Government Relations

Local Legislation

The American Kennel Club is dedicated to protecting the rights of all dog owners, promoting responsible dog care and ensuring that laws governing dog ownership and breeding in local communities are reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory.  AKC  works in cooperation with members of local AKC clubs and state federations to assist on issues that impact dog ownership in local communities. Examples of common local issues include pet limits, mandatory spay/neuter proposals, breeder licensing/regulations, leash and confinement laws, dangerous dog laws and zoning laws.

AKC GR relies on local residents to advise us when laws that impact dog owners are proposed on the county and city level. Contact doglaw@akc.org to let us know when dog-related issues are discussed or new measures are proposed in your community.

August 2014

AL, Montgomery — The Montgomery City Council voted to approve amendments to the city animal control ordinance that establish new definitions, enact new dangerous animal provisions, redefine the powers of animal control officers, and require a resident of the city who owns five or more dogs or cats or who breeds even a single litter to obtain a permit.  AKC GR issued a legislative alert and sent a letter of concern to city council members.

CA, Pasadena — The Pasadena City Council voted 5-3 to direct staff to draft a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for consideration. AKC GR sent a letter of opposition and alerted local fanciers, breeders and clubs to this proposal. AKC GR continues to work closely with local fanciers and dog owners and we thank the many people who attended the hearing and are working to educate the council and address concerns.

FL, Lee County — The Lee County Board of Commissioners enacted significant changes to the county animal control code including breeder licensing, warrantless inspections, mandatory spay/neuter and restrictions on keeping dogs outside (even in fenced yards). AKC GR and local fanciers strongly opposed this burdensome and ineffective measure. The commission has directed the animal control director to meet with interested stakeholders, including breeders, to discuss possible modifications. Local fanciers are working with staff to finalize revisions for commission approval.

FL, Miami-Dade County — The Miami-Dade County Commission is considering an expansion of their strict breeder regulations ordinances. AKC GR has expressed concerns with the existing law as well as the proposed changes which include warrantless inspections. AKC GR is working with local fanciers to educate the commission about responsible breeding practices and to help them find more effective solutions to their animal control issues.

IN, Kokomo — The Kokomo City Council has given initial approval to a new dangerous/vicious dog law. Owners of dogs declared “potentially dangerous” would be required to obtain at least $50,000 of liability insurance. A final vote is expected at the September 8 council meeting. AKC GR is currently reviewing the proposal, and will continue to work with local breeders, clubs, and AKC’s Indiana federation on this and other animal issues being discussed by the city.

LA, Lafourche Parish — In response to a recent attack in neighboring Terrebonne Parish earlier this year, Lafourche Parish Councilman John Arnold publicly discussed introducing breed-specific restrictions. AKC GR and several concerned residents contacted the council, which instead considered breed-neutral updates to the Parish’s dangerous dog ordinances. That proposal ultimately lacked sufficient support to pass. Councilman Arnold recently re-introduced similar breed-neutral amendments to the Parish’s dangerous dog ordinance, which will likely be considered at the Council’s August 26th meeting.  AKC is concerned that, as worded, the proposal can negatively impact the ability of dogs engaged in accepted field and hunting practices. 

NY, Nassau County — The Nassau County Legislature passed a law on August 4 that would regulate those in the county who meet the state definition of “pet dealers” (those who sell or offer to sell 9 or more dogs a year. Those who raise 25 dogs or fewer in a year at their residence are exempt).  Much of the proposal is virtually identical to the language recently adopted by Suffolk County (which included a number of amendments requested by the AKC and local clubs).  AKC GR also requested an amendment that was approved by the county to allow dogs to be sold at 8 weeks of age.  As introduced, the bill would have prohibited any sales until the puppy was 14 weeks old.

NY, New York City — The New York City Council Committee on Health is considering four measures that would redefine “pet store” to mean anyone who sells even one dog to the general public for a profit.  Introduction 136 would further require anyone who meets this definition to have animals sterilized prior to transfer to the new owner. Dogs and cats must be 8 weeks old prior to sterilization. Exemptions from sterilization would require a letter from a veterinarian stating the animal cannot be sterilized at that time. This letter only applies for 4 months. Introduction 55 would also create many new requirements for “pet shops”, including prohibiting them from obtaining dogs from anyone who has an ownership interest in one female and sells or offers to sell 50 dogs/year, or from anyone who has an ownership interest in 20 female dogs. The measure would also establish many other requirements, including regular site visits from a veterinarian. The AKC opposes this new definition of pet store that is contained in all four measures, and further opposes the mandatory sterilization of dogs being sold in the city. The committee has tabled these measures, but they could come back later in the year. Read more about these measures and what you can do to oppose them.

OH, Cincinnati — A proposal has been introduced by the Cincinnati City Council that would reinstate breed-specific restrictions and requirements.  The city had breed-specific policies for many years, but repealed them in 2012.  In addition, the proposal would require that all dogs, regardless of breed, be kept on a chain link leash anytime the dog is off the owner’s property — including when a dog is training or participating in shows or other competitive events.  No dog leashes longer than 6 feet in length would be permitted.  AKC GR will closely monitor this proposal and work with the Ohio federation to address concerns.  The proposal could be considered in early September.

TX, Amarillo — In an effort to address both animal health and shelter population issues in Amarillo, the city’s Animal Management and Welfare Board recently voted to recommend an ordinance to the city council mandating microchipping of all pets.  Media reports also indicate the board is currently drafting a pet registration program that would also require vaccinations.  AKC GR is monitoring developments in Amarillo and will report when the City Council takes any recommendations under formal consideration.