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News from the State Capitols

Here are some highlights of state-level issues AKC GR is currently tracking.

Alabama – SB 2 seeks to prohibit inmates from participating in training of dogs for tracking humans. AKC is monitoring this legislation, which has not yet received a committee assignment.

Arkansas – HB 1591, a bill supported by AKC that limits a local government from enacting certain restrictions regarding the acquisition and sales of pets in retail pet stores, was enacted as Act 730.

Arkansas – SB 339 sought to amend current law regarding protections for certain working animals and would have allowed a county or municipality to establish or alter an ordinance regarding the sale of dogs and cats. The bill passed in the Senate, but was not heard in the House Agriculture, Forestry & Economic Development Committee.

California – AB-240 would create a tax on the sale of pet food for cats and dogs in order to provide dedicated funding to animal shelters for the spaying and neutering of animals. The bill has since been amended by the sponsor so that the proposed tax would be collected from the food manufacturer on an annual basis of $200 per SKU sold in the state. The bill has been referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Revenue and Taxation and AKC is monitoring.

California – AB-703 would prohibit an insurer from refusing to issue, canceling, refusing to renew, or increasing the premium for a policy of residential property insurance on the sole basis that the applicant or insured owns or harbors a dog that is a specific breed or mixture of breeds, except if the dog is known to be or has been declared potentially dangerous or vicious. The bill is scheduled for an April 25 hearing in the Assembly Insurance Committee. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB-781 would require a county to update its emergency plan to designate emergency shelters able to accommodate persons with pets on or before July 1, 2024.  The bill has passed Assembly Emergency Management Committee and will be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 19. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB-1215 is a positive bill that would set up a program for state administered grants to assist pets of individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and for domestic violence survivors and their pets when accessing the shelter system. CA AB 1215 passed unanimously out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and was considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 19.

California – AB-742 would prevent the use of police canines for the purpose of arrest, apprehension, or any form of crowd control. AKC recognizes the value of highly trained working K9s for a wide variety of jobs including detection, search and rescue, and other public safety functions.  Rather than limiting the safety functions of properly trained working K9s, AKC encourages the bill’s sponsor to focus on ensuring that law enforcement canines and their handlers have the proper and up-to-date training and certifications they need to keep all Californians safe. On March 21, the bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee, and it was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Read more.

California – AB-554 would clarify animal cruelty enforcement. AKC thanks Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (46th District) and the Assembly Judiciary Committee for the proposed amendment to the bill to ensure Californians’ right to due process is respected. The amended bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously and has been referred to the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee for a hearing on April 24. AKC is further monitoring this bill. Read more.

California – SB-89 brings California definitions of stalking to be in line with federal law, including to make harming or killing pets a stalking offense. The bill was heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee and passed unanimously out of committee. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB-1518 seeks to expand on previous bills to increase awareness and education about the value of service dogs. It is currently scheduled for an April 25 hearing in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. AKC is working with the author’s office to support the broad intent of the proposal.

Connecticut – SB 1060 would expand the court’s authority to appoint an attorney to represent animals. The goal of animal rights activists is to change the legal classification of animals from property to “legal beings”. AKC testified in opposition in March with the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO). During the Judiciary Committee’s discussion, it became apparent that multiple Connecticut laws define “animal” differently and the bill was passed over.

Connecticut – HB 6714 would redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal.  AKC is concerned the proposed definition of “sexual contact with an animal” could be interpreted as prohibiting routine canine reproduction procedures, such as artificial insemination. AKC has submitted testimony seeking a clarifying amendment. The Judiciary Committee voted favorably on an amended HB 6714 that ensures that bona fide veterinary and animal husbandry purposes would not be inadvertently banned.

Connecticut – SB 1069 as introduced expanded the definition of “animal”, expanded licensed “grooming facility” to include any vehicle or trailer, and removes the definition of “kennel” allowing for personal kennels.  It also required a kennel license for anyone who breeds more than two litters annually.  Municipal animal control officers, instead of the Department of Agriculture, would be responsible for inspections and the enforcement of new detailed care and conditions. AKC submitted amendments after testifying before the Joint Environment Committee in February with CFDRDO. The committee approved an amended SB 1069 that preserves the definition of “kennel”; does not expand the definition of “grooming facility”; but, still uses the word “facility” when referring to a hobby breeder kennel license. A commitment to fix the remaining text has been secured.

Connecticut – HB 6635 would prohibit discrimination in insurance underwriting based on the homeowner’s breed of dog. AKC, multiple dog clubs and members submitted testimony in support with CFDRDO for a February hearing.  The committee voted favorably on an amended version in March that would also impact laws relating to damage by dogs to people or property. Amended HB 6635 was sent to the Judiciary Committee and the deadline for action passed before their consideration of proposed liability changes could be determined.

Connecticut – SB 729 would establish the Husky as the CT state dog. AKC submitted a letter of support to the committee. An omnibus bill including this provision was raised as HB 6822 and heard in March. The bill was voted favorably out of committee.

