breeders to acquire breeder permits. The committee currently developing the changes is expected to make more changes to the proposal. The American Kennel Club opposes portions of the ordinance as originally written. All dog owners in Stamford are encouraged to contact the members of the Legislative and Rules Committee to express their concerns with the proposal and demonstrate the positive impacts they make as responsible breeders. Read more about the Stamford proposal.

FL, Palm Beach County — The Palm Beach County Commissioners adopted changes to their animal control ordinance that place additional restrictions on the ownership of intact animals and hobby breeders, reduce the age for dogs affected by the limit law from 8 months to 4 months, prohibit off-leash training and increase fees. AKC GR alerted local fanciers and responsible dog owners and sent a letter to the commission opposing these changes.

MO, Kansas City — Officials are seeking public input on their animal laws and suggestions for changes. Current law includes breed-specific policies, ownership limits, and hobby kennel licensing and inspections, among other provisions. This is an excellent opportunity for residents and those who participate in shows in Kansas City to provide constructive suggestions for changes to the law. Read more about this issue, and visit www.kcmomentum.org to submit a comment.

NM, Taos County — The Taos County Board of Commissioners heard testimony on proposed changes to the animal control code including mandatory spay/neuter provisions, burdensome licensing fees, leash requirements that could deem a dog to be “at-large” even when on its own property, and revisions to the limit law. The Commissioners have deferred action on this item and AKC GR encourages local responsible dog owners who would like to assist in continuing to educate the commissioners about these important issues to please contact the Government Relations Department.

NY, Hempstead — The Hempstead Town Board has proposed a measure that would require pet stores to comply with numerous requirements, including mandating the sterilization of all dogs prior to sale. “Pet stores” would include not just retail establishments, but also anyone who meets the definition of “pet dealer”, which is anyone who “offers for adoption” more than 6 animals a year (rescues and shelters are excluded), and all breeders who sell at least 9 animals a year that have been raised on their premises. This low threshold could include many who breed and sell just one litter. Those who meet this definition would be subject to many new requirements, including having 100 square feet of retail space for each dog sold and prohibitions on selling a dog that has not been sterilized. All who meet the definition must also post a $10,000 bond with the Town Clerk. AKC GR is working closely with local dog owners and sellers to address the many concerns with this proposal, which could be considered on September 8.

NC, Iredell County — A public hearing is scheduled for August 25 to discuss several changes to the county’s animal control laws; including a broad categorization of all dogs as solely companion animals; requirements on ear cropping, tail docking and dewclaw removal; and tethering and outdoor shelter regulations. It also would require that all outdoor enclosures must have a minimum of 100 square feet of space, plus an additional 5 square feet for each pound the dog weighs over 25 pounds, regardless of the amount of time the dog spends outside. Read more about this issue and how to contact the county about this proposal.

NY, Ulster County — The Ulster County Legislature introduced a proposal that would have regulated those who sell more than 9 dogs or 2 litters of dogs in a year. Those meeting this definition would be subject to licensing and inspections. The inspections could have been carried out by local animal welfare organizations. The proposal also included several kennel requirements that were not in the best interest of dogs and would have been virtually impossible to enforce. The AKC issued legislative alerts and sent letters of concern to the legislature, and supported the efforts of local clubs and hobby breeders who worked to educate legislators. The proposal has been tabled and the local breeders have been invited to meet with the legislature to develop more effective solutions. AKC will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide more information when it becomes available.

NV, Washoe County — The Washoe County Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance at their June 9th meeting which would have provided for licensing of commercial breeders defined as anyone who whelps three or more litters per year. The Commissioners referred the proposal for additional study. AKC GR encourages local responsible dog owners who would like to assist in continuing to educate the commissioners about these important issues to please contact the Government Relations Department.

TN, Germantown — The Germantown Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance that defines “proper shelter” and requires any animal that is impounded two times in a twelve month period or five times over any time period to be spayed or neutered at the owner’s expense prior to release.