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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues November 2018

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- Numerous news sources report that the Fort Smith, Arkansas Animal Services Advisory Board has drafted proposed changes to the animal ordinance that would include a $500 annual license for intact dogs and cats in the city. Read the legislative alert.

CA, City of Palm Springs – The City of Palm Springs was considering a ban on all dog and cat breeding in response to animal control and shelter concerns.  After an overwhelming response from club members and breeders, the item was removed from their agenda and AKC GR along with the Kennel Club of Palm Springs is advocating more effective solutions to the city’s concerns.

CA, Tulare County – AKC GR and many concerned dog owners and breeders submitted comments last week 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.

CO, Aurora – The Aurora City Council has proposed removing the fancier permit that allowed hobbyists to own more dogs than the city’s three-dog limit.  A council hearing postponed in October is expected to be rescheduled for late November. Communications are ongoing by AKC GR, the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs, and local clubs.  Read the legislative alert for the latest information.

CO, Douglas County – Douglas County hosted a public workshop on October 18 to discuss several changes to the county’s animal laws, including regulations on nuisance/barking dogs and dogs considered “potentially dangerous.”  The workshop was a success and the county has indicated its willingness to work with the dog community to develop effective laws.  The Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs is in communication with the county on proposed amendments. A county hearing is expected in December.  Read AKC’s legislative alert for more information.

CT, New Haven – Despite letters of concern from AKC Government Relations, dog owners and breeders, and a state-licensed veterinarian to the New Haven, CT Board of Alders regarding proposed changes to their animal ordinance, the Board enacted a re-drafted animal ordinance proposal last week that establishes breeder and litter registration requirements in addition to dangerous dog and leash provisions.  AKC GR has learned that the proposal will now go to the city’s Mayor for approval and is in communication with the Mayor’s office. Read the Legislative Alert here.

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.

GA, Atlanta – The Atlanta City Council adopted an ordinance that requires pet stores to sell only dogs sourced from rescue distributors. The ordinance was enacted on November 4, 2018 and is effective November 13.  Read AKC’s Legislative Alert on this issue.

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.

IN, Noble County – The Noble County Commission is considering several changes to their animal control laws.  The proposed “Kennel Ordinance” would limit the number of breeding kennels in the county, and if demand is higher, the county would auction off licenses for up to $10,000 per license.  The proposed “Animal Welfare Ordinance” would limit dog ownership and also require local animal shelters to hold dogs for up to seven days “so long as space allows”. The proposal does state, however, that no regulations may be breed-specific.  AKC GR has submitted extensive written comments to the county expressing concerns and more effective alternatives. A second hearing is expected on November 26. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information on these proposals.

NJ, Shamong Township – On Wednesday, November 7, the Township Committee of Shamong passed changes to its animal ordinances, which include registration and inspection requirements for those with 15 or more dogs in their possession, 25 adult dog ownership limits, and litter limits.  AKC GR and concerned local fanciers were successful in opposing an original proposal in Shamong, which included future prohibitions on kennels and breeders with 5 or more intact females, other breeding and ownership restrictions, and a prohibition on retail sales at pet stores.  AKC GR issued multiple legislative alerts, wrote to the committee expressing opposition to the proposal, and coordinated outreach with local fanciers and enthusiasts. Read more.

NY, Albany County –
After receiving numerous emails and calls prior to its October 9 meeting, the Albany County Legislature scheduled a public hearing for October 23 on two proposals impacting dog owners and those who participate in events in the county.  Proposal “G” would limit tethering as appears to not allow for temporary humane tethering, even if the owner is with the dog.  Proposal “H” would allow any person to enter a vehicle to remove an animal believed to be at risk. AKC GR and the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State have communicated concerns to the council and more effective alternatives.  Read AKC’s legislative alert for information and talking points.

NY, Suffolk County – The Suffolk County Legislature has introduced a proposal that regulates pet stores and pet dealers, which are those who sell more than 25 dogs a year that are raised on a person’s property.  As such, some of the regulations intended for pet stores would apply to some home-based breeders, which could be problematic or in some cases not feasible.  AKC GR and its New York federation have been in contact with the sponsor on numerous occasions and submitted suggested amendments and revisions. Many of the recommended amendments have been incorporated into the proposal. The bill has been tabled since October 2. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information.

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.  The RI SPCA and chief of police submitted letters in favor of the ordinance with reference to the state’s breeding permits for cats.  AKC GR submitted a second letter with concerns and references to state law outlined last week, which resulted in opening dialogue.  Instead of being adopted last night, the proposal has been continued for further discussion with 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.

TN, Franklin– The City of Franklin is considering an ordinance that would restrict 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.  A provision is being considered to grandfather an existing pet shop. AKC GR sent letters of concern and proposed alternate language.

TN, Nashville/Davidson County –  An ordinance passed on first reading in Nashville/Davidson County that would define “kennel” as “an establishment for the breeding of dogs and subject to the license and fee requirements of Chapter 8.04 administered by the Board of Health.” The ordinance does not define the term “establishment” and would restrict kennels to lots of 10 acres and more. Concerned dog owners spoke against the ordinance at a community meeting on October 22 held by the ordinance sponsor. The measure could be scheduled for a second vote in December  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.