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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 as pre-filed seeks to prohibit inmates from participating in training of dogs for tracking humans. AKC is monitoring this legislation.

California – AB-240: This proposal 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 been referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Revenue and Taxation. AKC is monitoring this legislation.

California –AB-781 would require a county, on or before July 1, 2024, to update its emergency plan to designate emergency shelters able to accommodate persons with pets. The bill is waiting to be referred to the relevant committee. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB-742 would prevent the use of police canines for the purpose of arrest, apprehension, or any form of crowd control. The bill is waiting to be referred to the relevant committee. AKC is currently reviewing the bill and will be providing additional information.

Connecticut – On February 16, the Judiciary Committee raised SB 1060 that would expand the court’s authority to appoint an attorney to represent animals generally. The goal of animal rights activists is to give animals the same rights and privileges as people by changing the legal classification of animals from property to “legal beings”. Although the concept of individual animal advocates may sound benevolent, in practice it can create problems that undermine the larger goals of animal welfare.  AKC opposes SB 1060. Learn more here.

Connecticut – HB 6714 would redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal, require that veterinarians report suspected incidents of animal cruelty, and prohibit persons convicted of animal cruelty or having sexual contact with an animal from possessing or working with animals for a period of five years.  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 and will seek an amendment to clarify the text.

Connecticut – SB 1069 would make many changes to the domestic animal laws. The definition of “animal” would be expanded, licensed “grooming facility” would now include any vehicle or trailer and the definition of “kennel” which allows for personal kennels would be removed.  Instead, SB 1069 would establish that any owner who breeds more than two litters of dogs annually must apply to the town clerk where their “facility” is located for a breeding kennel license.  Municipal animal control officers, instead of the Department of Agriculture, would be responsible for inspections and the enforcement of newly detailed care and conditions.

Connecticut – Established in Public Act No. 22-54, the Department of Agriculture convened a workgroup to explore a state-wide dog license portal last year. AKC and the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO) participated along with other stakeholders. The Department submitted draft legislation raised by the Joint Environment Committee as HB 6611.  An additional benefit of the electronic dog license portal proposed is a flat dog license fee whether a dog is intact or not.  The Department requested the committee make changes to HB 6611 to mirror the working group’s draft and AKC and CFDRDO submitted testimony in support of those changes for the public hearing on February 15.  AKC testified and has asked the committee add text to ensure personally identifiable information in the database will be kept confidential.

Connecticut – HB 5450 would prohibit discrimination in insurance underwriting based on the breed of a homeowner’s dog.  Representative Nuccio has filed this bill after successfully getting a model act adopted by the National Council of Insurance Lawmakers last year. AKC sent an alert noting these protections had been raised by committee for a hearing February 16 as HB 6635.  AKC, multiple dog clubs and members submitted testimony in support together with the Connecticut Federation.

Connecticut – HB 5469 would facilitate the annual licensing of dogs by requiring by businesses concerned with the care of dog to provide information about licensing laws,.

 Connecticut – HB 5215 would establish a taskforce, including a representative of AKC, to develop recommendations for legislation to address the epidemic of domestic dog attacks in the state and to expedite appeals of animal control officer orders and minimize the time impounded animals are held at taxpayer expense. The Environment committee raised the bill for consideration. AKC testified in support at the public hearing on February 15 and requested that CFDRDO be added to the taskforce.

 Connecticut – HB 5109 and SB 75 would authorize the emergency treatment and transport of police K9s injured in the line of duty. The Committee on Public Safety and Security has drafted an omnibus bill, SB 932, which includes this authority and other provisions to protect law enforcement K-9s.  AKC issued an alert in support on February 3, 2023 and the committee received AKC written testimony for the hearing February 14.

Connecticut – SB 729 would establish the Siberian Husky as the CT state dog. AKC submitted a letter of support to the committee.

Connecticut – SB 53 would require veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal cruelty and neglect to the state. The Joint Committee on Environment held a public hearing on January 30, 2023, and AKC is monitoring the measure.

Connecticut – SB 309 would make the dog licensing fees equitable between dogs that are spayed or neutered and dogs that are not spayed or neutered. The bill sponsor has indicated they will also support this provision in the Department of Agriculture’s state-wide dog license portal legislation, HB 6611.

