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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues August 2021

Issues at the City, County, and Metropolitan Levels, and in US 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:

CT, Stamford – The Stamford Board of Representatives approved an amended tethering ordinance that  (1) clarifies that an owner may leave a dog unrestricted on their property so long as the dog is on a runner system, or within an enclosure or fenced area, including electronic fences; and (2) restricts outdoor tethering to no more than 30 minutes unless the owner/keeper is outside with the dog and the dog is in the owner’s/keeper’s view.  Text of the final tethering proposal can be viewed here.

FL, Manatee County – The county Board of Commissioners enacted an ordinance that prohibits a “commercial establishment,” defined as a business which is open to the public, whether by appointment or during reoccurring business hours, from engaging in the sale of a dog or cat. This bans sales of dogs and cats in pet stores and potentially bans pet sales by any entity that currently or in the future is required to obtain a business license. The ordinance also prohibits the “display” of any live dog or cat on an outdoor area open to the public, such as parks or recreation areas, and on public common areas. It is unclear if this could be enforced to prohibit AKC events and public education activities with dogs in certain locations. AKC GR issued legislative alerts, submitted a letter of opposition, and testified remotely.

KY, Henderson County – Amendments to the county animal ordinance were discussed at a special called meeting of the Henderson County (KY) Fiscal Court on August 9, 2021. Among other expected provisions, the proposed ordinance will address dangerous animals and the safety of dogs left enclosed in hot cars. AKC GR issued a legislative alert urging residents to participate in the legislative process.

 LA, St. Landry Parish – A proposed animal ordinance, among other provisions, would have negated the privacy rights of animal owners and animal-related businesses; defined any owner of two intact animals of the same species as a “breeder” and defined any person who sells, donates, or exchanges a single animal as a “dealer/dealer breeder” subject to restrictions, regulations, and permitting costs of up to $5,000 a year; established certain overreaching definitions and requirements regarding animal care; and enacted a problematic definition of and requirements for “potentially dangerous animals.” AKC GR sent a letter of concern and issued a legislative alert. The ordinance was tabled at the June 16 Parish Council meeting, and at this time, has not been brought back up.

MA, Springfield – Ordinance No. 6086 amends Chapter 110 (Animals) by adding a new Section 110-14 to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by city pet shops. It requires that a pet shop may provide space for the display of dogs, cats, or rabbits available for adoption only if such animals are displayed and made available for adoption by either a shelter or rescue organization. AKC GR submitted testimony and spoke at a subcommittee public hearing. Despite the expressed concerns, the city council adopted the ordinance unanimously and it was signed by the mayor. There is one pet shop in Springfield, and the owner has indicated he intends to sue the city.

SC, Horry County – On August 17, the first of three votes approved the introduction of a proposed ordinance to amend county animal laws. Proposed provisions include concerning animal care and shelter requirements, a ban on sales of dogs and cats in pet stores, unlimited inspections of breeders based on an allegation of violation absent probable cause, a definition of “animal rescue organization” that would exclude rescues affiliated with AKC clubs, and other problematic sections. AKC GR submitted a letter of concern and issued a legislative alert.