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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues July 2021

Local/Other: 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 – In January, the Stamford Board of Representatives expressed interest in adopting a tethering ordinance similar to the 2020 law enacted in Virginia. The resulting proposal would have  defined “adequate shelter” and “adequate space,” and prohibited tethering in weather below 32 degrees or above 85 degrees. Following months of discussion with interest groups, the sponsor announced that all text referring to “adequate space and shelter” would be stricken, and replaced by requiring anyone who tethers a dog outside to be within sight of the dog at all times. Despite some controversy regarding the reasonableness of this criteria, the committee voted to send the amended proposal to the Board, which scheduled a public hearing where AKC testimony and additional input resulted in adoption of an amendment creating an exception to provide for temporarily not being outside with a tethered dog. On July 6, 2021, the full board of representatives voted to return the amended proposal to the Legislative and Rules Committee for additional input from residents before a vote is taken. The committee is scheduled to next meet on July 20, 2021.

FL, Orange County – The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted to approve an ordinance that bans the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores unless they are sourced from animal shelter or rescue organizations. AKC GR issued an alert and submitted letters of opposition to measures that limit pet stores to sourcing pets from organizations that are not required to comply with the same animal health, inoculations, and transport requirements or to provide consumer protection provisions as are required for other pet sellers in the state. Pet stores can continue retail sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits until June 22, 2022.

LA, St. Landry Parish – A proposed animal ordinance, among other provisions, would negate the privacy rights of animal owners and animal-related businesses; define any owner of two intact animals of the same species as a “breeder” and define 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; establish certain overreaching definitions and requirements regarding animal care; and enact 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 introduced on June 16, and a public hearing could be held as early as July 21.

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.

WV, Follansbee – The Follansbee City Council is considering a proposal on Monday, July 12, that would regulate when dogs may be kept outdoors. AKC GR is working with the council and city attorney to amend the proposal to not include specific temperatures, in recognition that different breeds can tolerate different weather conditions. Read more.