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:

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, 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.

IN, Anderson — The City of Anderson has given initial approval to a mandatory spay/neuter law. While a new draft is currently being written, the AKC understands that it will likely include exemptions for “show dogs” and “hunting dogs”, but it is unclear how these terms will be defined or proved. AKC is working with the Indiana Purebred Dog Alliance to communicate concerns to the city council. A final vote is expected on December 10.

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 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 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, Ulster County — The Ulster County Legislature is considering a proposal 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. Further amendments are expected before the Law Enforcement and Public Safety Committee meets on November 30. The AKC has 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. AKC will continue to closely monitor this legislation and work with local fanciers and breeders on this issue.

NC, Pineville – The Pineville City Council is considering changes to their dangerous dog law that would restrict certain breeds of dogs by establishing specific rules governing how those animals are housed. The city heard from concerned residents at their October 13th meeting. AKC GR sent a letter opposing breed-specific ordinances and offering to help the city draft a breed neutral ordinance. AKC GR will continue to monitor this issue as it progresses.

VA, Fairfax County – The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has passed a law restricting tethering in the county to no more than 1 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.