Connecticut – SB 932 would authorize the emergency treatment and transport of police K9s injured in the line of duty along with other provisions to protect law enforcement K-9s.  AKC submitted written testimony for the hearing February 14. On March 16, the committee unanimously voted the bill favorably. It has been placed on the Senate calendar for a vote.

Connecticut – The Department of Agriculture submitted HB 6611 to consider a statewide dog license portal.  An additional benefit of the electronic dog license portal proposed is a flat dog license fee whether a dog is intact or not.  The platform will allow confidentiality for individuals with privacy protections in place. An amended HB 6611 supported by AKC GR and the federation was voted favorably on March 3, but the Department is calling for additional changes. HB 6611 is on the House calendar for a vote. 

Delaware – SB 37 seeks to name rescue(d) dogs as the official state dog of Delaware.  The bill passed the Senate and is currently in the House Administration Committee with no hearing date state.  AKC has reminding members that rescue and shelter dogs are not a breed of dog and naming them as the state dogs does little to change their situation.

Delaware – SB 71 would require law-enforcement agencies, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and the Department of Justice to report suspected animal cruelty to the Office of Animal Welfare if it is discovered while performing their responsibilities in child welfare cases. Additionally, this Act also provides immunity to people who, in good faith, report suspected animal cruelty.  AKC GR expressed our concerned about potential misuse of this legislation which could provide an avenue for excessive, frivolous, or even persecutorial reporting – punishing responsible owners.  SB 71 was approved by the Senate Health and Social Services Committee and awaits action by the full Senate.

Delaware – HB 84 would prohibit owners from allowing dogs to bark continuously for more than 15 minutes, or intermittently for more than 30 minutes per day.  AKC expressed concerns about the likelihood for neighbor disputes, and the inability of animal control to be able to consider cases on an individual basis.  Sponsor has agreed to address another AKC concern by adding language that exempts dogs engaged in any lawful activity including training, hunting, performance events, etc.  HB 84 was scheduled for a hearing before the House Health and Human Development Committee on March 29th but was pulled.  No new hearing date has been scheduled and AKC GR continues to communicate with members regarding concerns.  Read more.

Florida – Reintroduced in 2023 are bills that seek to exempt records containing certain information pertaining to persons who have adopted an animal from a local animal shelter or animal control agency from public records requirements. AKC GR remains concerned that this legislation could negatively impact tracking a pet with a disease process and would hide pet trafficking under the guise of rescue from public oversight. HB 157 has been referred to the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee and additional committees. SB 518 passed unanimously in both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Community Affairs and Rules Committee. It is next in the Senate Rules Committee.

Florida – HB 719/SB 722 would allow certain out-of-state veterinarians to provide specified services under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed in the state. HB 719 passed in the House and is referred to the Senate Rules Committee. SB 722 passed in the Senate committees and was on the Senate Special Order Calendar for April 18.

Florida – HB 849/SB 800 seek to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats and would allow the enactment and enforcement of more stringent municipal and county ordinances regarding any animal sale. HB 849 is assigned to the House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee, the Civil Justice Committee, and the Commerce Committee. SB 800 is assigned to the Senate Commerce and Tourism, Regulated Industries, and Rules Committees.

Florida – SB 932 is an overreaching bill that, among other provisions, seeks to criminalize: allowing a dog to have its nose out of a vehicle; certain accepted and safe transport methods for dogs; declawing of cats; and unattended tethering of dogs. It also seeks to establish an animal abuser registry that includes restrictions on both the abuser and others. SB 932, which has received media attention and opposition for certain overreaching provisions, is referred to the Senate Regulated Industries, Agriculture, Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice, and Fiscal Policy Committees.

Florida – HB 941/SB 942 seek to authorize public housing authorities to adopt policies related to dogs provided such requirements are not specific to the breed, weight or size, and would set aside existing breed-specific ordinances in the state. AKC supports this legislation as filed. Both bills passed in their respective chambers and SB 942 has been placed on third reading in the House. Read AKC’s alert in support of these bills as filed.

Florida – HB 989/SB1006 are versions of “lawyers for animals” bills that would authorize a court to order that a separate advocate be appointed in the interests of justice for certain civil and criminal proceedings regarding an animal’s welfare or custody. HB 989 was minimally amended, and a committee substitute was re-referred to the House Judiciary Committee. SB 1006 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary, Criminal Justice, and Rules Committees. Read AKC’s alert opposing this legislation.

Florida – HB 1047/SB 1300, supported by AKC, seek to increase protections for police canines, fire canines, search and rescue canines, and police horses. HB 1047 passed in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee was reported out of the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, and now is in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 1300 passed in the Senate Criminal Justice and Senate Judiciary Committees and was on the agenda of the Senate Rules Committee for April 19.

Florida – HB 1117SB 554 / SB 1600 address veterinary telemedicine. HB 1117 passed in the House and is referred to the Senate Rules Committee. SB 554 and SB 1600 are both assigned to the House Agriculture, Regulated Industries, and Rules Committees.

