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.

October 2014 (for previous higlights, click here)

CA, Pasadena — The Pasadena City Council voted 5-3 to approve the first reading of an ordinance which will institute breeder restrictions and mandatory spay/neuter. This issue began as a proposed breed ban, then breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter and emerged in final form as a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance affecting all dogs. AKC GR has issued several alerts, written letters to the Pasadena City Council and staff, participated in conference calls with elected leaders and local fanciers, and is monitoring the agenda for a second reading.

CO, Aurora — The City of Aurora has put its long-standing breed ban on the ballot for the November 4 elections. Residents will have the opportunity to decide whether to repeal the ban that has resulted in the impoundment and euthanization of many dogs because they are deemed to be a “pit” bull”. AKC and its Colorado federation are urging residents to vote “yes” on Question 2D. Read more about the ballot measure.

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 — The Augusta/Richmond Commission returned to committee with a request for changes to a proposed ordinance that would require dogs six months and older to be surgically sterilized unless the owner obtains an unaltered animal permit. “Registered” service dogs, “actively competitive” show or hunting dogs, and dogs with serious health conditions would be exempt.  Additional problematic provisions would empower animal services personnel to seize and destroy an animal believed to be “diseased” or “crippled” with no notification to the owner, require enclosures of 100 square feet per dog, and require owners to provide veterinary care for every minor injury or illness. As originally written, the proposal would require a greater level of health care for animals than is required for children.

IN, Tippecanoe County — The Tippecanoe County Commission has proposed a rewrite of the county’s animal control code.  Among new provisions is a mandatory spay/neuter requirement for all dogs at least 6 months of age, unless the owner purchases a breeder permit.  The permit must be renewed annually and allows for one litter to be bred per year.  On October 20, the commission agreed to temporarily table the ordinance and appoint a task force.  AKC continues to work with local kennel clubs and its Indiana federation in opposition to the mandatory spay/neuter portion of the proposal. 

NV, Washoe County — The Washoe County Board of Commissioners has held multiple public hearings regarding changes to the county’s animal control code. A revised draft is expected to come before the commission after January 1, 2015. Proposed changes include breeder licensing, dangerous dog updates, changing nuisance regulations and possible regulation of retail sales. Some of the changes will bring the county into compliance with new state laws but in some cases definitions are changed or expanded. AKC GR continues to closely monitor these hearings, and has issued a legislative alert to local clubs and parent clubs. 

NYNumerous counties are seeking to regulate “pet dealers” after a measure was signed by the governor in 2013 that allows local governments to create their own regulations.  A “pet dealer” is defined in New York as a person who sells more than 9 dogs in a year, unless those dogs are bred and raised on someone’s residential premises.  If the dogs are raised on a person’s premises, then they are a pet dealer when they sell 25 or more dogs/year.  AKC GR worked closely with local clubs and the Suffolk County Legislature in April 2014 to significantly amend their proposal in an effort to protect the rights of breeders and fanciers as much as possible.  This version has been used as the basis for proposals in Nassau, Westchester, and most recently Rockland Counties.  AKC GR has been closely monitoring this trend, notifying local kennel clubs when a proposal arises, and working with local clubs and fanciers to provide talking points for those interested in attending county meetings.  AKC GR has also sent letters to county legislatures where proposals are introduced with suggested amendments to further improve the proposals and protect the rights of responsible breeders and hobbyists. 

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 proposal could be considered at any city council meeting. Click here to view upcoming meeting agendas, to check for revisions, and to view city council meeting information as it is posted.

WI, Madison — Four proposals have been introduced by the Madison City Council to address at-large and dangerous dogs. Among the proposals are regulations for “home-based” breeders and the possibility for mandatory sterilization of any dog without exception that has caused injury (including a bite of any severity), even on the owner’s property. “Home-based” breeders could not breed more than one litter per year unless they are “AKC sanctioned” and have participated in an AKC conformation show within the past year. The AKC is working with its Wisconsin federation to address concerns with these proposals. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information on the proposals and how you can help.