Search Menu

Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues November 2020

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:

CO, Denver – On Election Day, Denver voters passed Ballot Measure 2J, which repeals the city’s 30-year breed ban and replaces it with new regulations for “pit bulls”.  These new regulations include a special license and inspection for owners of these dogs, and a limit of two per household.  AKC GR wrote a blog and alert regarding this measure, acknowledging it as a significant first step, and calling on the city to eventually remove all breed-specific policies from city code.  Read more.

FL, Collier County – Collier County considered two proposals at a public workshop on October 5, 2020. Among numerous problematic provisions, the proposals seek to significantly amend county animal laws and establish overreaching requirements for dog owners, breeders (including home-based hobby breeders), trainers, groomers, and animal-related businesses.  Provisions would also affect every individual who might wish to transfer, give away, or sell a dog. Anti-breeder groups continue to lobby in favor of restrictions.

GA, Barrow County The Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved changes to the county animal ordinance on November 11.  View AKC’s alert on this issue.  

GA, Albany – Potential changes to the city’s animal ordinances and dangerous dog laws were presented to City Commissioners at the August 18, 2020, meeting.  Resident dog owners are urged to contact their city commissioners to learn more about this issue and how to participate in the development of new animal laws.  Read more. 

IL, Chicago – Chicago is seeking to prohibit pet stores from sourcing from rescues that are affiliated with breeders.  The proposal would also require all hobby breeders to obtain a permit and meet likely impossible requirements.  AKC GR participated in several virtual meetings with key aldermen, drafted an op-ed, and submitted written testimony.  AKC GR and its federation continue to reach out to key council members and work with other stakeholders to provide alternative solutions.  A new proposal has been introduced that allows breeders that meet certain standards to source to pet stores and provides a consumer protection law for the city, among other provisions.  The proposal has been assigned to the Health and Human Services Committee.  The city is currently focused on the budget and neither bill is scheduled for a hearing at this time. 

MA, Holliston – A signature petition prohibiting pet shops from selling cats and dogs unless acquired from an animal shelter or rescue was adopted at Town meeting on July 20, 2020 despite letters of concern, a legislative alert, distribution of a flyer and an Op Ed published in the local newspaper by AKC GR.  The state’s attorney general has 90 days to review changes to bylaws prior to an effective date.  AKC GR has submitted a letter to the attorney general requesting the petition be rejected as inconsistent with state law. 

MA, Marshfield – The Town of Marshfield scheduled three dog-related proposals for a vote at special town meeting on October 19, 2020.  They include – banning the retail sale of cats and dogs unless sourced from an animal shelter/rescue; encouraging adoption of a breeder license program; and a kennel license program.  After AKC GR issued an alert and local advocates and breeders began to contact town officials, a decision was made to remove the breeder license proposal from the agenda to work on it further before re-introducing it in the spring.  The remaining two proposals were adopted.  On November 3, AKC GR submitted a letter of opposition on the pet retail ban text to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Municipal Law Unit, which is responsible for reviewing and approving new town bylaws within 90 days of adoption. Read more.

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, North Adams –  On October 27, the North Adams City Council was presented with a proposed pet retail ban and heard comments from Berkshire Votes for Animals and AKC GR.  The council voted to send the proposal to the General Government Committee for research and review after councilors expressed mixed reactions to the draft.  The committee is expected to take up the issue in early December.  AKC GR is monitoring the process and will provide testimony at the appropriate time.

ME, Kittery – The town of Kittery, Maine, due to increased positive COVID-19 tests has postponed a special meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday, September 9, 2020, allowing public input on proposed restrictions on dogs at public beaches. View AKC’s alert for more information.

NC, Burke County – Burke County is considering mandatory breeder permits and other regulations.  AKC has been working with local sporting dog enthusiasts and fanciers to communicate concerns to the Animal Advisory Board and county commission.  Meetings were held throughout the past three months to obtain feedback and GR continues to advocate for amendments.

NM, Las Cruces – The City of Las Cruces is seeking public input on numerous changes to the city’s animal control laws.  Changes will include removing the dog licensing requirement, but continuing to enforce mandatory microchipping.  Those who own intact dogs will likely have to pay a fee to register their microchip with the city, instead of the current intact dog license requirement.  Other changes include new procedures regarding barking dog complaints.  The city is accepting comments through November 23.  Read AKC’s alert for more details on the proposal and how to submit comments.

RI, North Providence – Citing recent dog attacks a town councilor has requested that the ordinance committee update the town’s rules for proper leashing and keeping pets.  AKC GR has obtained a copy of the proposed ordinance scheduled for a vote on December 1, 2020 and after review believes there are no concerns. 

SC, Aiken County – Changes to the Aiken County animal ordinance passed on November 17 and take effect immediately.  Council members amended sections of the original proposal in response to input from AKC GR and constituents; however, several problematic provisions remain.  Read AKC’s most recent alert.

TX, San Antonio – As expected, the San Antonio City Council enacted a new animal ordinance that further limits breeding and restricts pet stores to sourcing dogs and cats only from an animal rescue organization, an animal control agency, or a county animal shelter licensed by the city.  The number of sellers permits available to an individual is one per year per address, and requires sterilization of all animals located at the place of sale if the sellers permit requirements are violated.   AKC GR issued a Legislative Alert on the issue, and submitted a letter of concern to the San Antonio City Council.