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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues – June 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– 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 on the draft.

FL, Orange County – The Orange County Board of Commissioners held a work session to discuss an ordinance that seeks to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores unless they are sourced from animal shelter or rescue organizations. AKC GR submitted a letter 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. Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the ban and directed staff to redraft the ordinance. The revised ordinance will be available on 6/17/22 and a public hearing is scheduled for 6/22/21.

IL, Chicago – Chicago passed a bill to prohibit pet stores from sourcing pets from rescues that are affiliated with breeders. As introduced, the bill also would have required all hobby breeders to obtain a permit and meet onerous requirements. AKC GR participated in several virtual meetings with key aldermen, drafted an op-ed, issued alerts, and testified in the Health and Human Services committee hearing. The proposal was passed with amendments removing all language regulating hobby breeders. Read more.

 KY, Louisville/Jefferson County – The Louisville Metro Public Health Committee is considering changes to the city/county animal control ordinance. While the proposed ordinance features some reasonable provisions, it also includes certain vague and problematic dog care requirements. AKC GR issued an alert and submitted a letter of concern and recommended amendments.

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.  

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 proposed ordinance unanimously and sent it to the mayor for signature. There is one pet shop in Springfield, and the owner has indicated he intends to sue the city.

 NC, Burke County – Burke County proposed mandatory breeder permits and other onerous regulations that would have punished breeders and sportsmen. AKC worked with local sporting dog enthusiasts and fanciers to communicate concerns to the Animal Advisory Board and county commission. The advisory committee voted unanimously to table the breeder permit and instead work with AKC on breeder standards of care. AKC worked with the board and local animal shelter director on amendments for several month, and many the amendments were accepted. The advisory board approved the amended proposal, but it was voted down by the county commission. AKC continues outreach to animal control and local officials to assist them in developing solutions to address their concerns. Read more.