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Local Issues September 2021

Local Issues September 2021

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.

CT, Stamford – The Stamford Board of Representatives approved an amended tethering ordinance that  (1) clarifies that an owner may leave a dog unrestricted on their property so long as the dog is on a runner system, or within an enclosure or fenced area, including electronic fences; and (2) restricts outdoor tethering to no more than 30 minutes unless the owner/keeper is outside with the dog and the dog is in the owner’s/keeper’s view.  Text of the final tethering proposal can be viewed here.

FL, Manatee County – The county Board of Commissioners enacted an ordinance that prohibits a “commercial establishment,” defined as a business which is open to the public, whether by appointment or during reoccurring business hours, from engaging in the sale of a dog or cat. This bans sales of dogs and cats in pet stores and potentially bans pet sales by any entity that currently or in the future is required to obtain a business license. The ordinance also prohibits the “display” of any live dog or cat on an outdoor area open to the public, such as parks or recreation areas, and on public common areas. It is unclear if this could be enforced to prohibit AKC events and public education activities with dogs in certain locations. AKC GR issued legislative alerts, submitted a letter of opposition, and testified remotely.

KY, Henderson County – Amendments to the county animal ordinance were discussed at a special called meeting of the Henderson County (KY) Fiscal Court on August 9, 2021. Among other expected provisions, the proposed ordinance will address dangerous animals and the safety of dogs left enclosed in hot cars. AKC GR issued a legislative alert urging residents to participate in the legislative process.  

LA, St. Landry Parish – A proposed animal ordinance, among other provisions, would have negated the privacy rights of animal owners and animal-related businesses; defined any owner of two intact animals of the same species as a “breeder” and defined any person who sells, donates, or exchanges a single animal as a “dealer/dealer breeder” subject to restrictions, regulations, and permitting costs of up to $5,000 a year; established certain overreaching definitions and requirements regarding animal care; and enacted a problematic definition of and requirements for “potentially dangerous animals.” AKC GR sent a letter of concern and issued a legislative alert. The ordinance was tabled at the June 16 Parish Council meeting, and at this time, has not been brought back up.

NY, Riverhead –The Riverhead Town Council is considering a retail sales ban that would only allow local pet stores to source from shelters or rescues.  The council is accepting written comment until the end of September. AKC submitted comments in opposition and provided alternative solutions.

NY, Ulster County – Ulster County is considering changes to the tethering laws, including providing specific temperatures in which it is appropriate to keep a dog outdoors. AKC GR and the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State have communicated concerns to the county, and local clubs testified at a hearing on September 8. The County Executive is currently deliberating whether to approve the proposal or send it back for further consideration.

SC, Horry County The Horry County Council considered proposed amendments to the animal control law on August 17. As introduced, the proposal included problematic animal care and shelter requirements, a ban on sales of dogs and cats in pet stores, vague language that could ban sales of dogs and cats by certain individuals and breeders, unlimited inspections of breeders based on an allegation of a violation absent probable cause, a definition of “animal rescue organization” that would exclude rescues affiliated with AKC clubs, and other problematic sections. According to county staff, the proposal was authored in part by representatives of HSUS and Best Friends Animal Society. AKC GR submitted a letter of concern and issued a legislative alert. Based on stakeholder comments, the proposal was returned to the public safety committee for additional consideration. Subsequently, AKC GR discussed numerous problematic sections of the proposal with county personnel, expressed support for certain positive provisions, and submitted recommended revisions.

VA, Waynesboro The Waynesboro City Council was considering a limit on animal ownership as part of a rewrite of the City’s Animal Ordinance.  The proposal would have limited a household to 4 dogs, 5 cats, and no more than 7 total animals, with no grandfather clause for those currently owning more than 7 animals.  As a result of comments and feedback from AKC GR, VFDCB, local clubs, and residents, Mayor Bobby Henderson announced at the September 13, 2021, Council meeting that City Council does not support limiting the number of dogs and cats and will not be pushing that proposal forward.