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Local Issues October 2018

Local Issues October 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:

CA, Los Angeles Los Angeles is considering removing numeric limits on pet ownership limits and amending zoning ordinances to allow retail pet stores in commercially zoned areas. Other proposed changes would encourage pet retailers to provide dogs from rescue organizations, along with shelter animals.  AKC GR has prepared a response offering assistance in drafting ordinance language.

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 and continues to communicate with the city.

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

CA, West Hollywood –
The City of West Hollywood City Council approved new regulations for pet grooming businesses within the city limits. These businesses include stand-alone animal grooming facilities, mobile grooming facilities, and grooming facilities within a pet supplies store or pet daycare facility. The new ordinances require training and certification for groomers.

CO, Aurora – The Aurora City Council, among many changes to the animal control laws, has proposed removing the fancier permit that allowed many responsible hobbyists to own more dogs than the city’s three-dog limit.  A public presentation attended by the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs and many local fanciers was held on October 16.  The city’s Housing, Neighborhood Services, and Redevelopment Committee postponed a meeting scheduled for October 24 in order to seek further public input. 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.  Read AKC’s legislative alert for more information.

CT, New Haven – The New Haven Board of Alders is considering establishing breed-neutral laws regarding the keeping of vicious or dangerous dogs.  Other changes include breeding and litter permits and inspections of breeding premises. Animal control staff are given authority to determine dogs appropriate for breeding.  AKC GR has submitted a letter of concern and understands legal counsel is drafting amendments for possible adoption on November 8th.

FL, Orange County – A second public hearing in Orange County on October 16th is scheduled to discuss allowing dog-friendly dining in outdoor sections of restaurants. In a separate action, 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.

FL, Manatee County – The Manatee County Commission did not consider a proposed retail pet store ban at their meeting in August, but may revisit the issue at a later date.

GA, Atlanta – The City of Atlanta’s Public Safety & Legal Administration Committee voted on an ordinance to on October 23 that would restrict sourcing of animals to pet stores to only shelters or rescues.  AKC GR has expressed concerns with this restriction on consumer choice and consumer protection. A second proposal scheduled for consideration would regulate barking dogs.   Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information on these proposals.

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 considered two proposals on October 22 that would regulate dogs and dog owners in the county.  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.

KY, Spencer County—Draft legislation has been presented again to members of the Spencer County Fiscal Court that seeks to extensively expand the county animal control ordinance. Provisions under consideration would allow the confiscation of animals at the discretion of the animal control director; establish high monthly fees for the keeping of seized animals regardless of whether the owner is convicted of a violation; require a separate “kennel” or “cattery” license for every five animals; assign “at risk” designations to dogs that escape or are accidentally released from their enclosures; establish significant fines; and enact numerous additional requirements and fees for county pet and horse owners.

NJ, Shamong Township – The Township Committee of Shamong unanimously tabled concerning and controversial changes to its animal ordinances at its September 4 meeting, 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.  Amendments were introduced at Township Committee’s October 2nd meeting, which now includes ownership limits and extensive regulations.  AKC will continue to oppose ownership limits and other onerous elements of the proposal. 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. Both proposals have been tabled and the sponsor of proposal “H” has suggested amendments to address concerns.

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 is pending a vote by the full legislature. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information.

RI, Cumberland – Town council has proposed a breeder 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.  AKC GR submitted a letter of concern to the town councilors who then passed over this agenda item until November 7th when the chief of police is expected to testify on the record.  Read more.

TN, 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. AKC GR sent letters of concern and proposed alternate language.

TN, Nashville/Davidson County – An ordinance is under consideration 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.  A public meeting on this proposal is expected soon. 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.