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, Santa Paula - The Santa Paula City Council will vote on a problematic breeder permit and mandatory spay/neuter proposal on December 21st. AKC GR is working with local kennel clubs to educate city council members about the ineffectiveness of such ordinances.

CT, Stamford - A committee of Stamford’s Board of Representatives is considering proposed changes to the city’s animal ordinances, including the establishment of breeder permits. While several changes have already been made at the request of AKC, local clubs and constituents, a revised proposal would still create breeder permits. AKC continues to urge city residents to contact their representatives to express their concerns with the proposal. The committee will accept public comment regarding the proposal at a meeting in January. Read more about the Stamford proposal.

FL, Sarasota - The Sarasota City Council is working on rewriting the city’s animal control code. A draft is not yet finalized, but recent proposals have included provisions to define and restrict hobby breeders. Concerned Sarasota dog owners are encouraged to contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720 for information about how to get involved on this important issue.

GA, Augusta - A proposed ordinance under consideration by the Augusta/Richmond County Council would establish problematic changes to the county’s animal control law, including reducing the holding period for impounded animals from five to three business days; terminating the requirement that Animal Services attempt to contact the owner of an impounded animal; and requiring all impounded animals to be sterilized. AKC, the Georgia federation and local constituents have shared their concerns with members of the Public Health Committee, who requested changes to the ordinance. The measure could be considered at the January 2015 meeting.

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.

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 all breeders who sell at least 9 animals a year - even those 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 unannounced inspections and a requirement that their “pet store” be considered a public meeting space. AKC is working closely with local officials to address concerns with this proposal. Read more about this proposal. 

NY, Montgomery County - The Montgomery County Legislature is expected to again propose a measure in January that would regulate breeders and impose various care and conditions requirements. While no draft is available at this time, the AKC is reaching out to the legislature to encourage them to not proceed with any proposal that would not be in the best interest of dogs or responsible breeders.

NY, Ulster County — The Ulster County Legislature proposed a measure that will regulate 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 be carried out by local animal welfare organizations. Many provisions, including certain care requirements that were not in the best interest of dogs and would have been virtually impossible to enforce, have been removed. The AKC issued legislative alerts and sent letters of concern to the legislature, and supported the efforts of local clubs and hobby breeders who are continuing to work with legislators to address concerns. The legislature has tabled the bill, but it is expected to return. AKC will continue to closely monitor this legislation and work with local fanciers and breeders on this issue.

VA, Fairfax County - The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has passed a law restricting tethering in the county to no more than one hour cumulatively per day. The AKC supported the efforts of the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders, who worked tirelessly to educate the board on the numerous concerns with this proposal, including its impact on groomers, AKC events, veterinarians, and others who may need to humanely tether an animal. The board agreed to an amendment to exempt cases in which the animal is under the direct supervision and control of its owner or custodian.

WV, Jefferson County - The county council unanimously approved an ordinance that, among other provisions, establishes minimum outdoor enclosure sizes for dogs and limits tethering to 16 hours in any 24 hour period. It requires that dogs confined outdoors for more than 16 hours a day must be provided with “adequate space”, defined as a fenced permanent outdoor enclosure of no less than 100 square feet for one or two dogs 35 pounds and under; 100 square feet for each dog 35-60 pounds; 150 square feet for each dog 60-100 pounds; and 250 square feet each dog 100 pounds or greater. A motion was approved to task the County Administrator with researching whether an ordinance needs to be developed to set the fees for Commercial Breeding Licenses.