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Arkansas Seeks to Require Annual Licenses of Up to $1000 for Dog Owners and Handlers

(Monday, March 16, 2009)

A bill has been introduced in the Arkansas Senate that requires owners of 12 or more dogs of any age to purchase an annual license for the right to maintain ownership of the dogs, regardless of whether the animals are on your property.

"Owner" is defined as someone who meets any of the following criteria:

  • Has a right of property in a dog or cat
  • Keeps or harbors a dog or cat
  • Acts as a custodian of a dog or cat

Senate Bill 864 would require any owner of 12 to 24 dogs and/or cats to obtain a $250 annual license. If you own over 24 dogs and/or cats, then you must pay $1000 each year. This would place severe financial hardships on responsible dog owners without addressing the real problem of irresponsible dog ownership.

The following are exempted from the license requirements:

  • A veterinarian or veterinary facility that provides services under the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Practice Act
  • A boarding, kennel, or grooming facility that acts as a temporary custodian in exchange for compensation
  • An agency of the federal, state, county, municipal or other governmental or political subdivision acting under official duties
  • Any entity owned or managed by a state or local government agency that is responsible for animal control
  • Research facilities

In addition, the bill allows for a warrantless inspection by an animal control officer or other public health or safety official upon any complaint "or upon his or her own motion". This may include an inspection of the animals as well as the facility.

AKC is opposed to egregious requirements that punish responsible dog owners while doing nothing to address the issue of irresponsible dog ownership. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact the sponsor of Senate Bill 864 and politely, yet strongly express your opposition to Senate Bill 864:

    Senator Sue Madison
    573 Rock Cliff Rd.
    Fayetteville, AR 72701
    Phone: (479) 442-2997
    E-mail: madisons@arkleg.state.ar.us

  • Contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ask them to oppose Senate Bill 864. Their contact information is as follows:

Senator Ed Wilkinson (Chairman)
Box 610
Greenwood, AR 72936
Phone: (479) 996-4171

Senator Ruth Whitaker (Vice-Chair)
PO Box 349
Cedarville, AR 72932
Phone: (479) 474-0911
E-mail: whitakerr@arkleg.state.ar.us

Senator David Johnson
2511 Valley Park Drive
Little Rock, AR 72212
Phone: (501) 682-6107
E-mail: johnsond@arkleg.state.ar.us

Senator Jim Luker
PO Box 216
Wynne, AR 72396
Phone: (870) 238-8588
E-mail: lukerj@arkleg.state.ar.us

Senator Sue Madison
573 Rock Cliff Road
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Phone: (479) 442-2997
E-mail: madisons@arkleg.state.ar.us

Senator Jerry Taylor
6203 Ridgewood Drive
Pine Bluff, AR 71603
Phone: (870) 879-3233
E-mail: taylorj@arkleg.state.ar.us

Senator Robert Thompson
414 West Court
Paragould, AR 72450
Phone: (870) 239-9581
E-mail: thompsonr@arkleg.state.ar.us

Senator Henry "Hank" Wilkins
717 W. 2nd Avenue
Pine Bluff, AR 71601
Phone: (870) 536-6366
E-mail: hwilkins@arkleg.state.ar.us

Additional Resources:

Click here for AKC’s "Disagree Diplomatically" brochure

Click here for AKC’s "Make Your Contact Count" brochure for suggestions on how to effectively communicate with legislators.