Florida – HB 1581/SB 1492 are unreasonable, punitive, and overreaching dog breeder bills that seek to regulate owners of a single intact female dog. Associated bills HB 1583, HB 1585, SB 1494, and SB 1496 address funding mechanisms for the bills. Rep. Linda Chaney, sponsor of HB 1581/1583/1585 reports that she is withdrawing her bills. S 1492 is assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee, Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment & General Government, and Fiscal Policy Committees  Read AKC’s most recent alert on these bills.

Florida – HB 7063 is a bill proposed and advanced by the House Ways & Means Committee that, among numerous other provisions, seeks to create sales tax holidays for purchases of supplies necessary for the evacuation of household pets. Necessary supplies must be noncommercial purchases subject to price limitations that include pet foods, portable kennels/carriers, pet beds, and other items.

Georgia – HB 217 is an animal fighting bill that contains potentially problematic prohibitions on possessing, purchasing, or selling “fighting related objects.” AKC and the Georgia Canine Coalition seek clarifying language so that use of treadmills and other common dog training, conditioning, and physical therapy “objects” cannot be misinterpreted. The bill is assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and carries over to the 2024 session.

Georgia – HB 423/SB 155 increase protections for public safe animals, which include law enforcement and search and rescue animals. SB 155 passed in both chambers and was sent to the Governor on April 5.

Georgia – HB 573 seeks to restrict sales and transfers of pets on roadsides, parking lots, and certain other public areas. It is assigned to the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and carries over to the 2024 session.

Georgia – SB 142 seeks to problematically expand the definition of “dangerous dog” to include any dog that “demonstrates a propensity for domination or aggressive behavior as indicated by any of the following types of conduct:  (i) Unprovoked barking, when people are present; (ii) Aggressively running along fence lines when people are present; or (iii) Escaping confinement or restraint to chase people.” Among other requirements, the owner of a “dangerous dog” would be required to provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 specific to bodily injury or property damage caused by the dog. This overreaching bill has 36 co-sponsors. It is assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee and carries over to the 2024 session.

Georgia – SR 344 seeks to recognize May 1 as Purebred Dog Day. It is assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.

Hawaii – As introduced, House Bill 871/Senate Bill 612 seeks to require that sellers or providers of emotional support animals (ESAs), and sellers or providers of certificates, identifications, tags, vests, leashes, and harnesses for ESAs, provide a disclaimer that an ESA is not a service animal under state law.  AKC’s concern about these bills is their use of the term “rights” and similar language to describe the relationship of animals and the law, and requested amendments to clarify that rights and privileges inure to service dog users, not the dogs.  HB 871 has been amended and is on its third reading in the House.  An amended SB 612 has passed the Senate and is currently pending in the House.

Hawaii – House Bill 1513 seeks to limit civil and criminal liability for individuals who remove unattended animals from motor vehicles that are in physical danger.  AKC is concerned that HB 1513 could lead to unintended consequences that could actually harm animals and punish responsible owners, and should be amended to allow for recourse for an owner who did take proper steps to ensure their animal’s safety was protected (such as proper ventilation, air conditioning, blankets, or other protocols appropriate for the breed).  Owners should also be exempt from liability for their dog harming someone as a result of breaking into the vehicle, which would be especially important if the animal flees the car and becomes at-large.  An amended version of the bill is on third reading in the House.

Illinois – House Bill 1049 would prohibit homeowners’ and renters’ insurers from canceling, refusing, or raising premiums for coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the insured.  AKC supports this bill, which is a good first step in protecting resident Illinois dog owners.  It passed the Senate on March 23 is pending consideration by the full Senate.

Illinois – Senate Bill 1499 would allow for a person to face forfeiture of their animals for virtually any violation of state law regarding the care of animals, even without a conviction.  AKC and IFDCO expressed concerns about the one-size-fits- all nature of this punishment which could include minor, correctable infractions that do not rise to the level of a serious offense.  An amendment was added to remove the reference to basic standards of care and only apply this to violations of cruelty laws.  The bill as amended passed the Senate and is pending in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

Indiana – HB 1121/SB 134 seek to prohibit local governments from banning the retail sale of pets from specific sources.  AKC GR and its state federation expressed concerns over the bills as introduced, as they created new definitions of “hobby breeder” and “casual breeder”.  The sponsors and chairs agreed to amend the bills to address these concerns, and also added consumer protection language for pet store sales.  SB 134 passed the Senate on February 20 and both bills remain pending in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and are expected to be considered soon.

Iowa – HF 651 makes several changes to animal control laws, including prohibiting local governments from passing breed-specific laws and clarifying laws regarding at-large dogs.  The bill overwhelmingly passed the House on April 12 and is pending committee assignment in the Senate.

Kansas – HB 2437– would make changes to the Kansas Pet Animal Act. The most concerning provision would require dog owners that have their dogs seized to pay the cost of care of a dog within 10 days of receiving a bill and if they fail to pay the bill their dogs will be deemed abandoned and available for adoption. The bill was heard in late March but it remains pending in the House Agriculture Committee.

