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.

September 2014 (for previous higlights, click here)

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.

GA, Augusta/Richmond County — Amendments to the city/county animal control ordinance, including mandatory spay/neuter for all dogs over 6 months of age not being shown or used for hunting, are expected to be considered at the Augusta Public Safety Committee meeting on September 29. Numerous additional provisions of concern appear in the draft version of the proposal. A final version is not available at this time. Concerned dog owners are encouraged to contact county commissioners and ask that the proposal be tabled until local fanciers, breeders, kennel club members and the Georgia federation provide input and recommendations on the measure.

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.

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 per 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.

NY, Westchester County — The Westchester County Legislature is seeking to regulate pet dealers in response to the state legislation passed in 2013 allowing local governments to establish their own laws on pet dealers, so long as they were not less strict than state statutes.  Currently, the legislature is discussing a model ordinance put forward by ASPCA that would require local licensing for those who meet the definition of pet dealers (it is presumed this would be in addition to state licensing), as well as inspections.  The licensing program and inspections could either be handled by the local government, or contracted out to a local organization. The model also includes requirements for specific temperature ranges for kennels and a prohibition on stacked crates of dogs older than 12 weeks of age.  AKC GR is closely monitoring this legislation.    

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 continues to closely monitor this proposal and work with the Ohio federation to address concerns.

TN, Chattanooga — The Chattanooga Animal Control Board has proposed a restrictive animal ordinance that would redefine “kennel” under city code and require difficult-to-obtain $300 annual “kennel” and “dealer" permits. Permit holders would be required to allow unlimited inspections of private homes where animals are allowed access and of computers where animal records are kept. Home-based hobby breeders would not be allowed to offer for sale the offspring of more than two litters of puppies or kittens per year.  Any person who sells, exchanges, or gives away a cat or dog would be required to provide documentation that the animal had received a specific list of vaccinations.  No exceptions would be provided for a pet owner advised by a veterinarian to provide an alternate vaccination protocol.  The city council was scheduled to vote on the proposed ordinance on September 16, but the measure was deleted from the agenda. The proposal could be considered at any city council meeting. Click here to view upcoming meeting agendas, to check for revisions, and to view future city council meeting information as it is posted.  Read more about the proposal and what you can do to oppose it.