Local/Other: Issues at the City, County, and Metropolitan Levels, and in U.S. Territories

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:

Florida, Palm Beach County – On September 27, the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance that, among other provisions, bans approval of additional “pet dealers”, which as defined, could include certain individuals who sell even a single pet.

Florida, Pinellas County – The Board of County Commissioners will consider changes to the county animal ordinance at its October 11 meeting. Provisions include defining a person who sells one litter of cats or dogs per year as “pet dealer” and requiring compliance with kennel and breeder permitting requirements, zoning, and inspections. The proposal also seeks to strike a section of existing law which provides that when an animal is confined outdoors under the direct supervision of a responsible person at events such as dog or cat shows or field trials, the responsible person shall ensure sufficient water is provided to the animal in order to maintain normal hydration for the species of animal. This amendment would make it both a cruelty and neglect violation for a carefully supervised animal to be without water for any time period during an outdoor event, such as when temporarily crated ringside or confined for grooming.

Louisiana, Ouachita Parish – Local fanciers have reported that the Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter Citizens’ Advisory Committee is likely to recommend a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance to the Parish’s Police Jury. The AKC and a multitude of organizations oppose mandatory spay/neuter.  AKC GR continues to work with local fanciers in opposition to this issue.

New Jersey, Fair Lawn – In August, the Fair Lawn Borough Council considered a proposal to ban the retail sale of pets from regulated breeders and to promote only the sale of pets sourced from shelter or rescue distributors. AKC GR wrote a letter of opposition and representatives of the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs appeared in opposition to the proposal, which was tabled. AKC GR and its state federation continue to work with Fair Lawn officials to ensure that consumer choice is protected.

New Mexico – Santa Fe County is considering a proposal that would require licensing and inspections for all breeders, and require the sterilization of a dog on a first impoundment unless the dog has participated in an approved event within the past 6 months. It also requires that a dog always be in a fenced in area or enclosure on private property and does not allow for voice control or tethering on an owner’s private property at any time. It also requires a dog to always be on a leash when off the owner’s property. It is unclear how this would impact AKC companion events or dog training classes. A first hearing was held in September, and the second public hearing is scheduled for October 11. Read more about the proposal and how you can help.

North Carolina, Moore County The Moore County Animal Advisory Commission has proposed several changes to its animal control laws, including mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs in the county unless the owner possesses an intact animal permit. The AKC is assisting local fanciers in providing more effective alternatives.

Oklahoma, Tulsa The City of Tulsa is expected to soon consider more changes to its already extensive animal control laws. Current law already limits animal ownership, with vague exceptions for those who possess a hobbyist permit. AKC GR is working with local club members to communicate with city leadership and provide more positive alternatives to restrictive ordinance proposals.

Tennessee, Montgomery County The Montgomery County council is considering extensive changes to the county animal control ordinance. Among these are pet licensing with higher fees for unaltered dogs, breeder licensing, and restrictions on kenneling and tethering. The proposal remains in committee pending revisions.