In 2015, numerous new laws passed around the country that were supported by the AKC and will benefit dogs and dog owners. Here are some highlights:
- California Assembly Bill 794 enhances penalties for attacking or intentionally injuring a law enforcement dog or horse.
- Delaware Senate Bill 22 protects the health of dogs by allowing law enforcement, animal control officers, animal cruelty investigators and firefighters to enter a vehicle if it is believed the temperature is a danger to the animal inside.
- Illinois House Bill 4029 creates new requirements for shelters that will help streamline the process to get lost animals home more quickly. The Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners (AKC’s state federation for Illinois) worked closely with the state legislature on this measure.
- New York Assembly Bill 5956 and Senate Bill 4327 allow dog owners a new opportunity to enjoy socialization and outdoor activities by permitting them to bring their dogs to certain outdoor eating establishments, as long as certain conditions are met.
- New York Assembly Bill 6626 and Senate Bill 5372 allow victims of domestic violence to bring their service or therapy dogs with them when going to an emergency shelter. Many victims of domestic violence are reluctant to leave dangerous situations because of concern for their animals, and these bills would address this situation and also recognize the important role that service and therapy dogs can have in providing comfort, security and assistance. Read about the AKC Humane Fund’s efforts to support these important programs.
- A new program has been approved in North Carolina to improve enforcement of the state’s negligence and cruelty laws. It establishes a hotline to allow North Carolina residents to report possible violations of the state’s animal cruelty laws directly to the state’s attorney general, who then ensures that they go to the proper authorities. This hotline applies to all dogs and dog owners, as opposed to other legislative proposals that would have focused only on people who owned more than an arbitrary number of intact female dogs.
- North Carolina House Bill 199 and Senate Bill 247 allow city councils in Raleigh and Mecklenburg County to donate retired working and service animals to the law enforcement or peace officer that handled/worked with the animal. This allows the handler to continue to manage the animal’s care and to continue the bond they formed while in active service.
Read more about these new laws and 2015 legislative successes on the AKC Government Relations webpages. We offer special thanks to the numerous state federations, AKC clubs, legislative liaisons, breeders and dog owners who contacted their legislators, went to their state capitols and worked so hard to improve the lives of dogs and dog owners in their community.