Local Issues: July 2015

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:

AL, Homewood — A recent news report indicates that the city of Homewood may consider breed specific legislation targeting “pit bulls”.  AKC GR will provide updates as information becomes available.

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.

GA, Savannah — Proposed changes to the Savannah animal ordinance are pending in Savannah. Among many problematic provisions, this proposal would require all cats and dogs six months and older to be spayed or neutered with certain exemptions for competition, hunting, and herding dogs. Licensing would be required for broadly-defined “commercial pet animal facilities”, which would include individuals who sell more than one litter or three adult animals per year  The proposed ordinance would require all animals redeemed from animal control to be spayed/neutered prior to release, require 100-foot fence setbacks for persons with more than three dogs or cats over the age of 12 weeks, and allow only boarding kennels to keep more than six animals (including cats, dogs, birds, fish, livestock, etc.). It would empower animal control officers and “appointees” to enter private property without a warrant to capture an animal based on any violation.  A dog on its owner’s property, but outside an enclosure, would be considered “at large” and subject to confiscation.  Failure to provide “proper mental stimulus” to an animal would be a crime. Penalties for violations would include fines of up to $1000 and imprisonment for up to 30 days. 

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 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 state definition of “pet dealer”, which is anyone who raises more than 25 dogs a year on their property or sells 9 dogs a year that they did not raise themselves.  Those who meet this definition would be subject to many other new regulations as well, including having 100 square feet of retail space for each dog sold and not selling a dog that has not been sterilized.  The measure is expected to be considered by the board soon.

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 has passed on second reading a proposed ordinance that would require 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. A final vote is scheduled for July 27.