Kentucky – HB 103 sought to expand Kentucky’s animal cruelty provisions. Although HB 103 contained certain protective provisions, AKC GR joined sportsmen’s groups in expressing concerns about the bill as originally filed. As introduced, HB 103 would have provided that a dog with a parasite, such as a tick or flea, was suffering from “physical infirmity” that could result in a felony charge of “torture” against the owner. The definition of physical infirmity in the bill was amended to read in part, “mange or other skin disease or parasitic infestation that has been refused medical care.” HB 103, as amended, passed in the House, but did not advance in Senate committees and failed when the legislature adjourned.

Kentucky – HB 115 includes electronics detection dogs in the state’s definition of “service animal” and thereby extends protections under existing law that make assault on a service animal a felony. The bill also includes a definition of and protections for a “police dog.”  AKC monitored this bill through its final form, which was signed by the Governor on 4/4/23 and enacted as Acts Ch. 169.

Kentucky – HB 212 addressed dangerous dog law and sought to expand certain penalties, including prohibitions on owning dogs for five years. The bill did not advance during the 2023 session and failed when the legislature adjourned.

Kentucky – HB 294/SB 56 sought to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits, but did not restrict pet stores from “showcasing” pets from animal shelters and nonprofit organizations that “adopt” animals. Showcasing of pets would have been prohibited for any entity that is affiliated with a breeder, thereby excluding many club-related volunteer dog rehoming groups. Neither bill received a committee hearing and failed when the legislature adjourned.

Kentucky – HB 321 attempted to problematically amend vicious dog law. It included: a prohibition on the possession of dogs for certain offenses; an expansion of animal confiscation provisions; establishing cost of care requirements for confiscated animals and forfeiture of the dogs if not paid by the owner; and granting immunity for releasing a dog from a vehicle without consideration of consequences of such action. HB 321 failed in the House Judiciary Committee when the legislature adjourned.

Kentucky – SB 92 as amended, would have included provisions regarding the definitions of assistant dog and emotional support animal; provided that a therapeutic relationship with a healthcare provider does not include transactions for documentation of disability in exchange for fee unless there has been a face-to-face in-office consultation with the health care provider; and made it a violation to misrepresent a dog as an assistance dog to gain accommodation. AKC GR supported the bill in principle, but was concerned that, as introduced, it contained certain provisions potentially in violation of federal law. A corrected committee substitute bill passed in the Senate, but did not advance in the House and failed when the legislature adjourned.

Kentucky – SB 230 sought to create procedures for seizing agencies to petition a court to order payment of animal care costs by the owner of impounded animals. It failed in the Senate Agriculture Committee when the legislature adjourned.

Maine – LD 350 prohibits property insurance companies from discriminating based on dog breed. AKC GR testified in support at a February 14 hearing.  At a committee work session in March, the committee received a commitment from the state insurance agency to publicly share homeowner insurers’ policies relative to available coverage based upon dog breed.  The bill was then voted ought not to pass.

Maine – LD 679 would require a tenant to designate an authorized person to retrieve an animal from the tenant’s rental unit in the event of the tenant’s death or incapacitation or the tenant’s abandonment of the animal. The bill also requires the landlord to surrender the animal to an animal shelter, an animal control officer or a police officer if the authorized person fails to retrieve the animal. The Joint Committee on Judiciary scheduled a hearing for March 23, and the bill has been carried forward.

Maine LD 1121 would provide that the Commissioner of Public Safety develop programs to train animal control officers rather than the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. It also would require the Commissioner of Public Safety, rather than the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to certify all animal control officers who successfully complete the training programs. On April 3, testimony by the Maine Animal Control Association indicated that training is lacking to properly prepare animal control officers for dangerous situations they encounter and cross over to law enforcement matters.

 Maine – LD 1216 would establish the Animal Cruelty Task Force to provide a coalition of trained professionals available to animal control officers in the field to assist with and enhance the enforcement of animal cruelty laws. At the April 3 hearing, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry offered that the current Animal Welfare Advisory Council could provide this support if their authority were amended.

Maryland – HB 1039/SB 72 sought to establish a task force to study matters relating to pet–friendly housing, including:  financial incentives that have potential to influence rental housing owners to create more pet–friendly housing; insurance or liability structures that place burdens on the ability of landlords to offer pet–friendly housing; and barriers on varied sizes and breeds that prohibit landlords from allowing pets; and make recommendations on how to financially incentivize the expansion of pet–friendly housing.  SB 72 was amended from its original form during the Senate committee hearing process.  It originally provided for a state tax for pet-friendly housing.  SB 72 passed the Senate and was assigned to the House Environment and Transportation Committee.  HB 1039 was heard in House Environment and Transportation Committee by was not voted on prior to crossover.  The session ended on April 10.

Massachusetts – SB 1056 would, among other provisions, require a minimum of 100 square feet per dog for outdoor enclosures and ban the kenneling of any dog outside unattended for more than 5 hours or from 10pm to 6am.  AKC opposes the measure as introduced. An alert was issued regarding an April 4 hearing before the Joint Judiciary Committee to consider SB 1056 and other re-filed animal bills of concern.

Massachusetts – On April 4, AKC testified in support of HB 1480 and HB 1481 at the Joint Judiciary Committee hearing.  These bills would establish a commission to study the misrepresentation of service animals and issue penalties for those who intentionally misrepresent their animal as a service animal.

