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Local Issues November 2019

Local Issues November 2019

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:

CA, City of Bakersfield – The Bakersfield City Council considered changes to its animal ordinances that would have put restrictions on breeding and dog ownership. GR worked with the city attorney’s office and local dog clubs and concerned residents to voice opposition. During the meeting, the proposals were removed from the agenda and sent to a subcommittee for further discussion. The October subcommittee meeting where the proposals were to be considered was canceled and has not been rescheduled. 

CA, Eureka – The city of Eureka is set to completely rewrite its ordinances for animal ownership within the city limits. AKC GR has reviewed the proposed ordinances as they were introduced. When the new ordinances were proposed in October, the Council indicated they would again take up the matter in November, however, it has not been put on an agenda.  While there are parts of the rewrite that positively address responsible dog, there also are sections that are troubling. AKC will provide timely comments to the Council.

CT, Stamford – Animal rights advocates petitioned the city board of representatives to adopt a ban on pet shops from sourcing dogs and cats from anywhere but animal shelters and rescues.  In addition to an alert and letter to the full board, AKC GR reached out to the city’s legal department, the ordinance sponsor and state representatives to express concern with how the same policy has resulted in problems in California.  An op-ed regarding the same was published in the local paper.  At the September meeting of the Rules and Ordinance committee, legal counsel advised the members that the city was pre-empted by state law from adopting an ordinance banning retail allowed by state statute.  The committee has held the measure but, will forward a resolution instead to the Connecticut General Assembly requesting state law be changed to allow the adoption of such an ordinance in the city or municipality wishing to do so.  AKC GR will monitor the upcoming session for developments on the matter.

CT, New Haven – The City of New Haven is reviewing AKC GR’s requested amendments to their animal ordinance establishing breeder and litter permits as part of a dangerous dog proposal.  A public hearing was promised to be scheduled and AKC has been monitoring the calendar.   Read the alert.

FL, Alachua County – In response to input from local kennel clubs, the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs, AKC GR, and other stakeholders, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners did not authorize advertisement of a proposed ordinance that, among other problematic provisions, would require commercial and hobby breeders to be permitted, regulated, and subjected to warrantless inspections. The Board directed county staff to work with stakeholders to revise the proposal. AKC GR will continue to monitor this issue. Read the alert.

FL, Flagler County – The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners passed an updated animal ordinance that includes amendments recommended by animal advocates and AKC Government Relations.

HI, Honolulu The Honolulu City County has introduced Bill 59 as an amendment to an existing County Ordinance. The bill calls for mandatory microchipping and registration of all dogs and cats on Oahu. The microchip requirement would replace the current animal license and registration requirement. Exclusions regarding animals for obedience trial, tracking, and show dogs are cited.  Hunting and support dogs are also excluded. The bill also mentions that dogs in public would be required to be on 4-foot leads while the handler in control must be over 18 years of age. It has not been placed on an agenda yet. AKC Government Relations is monitoring closely. 

MA, Hopkinton – The Town of Hopkinton drafted amendments to its kennel ordinance to ensure sanitary conditions are maintained in the aftermath of a 2018 kennel license revocation for Greyhound Friends rescue.  The rescue successfully secured a new license this month, but opponents continue to petition town officials to shut the organization down.

MA, Uxbridge – The board of health is currently reviewing the animal ordinance and considering changes to update the rules.  AKC GR is working with a club member and has obtained a copy of the draft document, which is under review.  An alert will be drafted at the appropriate time.

MD, Prince George’s County – Prince George’s County has made numerous changes to its animal control code. AKC GR has expressed concerns with several provisions, including possible mandatory sterilization or a five-year ownership ban for minor infractions. Despite support for a repeal from many groups including AKC, the county also decided to keep the breed-specific laws in place. The new law was approved November 19.

PA, New Cumberland – The New Cumberland Borough Council has temporarily tabled an ordinance that would limit the number of animals that may be kept or maintained on a property, after significant feedback from local residents.  AKC GR and the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs provided comments to the council and hope to work with them on a more positive solution.  Read AKC’s alert for more information on the proposal as introduced.

RI, North Providence – The City of North Providence has experienced negative media coverage for irresponsible animal owners creating nuisance in town.  As a result, councilmen began discussing an animal breeding ordinance.  After discussions with AKC GR regarding state law requirements, the council believes it can address the situation without moving forward on an animal breeding restriction.  AKC GR continues to monitor the city’s progress.