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, Carpinteria — The Carpinteria City Council rejected a proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. AKC GR did not find out about the issue until after it had passed 5-0 on the initial vote. AKC GR responded with a letter and an alert to local fanciers. The California Federation of Dog Clubs reached out to local clubs in the area and joined in opposing the measure. These hardworking constituents were able to convince the city council members that mandatory spay/neuter was an inefficient and burdensome solution to the city’s animal control issues.

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.

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. 

NC, Iredell County — Iredell County is considering multiple changes to its animal control code. Many concerns with the initial draft, including unreasonable space requirements for outdoor enclosures, have been addressed. Some concerns remain, however, including an unclear definition of companion animal that could impact those who keep dogs that may be used, but are not currently used for hunting, working, or another specific service. Those who keep dogs not meeting the definition will be required to have tail docking done only by a licensed veterinarian and comply with other requirements. AKC continues to closely monitor this proposal.

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.

NY, Ulster County — The Ulster County Legislature is considering a proposal that will 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 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 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. The proposal has recently been amended and will likely be considered in committee in November. AKC will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide more information when it becomes available.

WV, Jefferson County — A public hearing was held on October 15 on a proposed ordinance that, among other provisions, would establish minimum outdoor enclosure sizes for dogs and limit tethering to 16 hours in any 24 hour period. It would require 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. It is unclear what alternate outdoor confinement options would be legal for the remaining 8 hours per day. This ordinance, including possible additional restrictions, could be voted on at the October 29 council meeting.