Minnesota – AKC supports both House File 831 and Senate File 371, which seek to prohibit certain housing developments from imposing breed-specific or weight-based dog ownership restrictions on tenants.  Under these bills, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency would require each housing development that is financed on or after January 1, 2024, to authorize a resident to own or otherwise maintain one or more common household pets within the resident’s dwelling unit, subject to applicable state laws and local government ordinances and other reasonable conditions.  “Reasonable conditions” are defined as nuisance behaviors, leashing requirements, requirements to carry liability insurance coverage, limits on the number of animals in a unit based on the unit’s size, and prohibitions on dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs.  The bills also limit housing developments from imposing (1) breed restrictions, (2) limits on the weight of a pet, and (3) one-time nonrefundable or monthly maintenance fees, which are explicitly excluded from the definition of “reasonable conditions”.  After conducting a hearing February 15, HF 831 remains pending in the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee.  SF 371 remains pending in the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee after it considered the bill in a hearing on February 16.

Minnesota – House File 758 and Senate File 566 would define “declawing” and “devocalizing”, and prohibit landlords from (1) advertising the availability of a property in a manner designed to discourage anyone from applying for occupancy because an applicant’s animal has not been declawed or devocalized, (2) refusing to allow occupancy or otherwise make unavailable a real property because of a person’s refusal to declaw or devocalize an animal, and (3) requiring a tenant or occupant to declaw or devocalize an animal allowed on the premises.  AKC supports both bills.  After conducting a hearing February 15, HF 758 remains pending in the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee.  SF 556 remains pending in the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee after it considered it on February 16.

Minnesota – AKC supports House File 1532, which seeks to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against owners of certain breeds.  HF 1532 was considered by the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on March 14, which laid the bill over for possible inclusion in a committee omnibus bill.  Click here for more information.  

Missouri – HB 630/SB 132 would establish new provisions to protect the rights of owners when their animals are seized on suspicion of cruelty. This includes: ensuring that animals are returned to their owner if they are found not guilty; prohibiting the shelters from sterilizing the animals unless necessary to save a life; and allowing the animals to be housed with a trusted third party that is not a shelter or rescue (which could include co-owners and breeders).  An amendment was added to HB 630 on the House floor to protect pet stores from local regulation prohibiting their operation.  AKC GR and its state federation support these bills.  HB 630 passed the House and was assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committees on April 6.  SB 132 had a public hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee and remains pending.

Montana – Currently, Montana does not have state laws regarding the regulation of emotional support animals and rental housing. HB-703 allows a landlord to request certain supporting information regarding a tenant’s need for an emotional support animal.  The bill has passed the House and Senate and awaits a decision by the governor. AKC is monitoring this proposal.

Montana – SB-280 would institute a low-cost licensing system for bird dog training of game birds not raised in captivity. It has overwhelming passed the Senate and House and awaits further action by the governor. AKC is monitoring the bill.

Nebraska LB 11 would make household pets eligible to appear on protection orders. AKC is monitoring this legislation.

Nebraska LB 296 establishes the pet insurance act which defines terms related to pet insurance and requires a pet insurer to provide specific disclosures and protections to the purchaser of pet insurance. AKC has not taken a position on the bill but we continue to closely monitor it.

New Hampshire – SB 268 would allow for pre-hospital treatment and transportation for police canines injured in the line of duty. The Senate Committee on Judiciary heard testimony from AKC and other supporters March 7 and immediately voted the bill favorably from committee. The Senate voted it favorably on March 16. AKC and many others testified in support before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on March 29.

Nevada – AB-86 revises animal cruelty laws in the state. AKC worked extensively with the sponsor to ensure that the revision protects responsible dog owners. This proposal has advanced unanimously out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. AKC supports the bill as currently constructed.

Nevada – AB-87 seeks to clarify rules surrounding owners and their service animals when in public places. The proposal had been referred to the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee, but it will not advance this year.

Nevada – SB-190 revises provisions relating to immunity from civil and criminal liability for certain actions taken to protect or remove a child or pet from a car. AKC appreciates certain requirements in the bill (from past bill iterations), but, however, remains concerned and has asked for amendments to protect the owners from liability if there was no wrongdoing. The bill has unanimously passed the Senate and awaits further action in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 1965 seeks to provide for an advocate in cases involving animals, and is a reintroduction of legislation considered in the 2020-2021 legislative session.  Like its predecessor, A.1965 initially featured troublesome findings, which were removed by the Judiciary Committee. A.1965 was also amended to create a two-year initial term for the program. The bill still fails to explicitly state that animals are to be considered property under New Jersey law. AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey, along with allied animal interest groups, continue to oppose A.1965. Click here for more information.

New Jersey –  Assembly Bill 4920 seeks to regulate “residential kennels”, defined as a “residential property owned or rented by a person on or at which the person keeps, houses, or otherwise possesses 15 to 25 dogs.”  It would impose numerous requirements on residential kennels, including municipal licensing and inspection requirements, commercial kennel operation standards, and onerous recordkeeping requirements.  AKC is concerned with S.4920’s impact on breeders, its risk of violation of privacy rights, and its potential to lead to the elimination of “residential kennels” in municipalities that choose not to issue licenses.  The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture and Food Safety Committee.

