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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues October 2020

Local/Other: Issues at the City, County, and Metropolitan Levels, and in U.S. 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:

CO, Aurora – The City of Aurora is considering whether to amend its current breed-specific and dangerous dog laws.  At a hearing in late summer, the city decided to delay putting the breed-specific law on the November ballot and is still determining next steps.  In addition, the city has proposed a new dangerous dog law that could be enacted regardless of action on the breed-specific law.  AKC and the Colorado federation continue to monitor.  Read more.

CO, Denver – The Denver City Council has placed a measure on the November 2020 city ballot that will allow voters to decide on changes to the city’s breed-specific law.  Ballot Measure 2J would remove the breed ban and instead require an annual permit and inspection for owners of restricted breeds and would allow the opportunity for owners to obtain a regular dog license after 36 months with no animal control violations. Read more.

FL, Collier County – The 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.

 GA, Barrow County – Changes to the Barrow County animal ordinance, including a proposal to declare 12-15 dog breeds as dangerous, were presented at the September 22 Board of Commissioners meeting.  Proposed ordinances are expected to be on the agenda for the October 13 county commissioners meeting.  AKC GR has alerted clubs and communicated with local officials.

 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.  The vote has been tabled for now but will likely be brought back for consideration before the end of the year.  AKC GR and its federation continue to reach out to key council members and work with other stakeholders to provide alternative solutions.  Read more.

 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 for now.  AKC GR is working to ensure the town has factual information prior to voting on the remaining two proposals.  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.

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.  Monthly Animal Advisory Board meetings are being held to obtain feedback and GR continues to work with local dog owners to advocate for amendments.

PA, McCandless – McCandless Township recently passed an ordinance to amend and further regulate the keeping of household pets and chickens.  Ordinance states that the number of pets “… shall not exceed the maximum number of pets which is customarily incidental to a residential use criterion due to the size of pet(s), the type of residence and size of lot.”  During review and prior to adoption, AKC GR was in contact with the township to raise a concern with how the proposal might impact hobby breeders.  As a result of our concern, AKC GR was informed that as passed, there is no issue with a casual hobby breeder who has 1-2 litters a year in their home, assuming they don’t keep the puppies beyond the normal age for them to move on, have frequent/intentional overlap of multiple litters, or cause any nuisance issues for the neighbors.

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 notified the Rhode Island clubs and a local breeder is working with us to monitor the process and provide model text for consideration by the committee.

 SC, Aiken County – A revised proposed animal ordinance is on the county council agenda for October 20, 2020.  Among other provisions, it seeks to require registration with the county as an offender by any person convicted of a dangerous dog violation and would authorize ongoing and unlimited inspections of their property, regardless if they continue to own or keep the dangerous dog.  It further would provide that a person convicted of a minor nuisance animal infraction could be sentenced to register as an offender and be subjected to both annual and unlimited additional inspections of the nuisance animal and the person’s private property.  Read AKC’s most recent alert.

TX, San Antonio – Later this month, the San Antonio City Council is expected to consider a new animal ordinance that seeks to further limit breeding and restrict 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.  Currently, the city’s ordinances require a person who sells or offers for sale one or more animals to obtain a seller’s permit, and that each seller’s permit shall be valid for one animal or one litter.  The proposal will seek to limit the number of sellers permits available to an individual to one per year per address, and will require sterilization of all animals located at the place of sale if the sellers permit requirements are violated (currently, only impoundment is required after notice is made to a purported violator).  The proposal, which was recently approved by the Council’s Community Health and Equity Committee after a briefing by staff of the city’s Animal Care Services Department, was not purported to impact the city’s existing, additional litter permit requirements.  AKC GR has issued a Legislative Alert on the issue, and submitted a letter of concern to the San Antonio City Council.