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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues February 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, Eureka – The city of Eureka is set to completely rewrite its ordinances for animal ownership within the city limits. AKC GR has reviewed the proposed ordinances as they were introduced. When the new ordinances were proposed in October, the Council indicated they would again take up the matter in November, however, it has not been put on an agenda.  While there are parts of the rewrite that positively address responsible dogs, there also are sections that are troubling. AKC will provide timely comments to the Council.

CO, Colorado Springs – The Colorado Springs City Council held a preliminary work session on Friday, February 21, to discuss a potential retail sales ban in the city.  AKC submitted a letter in support of local pet stores and preserving consumer protection and pet choice in the city.  AKC GR and the federation continue to work closely with local pet stores in the city to address concerns.

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, it plans to forward a resolution instead to the Connecticut General Assembly requesting state law be changed.  AKC GR will monitor the session for any developments.

CT, New Haven – The City of New Haven is reviewing AKC GR’s requested amendments to their animal ordinance establishing breeder and litter permits as part of a dangerous dog proposal.  A public hearing was promised to be scheduled and AKC has been monitoring the calendar, but a new Mayor was elected in November and no action has yet been taken.  Read the alert.

Washington, D.C. – Proposal B 23-0583, known as the “Animal Care and Control Omnibus Act” would institute bond for care in the District of Columbia such that an owner whose dogs were seized  pending a cruelty investigation could be forced to forfeit their pets if they are unable to pay boarding and other costs of care during  the investigation– even if they are ultimately found not guilty. It would also ban the retail sale of dogs at pet stores, unless the dogs are sourced from shelters or rescues.  AKC has expressed concerns with both these provisions.  AKC GR and local clubs have expressed concerns and offered alternative approaches to address animal welfare concerns in the District. The measure is pending in the City Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.

FL, Collier County –  Two ordinances on the agenda for the Collier County Board of County Commissioners meeting on February 25, 2020, seek to enact additional overreaching and onerous regulations for hobby breeders and commercial breeders and to establish extensive regulations for pet shops and dealers. Read the alert.

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 requirements. 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.

MA, Uxbridge – The board of health has reviewed significant changes drafted to update the town’s animal rules.  AKC GR continues to work with a resident club member and after discussion regarding the draft document, contacted the Chairman for the Board of Selectmen.  The proposal has had all references to dogs stricken by the town council who noted that any change to kennel rules would need to be adopted via a warrant article at town meeting.  In January, the board of health proponent of change expressed a desire to bring forward a warrant article to the town for a vote.  AKC GR has set up a meeting this month with the Vice-Chair of the Board of Selectman to address concerns without harm to club members residing in town.

ME, Bangor – A proposed ordinance requiring dogs on a leash at all times near the waterfront would have blocked the hosting of an annual match by the Penobscot Valley Kennel Club in the city of Bangor.  Working with the city council, a club member successfully secured an amendment creating an exception for activities authorized by city permit.  AKC GR is grateful to the club for its timely and effective advocacy!

MI, Detroit –
In response to the death of a child in a dog attack, the City of Detroit has passed numerous changes to the city’s animal control code.  AKC supported a provision called “Emma’s Clause”, which requires animal control to come out and investigate when there is a viable complaint made about a dangerous dog.  Other changes passed by the city which were opposed by the AKC include breeder permits for anyone who breeds one litter, and mandatory sterilization for dogs declared potentially dangerous.  Read more. AKC appreciates that the city did not pass mandatory sterilization of all dogs over 35 pounds, which was originally proposed.

RI, North Providence – The City of North Providence has experienced negative media coverage for irresponsible animal owners creating a 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.  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 and submitted it on January 30, 2020.

RI, Smithfield – The Smithfield town council held a public hearing on December 17, 2019, to consider adopting a pet retail and “commercial establishment” ban on selling dogs or cats unless sourced from an animal shelter or rescue.  The proposed definition of “commercial establishment” would include but not be limited to grooming or boarding facilities.  On behalf of Providence County Kennel Club and Rhode Island Kennel Club, AKC GR submitted written testimony and spoke in opposition to the proposed ordinance with club members in attendance.  In response to the concerns raised, the council extended the hearing to January 21, 2020, where it then adopted an amendment drafted by AKC GR and Providence County Kennel Club member, attorney Vincent Indeglia prohibiting the sale of dogs by commercial establishments in town in violation of state law and creating an expressly exempting hobby breeders from any such restrictions.