New Jersey – As introduced, Senate Bill 333 sought to prohibit persons convicted of criminal animal cruelty offenses from owning domestic companion animals and from working or volunteering at animal-related enterprises.  AKC expressed deep concerns with section 2 of the bill, which would have allowed a court to order (1) the forfeiture of any animal owned by an animal cruelty offender and (2) the transfer of such animal to the custody of an animal shelter. In effect, the section failed to protect the property interests of co-owners not in possession of a dog at the time of the offense.  A significantly amended version of S.333 that addresses AKC’s concerns unanimously passed the Senate.  The bill is now under the cognizance of the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 2354 and Senate Bill 981 seek to add troublesome “cost of care” provisions that could be used to erroneously deprive individuals of their property by mandating forfeiture if they fail to pay assessed costs for care of seized animals, regardless of whether the individual is found not guilty. Despite conflicts with provisions in amended S.333, S.981 was approved unamended by the Senate in march 2022.  One year later, the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee considered both bills.  An amendment addressing one of AKC’s concerns was incorporated into the bill text prior to approval and rereferral to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey continue to work with sponsors of the legislation to address ongoing concerns.

New Jersey – Senate Bill 1803 seeks to prohibit declawing procedures from being performed on cats and other animals unless deemed necessary for a therapeutic purpose by a licensed veterinarian.  AKC opposes this measure because it may prohibit common and accepted animal husbandry practices from being performed on dogs.  The bill was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee on February 16, and has been rereferred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.  Click here for more information.

New York – A. 111/S.1659 would allow a court to appoint an advocate to represent the interest of animals in cruelty cases.  AKC is opposing these bills, which are pending in their respective Judiciary Committees.

New York – A. 1149/S. 4163 would prohibit renter’s insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the renter.  AKC supports this legislation, which is pending in their respective Insurance Committees.

New York – A. 3976 and S. 4084 would allow for both compensatory and punitive damages for the wrongful injury or death of an animal.  AKC GR opposes these bills, which are pending in their respective Judiciary Committees.

New York – S. 142/A. 3569 would ban debarking in the state unless necessary to alleviate an illness or injury.  AKC GR is expressing concerns with these bills, which are pending in their respective Agriculture Committees.

North Dakota – House Bill 1364 would clarify when a dog may be considered a public nuisance.  As currently worded, any dog outside the property of the dog’s owner which enters the property of another without the permission of the property owner, and subsequently harasses individuals who are lawful entrants on the property, may be considered a public nuisance. If a dog enters a property and the dog’s owner is unknown, it is presumed to have entered that property without permission of the property’s owner.  After passing the Senate, HB 1364 failed to pass a concurrent vote in the House.

Oklahoma HB 1570 would make it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a service animal. It has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Oklahoma SB 349/HB 2059 would repeal the existing commercial dog breeder and animal shelter licensing reporting requirement. AKC has actively supported this bill throughout the legislative process and it has been passed in both the House and the Senate and the bills were heard in committees of the opposite chambers.

Oklahoma HB 1992 would establish a “dog and cat bill of rights” that states that dogs and cats have the right to be respected as sentient beings and further requires rescues and shelters to post notice that a dog or cat deserves to be spayed or neutered, deserves to be free from cruelty and deserves mental stimulation and exercise. A similar bill was introduced last year in California but the bill was amended and removed the language asserting that these animals have rights at the request of AKC, veterinarians, animal shelters and numerous other animal welfare groups. This bill has not yet been heard.

Oregon  SB-496 would amend state Emergency Housing Account to include funding to be used for grants to assist pets of individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and for domestic violence survivors and their pets when accessing the shelter system. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Housing and Development Committee and referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. AKC supports this bill.

Oregon  SB-696 appropriates money to Department of Justice out of General Fund to fund animal cruelty focused attorney within department’s Criminal Justice Division. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Although the AKC supports strong animal cruelty laws, concerns remain about the intent of this bill.

Oregon – HB-2915 would end the sale of dogs and cats while exempting stores that currently sell such pets. The bill passed out of the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for an April 19 hearing. AKC has concerns over the erosion of consumer protections with the limitation of pet store sales of dogs and cats.

Oregon  HB-3571 establishes immunity from prosecution for theft and civil liability for nonprofit animal rescue entity that takes possession of, keeps and disposes of cat or dog by if that the person who transfers the cat or dog to the animal holding agency believes the cat or dog to be lost, stray or abandoned. The bill was heard in the House Judiciary Committee (with proposed amendments) but will not advance this year. AKC continues to monitor this issue.

Pennsylvania – The “Dog Law Modernization Act” is soon to be introduced legislation seeking to increase dog licensing fees, kennel licensing fees, eliminate “non-profit” kennel definition by defining shelters and rescues, improve sharing of information provided to consumers obtaining a dog from all licensed sources, and clarify language related to dangerous dogs.  AKC participated in a stakeholder meeting ahead of the final drafting of the legislation and will continue to provide input as appropriate.

