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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues January 2019

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:
AR, Fort Smith- Local media reports that the Fort Smith Animal Services Advisory Board seeks to propose a $125/year unaltered animal license fee. Previously, the city has discussed unaltered pet license fees as high as $500/year, business licenses for owners of unaltered animals, and restrictions of one litter per year.  A study session on the proposal is tentatively scheduled for January 15. Read the legislative alert.

CA, City of Palm Springs – The City of Palm Springs, California in 2018 attempted to hear an ordinance prohibiting the breeding of any dog or cat within the city limits. AKC GR worked with the Kennel Club of Palm Springs and fanciers from the region and the state to have the item removed from the council’s meeting agenda. Local dog breeders, fanciers, and AKC-GR are continuing to monitor the situation and work with council members to identify the issues, present factual information, and offer alternatives to address the council’s concerns without harming responsible breeders.

CA, Tulare County – AKC GR and many concerned dog owners and breeders submitted comments on Tulare County’s proposed changes to its Animal Ordinances and Kennel Standards, which would have harmed hobby breeders. The city has not yet indicated when it will bring the proposed changes forward. AKC GR continues to reach out to Animal Services and the Tulare County Board of Supervisors with the offer of discussions to develop new ordinances and standards that can address the county’s concerns, while not causing harm to responsible dog owners, breeders, and kennel operations. Read our legislative alert.

CA, West Hollywood –
The City of West Hollywood City Council approved new regulations for pet grooming businesses within the city limits. These businesses include stand-alone animal grooming facilities, mobile grooming facilities, and grooming facilities within a pet supplies store or pet daycare facility. The new ordinances require training and certification for groomers.

CT, New Haven –
Despite letters of concern from numerous concerned experts, the New Haven Board of Alders enacted a re-drafted animal ordinance that establishes breeder and litter registration requirements in addition to dangerous dog and leash provisions.  AKC GR staff and a representative from the CT Federation met with the mayor in December and obtained her support to send a formal request an amended ordinance to the board of Alders inserting due process protections and striking litter and breeder permits. Read more. 

FL, Orange County – The Board of Commissioners has asked staff to draft legislation restricting retail pet stores to selling only dogs and cats procured from rescue distributors. AKC GR has expressed concerns about this and proposed alternatives.

IL, Chicago –
The Chicago City Council is expected to soon introduce a bill that originally was purported to allow pet stores to resume operations in the city.  However, AKC GR has learned that the proposal will also include mandatory spay/neuter at four months of age and hobby breeder licensing.  AKC GR is reaching out to the sponsor and working with AKC’s Illinois federation to educate and provide more effective legislative alternatives.  The proposal is expected to be introduced in the next few weeks.

IN, Indianapolis –
The City of Indianapolis/Marion County is being encouraged by several groups (including Indianapolis Animal Care Services) to consider drafting a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance to address shelter population concerns.  It is believed this proposal may be based on a law in Hamilton County, which requires mandatory sterilization of all dogs and cats at 9 months of age unless the owner has a breeder’s permit.  Those who reside or participate in events in Indianapolis are encouraged to contact the city and express concerns before a draft is written.  For talking points, a sample letter, and contact information view AKC’s Legislative Alert.

PA, Grove City – The Grove City Borough Council introduced a proposal that could limit residents to owning three dogs.  As introduced, it appears that no one could own more than three dogs, or three dogs and three cats, without obtaining a kennel license.  It is unclear, however, whether it is possible for a person in a residential area to get a permit, and what all would be required.  AKC is encouraging local residents to reach out to the council and ask them to not limit dog ownership.  The proposal will likely be considered within the next few weeks.  Read more.

RI, Cumberland – The Cumberland Town Council has proposed a dog breeder permit/license that allows breeding only in areas zoned for kennels unless a special permit is acquired.  Violations of the ordinance would result in a $500 penalty and the ordinance would become effective immediately upon adoption.  In response to AKC and the Providence Kennel Club’s concerns, the proposal has been continued for further discussion with an agreement to work cooperatively with AKC GR to create an ordinance that will achieve the goals of the AKC and the town, which can be a model for uniformity in Rhode Island.  It will be presented in January to council members.

TN, Franklin– The City of Franklin has enacted an ordinance that restricts pet stores to selling only dogs and cats displayed in cooperation with an animal care facility or animal rescue organization, or that are procured from rescue distributors. AKC GR sent letters of concern and proposed alternate language.

TN, Nashville/Davidson County –  A proposed ordinance sought to expand the definition of “kennel” to include “an establishment for the breeding of dogs”. The ordinance also would have restricted kennels, which include boarding kennels and other commercial pet service providers, to lots of 10 acres and more. Concerned dog owners spoke against the ordinance at a community meeting on October 22 held by the sponsor. In response to public input, the measure has been deferred indefinitely. Read more.

WV, Mercer County – The Mercer County Commission is seeking public input on a proposal that would impose mandatory spay/neuter and breeder licensing requirements on county residents in order to address at large dog problems.  A virtually identical proposal was defeated several years ago after input from local dog owners and sportsmen.  AKC GR issued an alert urging those who reside or participate in events in the county to submit comments to the commissioners.  Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for information on the proposal and how to contact the commission.