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:

AZ, Dewey-Humboldt - The Dewey-Humboldt Town Council is considering several changes to the town’s animal control laws. These changes include allowing animal control to sell any animal not claimed from the shelter within 72 hours and allowing them to seize any animal if it is perceived that the owner is in violation of any portion of the animal control laws. The proposal also expands the definition of dangerous dog to include any dog that has bitten someone unprovoked even if the dog does not actually cause any injury or is a young puppy that nips someone. AKC GR and local clubs are working to communicate concerns to the council.

CA, Santa Paula - The Santa Paula City Council has approved an ordinance that requires breeder permits, limits the number of litters that can be bred and the stud services performed to one per household per year, and establishes mandatory spay/neuter for dogs with limited exceptions. AKC GR sent letters opposing the measure and local clubs worked to educate council members.

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 new revised proposal would still create breeder permits. AKC continues to urge city residents to contact their representatives to express their concerns with the proposal. Read more about the Stamford proposal.

FL, Sarasota - The Sarasota City Council approved an ordinance on January 24 that includes provisions to define and restrict hobby breeders. Concerned Sarasota dog owners and AKC GR worked to educate local legislators about the ineffectiveness of these policies.

GA, Augusta - The Augusta/Richmond County Council enacted changes to the county’s animal control law on February 16. Responsible dog owners throughout the community and state worked with council members to remove a problematic section that would have required a dog impounded for any reason to be sterilized before being released to its owner.

ID, Bonneville County - A proposal currently pending with the Bonneville County Commissioners seeks to impose animal possession limits in unincorporated parts of the county based on zoning district. The proposal also includes a “grandfather” provision that allows all dogs currently in the county to remain, but requires owners to reduce the number of animals maintained on a premises to new limit levels when current animals become deceased or are sold.

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.

PA, Philadelphia – The Standing Committee on Licenses and Inspections of the Philadelphia City Council currently has cognizance of Bill 160013, which would restrict pet retailers from selling dogs or cats unless such animals are sourced from shelters, rescues, or similar groups. The committee is expected to take up the proposal at an upcoming committee meeting. AKC GR will provide updates on this proposal as developments warrant.

TX, Austin - A committee of the Austin City Council recently heard testimony on the subject of whether mandatory spay/neuter should be implemented in the city. Due to the city’s 94% live release rate, as well the unintended consequences often found in localities that have implemented mandatory spay/neuter, the local animal control officer joins AKC in opposition to requiring sterilization of animals in Austin. The Council Committee has requested more information regarding mandatory spay/neuter, and will review the information at a future meeting. AKC GR will provide updates on Austin as developments warrant.

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.