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Taking Command Newsletter

Local Issues September 2019

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:

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.

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, but the city’s Mayor has just been defeated in the September primary.   Read the alert.

FL, Alachua County – In response to input from representatives of local kennels 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.

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 – The county council is considering numerous changes to its animal control code.  While some changes are positive, GR has expressed concerns with several provisions, including penalties including possible mandatory sterilization or 5-year ownership bans for minor infractions.  The council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee held a public hearing on September 26.  The Committee announced it would be bringing the measure back with amendments. Read AKC’s alert for more information.

MS, Hattiesburg – The city council has approved a new animal ordinance that reenacts provisions that allow the inspection of animals and premises on which animals are kept and that make it unlawful to allow more than six domesticated animals on any one premises. Among other new provisions, dogs kept out of doors for continuous periods of time exceeding 30 minutes must be either tethered and sheltered or in a secured fenced in yard of no less than two square feet for every pound of the dog or dogs’ weight. Several problematic provisions were amended prior to enactment. based on input from citizens and AKC GR.

RI, North Providence – The city of North Providence has experienced negative media coverage for irresponsible animal owners creating a nuisance in the 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.