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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues April 2020

Local/Other: Issues at the City, County, and Metropolitan Levels, and in U.S. Territories

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 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, Palm Springs – The City of Palm Springs is considering a proposal that would limit breeders to one litter per year, new and increased fees for dog ownership, new penalties for violating ordinances, and changes to the length the city’s privately-run animal shelter must retain captured animals before it can sell them. On March 19, the city voted to postpone the final vote.  Read more.

CT, Stamford –
Animal rights advocates petitioned the city board of representatives to adopt a ban on pet shops from sourcing dogs and cats from anywhere but animal shelters and rescues.  In addition to an alert and letter to the full board, AKC GR reached out to the city’s legal department, the ordinance sponsor and state representatives to express concern with how the same policy has resulted in problems in California.  An op-ed regarding the same was published in the local paper.  Although the committee held the measure due to state legal pre-emption concerns, the town’s state representative has filed legislation in the Connecticut General Assembly authorizing towns to adopt their own rules regarding pet shops.  AKC GR has submitted testimony in opposition.

FL, Collier County – Two ordinances seek to enact additional overreaching and onerous regulations for hobby breeders and commercial breeders and to establish extensive regulations for pet shops and dealers. On February 25, county commissioners voted to delay a decision and directed staff to hold another public meeting to hear from businesses and other interested parties. Read the alert.

FL, Hillsborough County – Another animal ordinance is being drafted that contains numerous definitions of breeders and pet sellers, and would require regulations of certain owners of intact animals, regardless if those animals were bred. An early draft would outlaw selling or transferring any unaltered dog.

 HI, Honolulu The Honolulu City County has introduced Bill 59 as an amendment to an existing County Ordinance. The bill calls for mandatory microchipping and registration of all dogs and cats on Oahu. The microchip requirement would replace the current animal license and registration requirement. Exclusions regarding animals for obedience trial, tracking, and show dogs are cited.  Hunting and support dogs are also excluded. The bill also mentions that dogs in public would be required to be on 4-foot leads while the handler in control must be over 18 years of age. It has not been placed on an agenda yet. AKC Government Relations is monitoring closely.

IL, Evanston – The Evanston City Council has proposed a measure that would ban the sale of animals unless they are from a shelter, rescue, or a breeder that has both a USDA license and has no more than 5 intact females on their property.  This would essentially ban the sale of dogs by hobby breeders in the city.  The council postponed its vote on March 10 and AKC encourages residents to continue contacting the council.  Read more.

MA, Pittsfield – AKC GR has learned that proponents of state legislation adopting pet store bans have been successfully in securing adoption a municipal ordinance banning pet stores in town while expressing frustration with the Legislature’s rejection of the measure last month

 MA, Holliston – AKC GR has confirmed media reports that proponents of state legislation adopting pet store bans have collected enough resident signatures requiring an article banning pet shop sales of animals be placed on the warrant for a town vote at town meeting that has been re-scheduled for June 15, 2020.  Holliston, MA is part of Senate President Spilka’s district.  AKC GR has spoken with the lobbyist for Massachusetts pet stores and is preparing a plan to educate elected officials and residents of the harmful consequences.

MA, Uxbridge – The board of health has drafted significant changes to update the town’s animal rules and with AKC GR’s advocacy, the town counsel removed all references to dogs and kennels because any changes to those rules require a town vote.  The remaining board of health’s animal changes are likely to be directly adopted.  AKC GR continues to communicate with a resident club member and the Vice-Chairman for the Board of Selectmen because the board of health proponent of the original draft has expressed a desire to bring forward a warrant article to the town for a vote making changes to the rules for dogs and kennels.

RI, North Providence – The City of North Providence has experienced negative media coverage for irresponsible animal owners creating nuisance in town.  As a result, councilmen began discussing an animal breeding ordinance.  AKC GR has communicated state law requirements for dogs, but despite stating it could address the situation without moving forward on animal breeding restrictions, the council voted in December to establish animal breeding licenses.  The town counsel did not sign off on the proposal.  AKC GR drafted a cover letter requesting changes along with an amendment creating an exception for dogs, submitted it January 30, 2020 and continues to await a response.