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Local Issues June 2020

Local Issues June 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, Desert Hot Springs – The City of Desert Hot Springs currently has a ban on all breeding.  A proposal was introduced at the request of a local fancier that would have allowed breeding, but also had some concerning provisions such as requiring all dogs to be sold with a spay/neuter contract, and allowing the city to seize any puppies still in the home after 12 weeks in order to ensure compliance with the 4 dog limit law.  The city agreed to temporarily table the ordinance on June 10, and AKC and local club members are in communication with the city on next steps.

CO, Aurora – The City of Aurora is seeking input on two initiatives related to dangerous dogs and public safety.  A virtual town hall is being held on June 18 to discuss the city’s long-standing breed ban.  The city is also taking public comment until July 24 on a new proposed dangerous dog ordinance.  More information on these initiatives and how to participate can be found in the latest AKC GR legislative alert 

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. In February, 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.  

IL, Chicago – A proposal attempting to stop fraudulent rescues from sourcing to pet stores would define a rescue as any organization not affiliated with a breeder, and would also require all hobby breeders to obtain an animal facility license, meaning, among other provisions, they may have to maintain two staff members on site.  AKC has reached out to the sponsor with our concerns.  The proposal is pending in the Health and Human Services Committee. 

MA, Holliston – Proponents of state legislation adopting pet store bans have collected enough resident signatures to require an article banning pet shop sales of animals be placed on the warrant for a vote at town meeting.  AKC GR has submitted a letter to the town administrator identifying terms inconsistent with state law and concerns with anticipated policy outcomes.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the town meeting has been re-scheduled for July 20, 2020.  Holliston, MA is part of Senate President Spilka’s district.

MA, Pittsfield – In February, the coalition to end puppy mills gathering signatures placing a pet store ban ordinance before city council.  Prior to its effective date, AKC GR submitted a letter of concern to the city solicitor and highlighted text in the ordinance in conflict with state law; including new regulatory definitions for animal rescue and shelter organizations.  The city solicitor has forwarded the concerns to the city’s Ordinance and Rules Committee and has indicated they will notify AKC GR when the matter is taken up. 

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.

PA, McCandless – The Town of McCandless is considering a proposed ordinance to amend and further regulate the keeping of household pets and chickens.  Proposed language would establish a number but would add language that states: “shall not exceed the maximum number of pets which is customarily incidental to a residential use.”  Proposed change allows for enforcement on a case-by-case approach allowing for differences on the size of pet(s), the type of residence and size of lot.  AKC GR has been in contact with the city to discuss the proposal in further detail.  No hearing date is set, but it will likely be considered in August.

SC, Aiken County – In response to input from residents on a problematic proposed animal ordinance, the Aiken County Council voted on June 16, 2020 to table the measure. It could be reconsidered at a July 2020 meeting. Resident animal owners are urged to work with elected officials and county staff to develop a measure that will enable authorized county personnel to more effectively respond to dangerous dog incidents.  View AKC’s 6/15/20 legislative alert on this issue.