South Carolina – H 3238, among other provisions, seeks to require a person, on a second conviction for certain offenses, to forfeit all animals and to not own an animal for up to five years, regardless of the nature or severity of the offense. This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

South Carolina – H 3682 and similar S 456 seek to eliminate necessary protections under current law regarding the award of costs of care for a confiscated animal. It provides that a hearing would only determine if confiscation was authorized, thereby trampling due process rights of the accused. H 3682 was minimally amended and passed in the House. The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources referred S 456 back to subcommittee for additional discussion, and legislative staff indicated that “extensive” amendments are recommended. S 456 will next be heard again by the full Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. View AKC’s most recent alert on S 456.

South Carolina – H 3247 seeks to increase penalties for maltreating a police K9. It is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Tennessee – HB 45 has been withdrawn. The bill sought to add to a defense to a claim for civil damages based on killing or injuring a dog that the dog had been or was killing or worrying a person or wildlife.

Tennessee – HB 165/SB 451 seek to revise certain provisions for a “guide dog” in training and the penalties for misrepresentation of service or support animal. HB 165 was amended to also address situations under which a place public accommodation may ask a person to remove a guide dog or guide dog in training and has passed in the House. SB 451 has passed in the Senate, the House amendment was adopted, and it was transmitted to the Governor on April 12.

 Tennessee – HB 398/SB 183 seek to require mental health evaluation and treatment for juveniles who commit aggravated animal cruelty under certain circumstances. HB 398 is on the calendar of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 183 passed in the Senate. HB 398 passed in two committees and will next be considered in the House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee.

Tennessee – HB 467/SB 568, pursuant to a divorce, annulment, or alimony action, would allow a court to provide for the ownership or joint ownership of any pet or companion animal owned by the parties, taking into consideration the well-being of the animal. HB 467 failed in the Children & Family Affairs Subcommittee of House Civil Justice Committee. SB 568 has passed in the Senate.

Tennessee – HB 472/SB 195, as originally filed, would have established overreaching requirements and engineering standards for “necessary shelter” for a dog. At the request of committee members, AKC  submitted recommended amendments that would provide protection for dogs without enacting unreasonable sheltering requirements that could result in confiscation and forfeiture of animals if a dog owner does not strictly comply. Both bills were favorably amended.  SB 195 passed in the committees and was placed on the Senate Regular Calendar for April 18. View AKC’s most recent alert on these bills. 

Tennessee – HB 991/SB 836 seek to prohibit an insurer of homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, or insurance that covers a manufactured or mobile home from making certain changes to or refusing to issue a policy based solely on the specific breed or mixture of breeds of a dog that lives or is cared for on the property. AKC supports breed-neutral legislation. HB 991 is assigned to the House Insurance Subcommittee. SB 836 is assigned to the General Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

Tennessee – HB 1126/SB 1320 seek to require a judge to order payment of restitution by an owner who is convicted of allowing their dog to run loose and the dog causes bodily injury or death to another person, or damages another person’s property, including the award of incidental and consequential damages. SB 1320 passed in both chambers and was transmitted to the Governor on April 13.

Tennessee – HB 1320/SB 835 seek to criminalize restraining a dog with a chain, cord, tether, cable, or similar device under certain weather forecasts and during evacuation orders. A person would not be subject to prosecution unless the person previously received a warning citation. The bills do not consider that forecasted conditions may not occur where the dog is kept, or that tethers can be used to safely restrain a dog prior to or during an evacuation. HB 1320 is referred to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 835 was referred by the Senate Judiciary Committee to the General Subcommittee of Senate Judiciary Committee and is unlikely to be considered this year. View AKC’s most recent alert on these bills. 

Texas HB 66 would require anyone who operates a kennel and engages in business related to boarding, breeding, training and hunting in exchange for compensation must install a fire system in the kennel that includes a sprinkler system and must retain an employee on site at all times if they house more than three dogs. The bill has not yet been heard in committee.

Texas HB 80 would allow municipal animal control officers to manage aggressive dogs outside their municipal jurisdiction if an affidavit is signed by two residents of separate households requesting assistance and alleging that a dog has repeatedly attacked humans, or other animals or asserting that due to the presence of a dangerous or aggressive dog the jurisdiction is unsafe.

Texas HB 274/SB 876/HB 2238 would amend the cat and dog breeder act and require anyone who possesses 5 or more intact females to become licensed and regulated as a dog breeder. Current law requires licensure if a person owns 11 or more intact females and sells more than 20 animals in a calendar year. Similar legislation was introduced during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session but did not receive any committee hearings. AKC has expressed these concerns to the bill sponsor and will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide updates as necessary. Both bills were substituted recently in committee and now include exemptions for those that breed dogs for participating in conformation shows. While AKC appreciates the amendment we remain concerned that this legislation will impact home-based hobbyists and dog owners that do not compete in AKC events. AKC continues to meet with lawmakers to oppose the bill unless further amended.

Texas HB 309 would require rescues and shelters to collect a refundable $75 fee for any dog or cat purchased. The fee would be reimbursed to individuals that show proof of sterilization.

