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.

November/December 2014 (for previous highlights, click here)

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, 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.

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. A sub-committee has been named to review the proposed ordinance.

IN, Tippecanoe County — Tippecanoe County has given initial approval to several changes to the county animal control ordinance. At the request of many local breeders and fanciers, the proposal was amended to remove a provision that would have required a breeder permit for all who own an intact dog. The proposal now requires sterilization of any animal found in violation of the county code (including at-large dogs, barking dogs, etc.), unless the owner pays a $250 fine. Owners found in violation at least three times would not be exempt from the sterilization requirement. The county is expected to vote on the amended measure on December 15. AKC and its Indiana federation continue to work with local dog owners on this measure.

IN, Wayne County — Wayne County is considering regulating kennel regulations that would include ownership limits and impose strict zoning requirements that could prevent hobbyists from breeding in their homes. No official draft has been released. AKC continues to closely monitor county actions on this issue.

LA, Moreauville — In October, the Moreauville Board of Aldermen quietly passed a breed-specific vicious dog law that banned the ownership of "pit bulls" and Rottweilers. No exceptions were provided to the ordinance, including for service, therapy, or emotional support dogs. Town officials planned to confiscate each dog of the targeted breeds and euthanize them within 30 days, regardless of whether or not a dog had previously exhibited any dangerous behavior. However, in response to incredible negative reaction to the new law, a special council meeting was called, during which the ordinance was repealed in its entirety. AKC GR issued several legislative alerts, contacted Moreauville officials, and worked with local media outlets and clubs urging opposition to the ordinance.

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. 

NY, New York City — The New York City Council is expected to vote on December 17 on four measures that would redefine “pet store” to mean anyone who sells 25 or more dogs/year. The council has made significant changes to the measures at the request of the AKC and local fanciers. AKC continues to express opposition to Introduction 136, which would require anyone who meets this definition to have animals sterilized prior to transfer to the new owner – even if the dog is only 8 weeks old. The amended bills were considered by the council Committee on Health on November 24. The AKC testified at the hearing and also submitted written testimony and documentation of studies and position statements from other respected animal welfare organizations on the dangers of juvenile and mandatory spay/neuter.

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.

TN, Chattanooga — The Chattanooga City Council enacted a restrictive animal ordinance on November 18, 2014 that, among other provisions, establishes $300 annual “kennel” and “dealer" permits. Permit holders are required to allow unlimited inspections of private homes where animals are allowed access and of computers where animal records are kept. Certain exemptions to permitting are provided for “hobby breeders” who meet specific criteria and who offer for sale the offspring of no more than two litters of puppies or kittens per year. “Animal rescuers” must obtain a permit at no fee and comply with all permitting requirements.