Texas HB 598 creates an offense for the possession of an animal by a person convicted of animal cruelty. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for those who have been convicted of animal cruelty to exercise control of any animal or to reside in a household with an animal present.

Texas HB 674 would require licensed breeders to provide a bill of sale to the purchaser of any animal sold. The bill of sale must include the name of the breeder and license number, a description of the animal sold, and the amount paid for the animal. AKC is currently monitoring this legislation.

Texas HB 870/SB 1989 would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs sourced from breeders and would only allow pet stores to sell dogs sourced from rescues and shelters. A similar bill went through both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate in 2021 but the bill did not receive final approval from the legislature due to some last-minute changes. AKC has expressed concerns with this legislation to the sponsor and will continue to work to educate the legislature about our position on pet choice. The bills have not yet been scheduled for hearings.

Texas HB 1014/HB 1159/SB 2349 requires a housing authority that allows tenant ownership of a pet to comply with county or municipal laws related to dangerous dogs. HB 1159 has been voted out of committee and is pending a vote on the House floor.

Texas HB 1348 would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations that regulate the practice of veterinary medicine or that prohibits a veterinarian from performing a procedure that is not already prohibited by state law.

Texas HB 3081 would repeal the Texas Dog and Cat Breeder Act in its entirety which requires state licensing for certain dog breeders. The bill would repeal all the recommended licenses that the Texas Sunset Commission voted to sunset in 2020 but did not ultimately sunset because a few legislators moved to sever the sunsets. The Commission found that Dog and Cat Breeder Act has not remained revenue neutral and most Texans rely on laws that predate the Dog and Cat Breeder Act to protect dogs.

 Texas HB 3587 would require mandatory sterilization for an at large dog after it has been caught by an agency a second time. The bill would apply to the entire lifetime of a dog and includes some exemptions for members of breed clubs, all breed clubs and national clubs but AKC is concerned about this bill as written and will oppose the measure.  The bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Texas HB 4280 would prohibit local governments from regulating the sales of dogs and cats at for profit businesses. This legislation would protect both pet stores and breeders. AKC has met with the bill sponsor to offer our support for his legislation.

Texas SB 2226/HB 4909 are identical bills that will allow animal control officers to observe a dog and determine it to be dangerous. Existing state law requires a witness to a dangerous dog to file a sworn affidavit in order for a dog to be deemed dangerous. This bill further provides disclosure protections for individuals that file an affidavit that determines a dog to be dangerous.

Texas HB 3563 would also regulate the sales of dogs at pet stores but it would still allow stores to sell dogs sourced from qualified breeders that are regulated by the USDA, TDLR or another state. AKC is neutral on this legislation but it is a better alternative to HB 870.

Texas HB 2127 would prohibit local control of industries that are already state and/or federally regulated. An amendment was accepted into the bill yesterday that would prohibit local governments from regulating the retail sales of dogs and cats but all local laws related to the sales of dogs and cats made prior to April 1, 2023 will remain until the state passes statewide pet store regulations. The bill is on the House floor and debate will continue.

Texas HB 3397 would allow dog chiropractors to provide chiropractic services without the supervision of a veterinarian.

Texas HB 2063 would require a kennel facility that houses dogs in exchange for pay or consideration to provide informed consent if dogs will be left unattended and if there is not fire sprinkler system installed. AKC has met with the sponsor to clarify who the bill applies to and to ensure the bill does not require private homes to sign informed consent.

Vermont – H. 466 is an omnibus bill crafted by the House Government Operations Committee that passed the House on March 22 to make technical corrections to state law.  Among its provisions, is a section on page 24 that would update the Livestock Standards Advisory Council. H. 466 has been sent to the Senate Agriculture Committee which has recently called in the state veterinarian to review how the state is coordinating and responding to animal cruelty complaints. AKC and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs have been closely monitoring these deliberations.

Washington – HB1012  provides state funding to localities for warming and cooling centers so people and their pets will be safe during extreme weather events. The bill has passed overwhelming out of the House and is currently before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The AKC strongly supports this bill.

Washington – HB-1234 lowers the threshold for an owner’s animals to be seized due to animal cruelty accusations. As currently constructed, the bill does not guarantee the return of animals in the event an owner is found free of any animal cruelty. AKC does appreciate the bill amendments that could return money paid for boarding an animal during judicial proceedings and attorney’s fees if the owner is found innocent. The bill unanimously passed by the House and Senate, and awaits action by the governor.

Washington – HB-1424 originally ended dog and cat sales at all pet stores in the state; the bill has now been amended to allow pet stores to continue to sell dogs and cats if they source animals from USDA licensed breeders and adhere to state and local regulations. AKC appreciates these amendments; however, AKC is concerned with another amendment that would remove the exemption for number of intact dogs allowed if a breeder was USDA licensed before January 1, 2010, thereby subjecting them to the state’s ownership limit law. The amended bill has passed the House and Senate and awaits action by the governor.

Washington – HB-1634 would end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against specific breeds of dog when writing insurance policies. The bill did not make it out of its house of origin by the March 8 deadline and will not advance this year. AKC supports this bill and looks forward to working on a future version.