Connecticut – SB 976 would mandate health insurance coverage for certain conditions, including the need to purchase a trained service animal.  AKC supports the training and use of dogs by humans, whose lives are enriched by dogs’ performing essential services and submitted written testimony in support for the February 14 public hearing.  See alert for more details..

Delaware SB 37 seeks to name rescue dogs as the official state dog of Delaware.  Currently, the bill has been assigned to the Senate Elections & Government Affairs Committee and is awaiting consideration by the Committee.  The Senate is in recess until March 7, 2023, for budget hearings.

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 hide pet trafficking under the guise of rescue from public oversight. HB 157 has been referred to the Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee and additional committees. SB 518 has not yet received committee referrals.

FloridaSB 554 addresses veterinary telemedicine. The bill has not yet received a committee assignment. AKC is monitoring this legislation.

GeorgiaHB 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.

GeorgiaSB 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, growling, or snarling 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.

Hawaii – AKC opposes House Bill 849, which seeks to limit consumer choice by requiring pet stores to sell dogs obtained only from animal control or a shelter/rescue.  The House Committee on Agriculture and Food Systems considered the bill February 13, and deferred the measure. 

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.  Both bills have been amended in their first policy committee hearings, and have been further referred for additional committee consideration.

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.  The bill was amended and approved by the House Agriculture and Food Systems Committee on February 13.

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 was considered by the House Insurance Committee on February 21.  Read more.

Illinois – House Bill 1169 would provide a separate legal advocate (lawyer) for dogs or cats in court cases involving its health, safety, or an injury.  AKC opposes providing rights traditionally reserved for humans to animals, as is proposed here.  The bill is pending in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.  AKC and the Illinois federation have been in contact with the sponsor to request amendments.  Read more.

Illinois – House Bill 3200 would require genetic testing for all dogs owned by dog breeders.  If any “genetic defect or mutation that causes early death or physical impairments” is found, the dog must be immediately sterilized.  AKC GR is reaching out to the sponsor to discuss concerns with the bill, which is pending assignment in the Rules Committee.

Illinois – House Bill 3695 seeks to expand the laws prohibiting exotic animals from being used for exhibition in the state.  However, as introduced, the bill defines “exotic animal” as any animal that does not originate in the United States.  AKC GR has reached out to the sponsor asking for an amendment to clarify that this definition does not apply to domesticated animals, including dogs.  The bill is pending assignment in the Rules Committee.

Illinois – Senate Bill 1372 seeks to require licensing for all dog trainers in the state.  This would include handling, agility, CGC, performance events, and other training classes.  AKC GR, the Illinois federation, and multiple national dog training organizations are expressing significant concerns with this bill, which would only allow for one training philosophy and could result in severely limiting training options in the state.  AKC GR and the Illinois federation are reaching out to the sponsor to discuss concerns.  The bill is pending in the Senate Licensed Activities Committee.

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 is concerned about the one-size-fits- all nature of this punishment that could include minor, correctable infractions that do not rise to the level of a serious offense.  In addition, the threshold change from “convictions” to “violations” is a significant shift that could result in dog owners permanently losing their animals for offenses even if they are not convicted of a crime.  The bill was held in the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety on February 22 and remains pending.  Read more.

Illinois – Senate Bill 206 would establish a dangerous dog registry and increase the definition of dangerous dog to include minor injury to another companion animal.  AKC and the state federation are reaching out to the sponsor to discuss concerns and possible amendments.

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 is pending assignment in the House.

Kentucky HB 103 seeks to amend animal cruelty provisions. AKC will recommend certain friendly amendments to clarify this bill if it advances. It has not received a committee assignment.

Kentucky HB 115 seeks to expand provisions regarding protections for assistance dogs and working K9s. AKC supports this bill as introduced. It is assigned to the House Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee.

Kentucky SB 56 seeks to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits, but does not restrict pet stores from “showcasing” pets from animal shelters and nonprofit organizations that “adopt” animals. Showcasing of pets would be prohibited for any entity that is affiliated with a breeder, thereby excluding many club-related volunteer dog rehoming groups. The bill is assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Maine – LD 157 would require the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to adopt rules that set standards for animal rescue entities that specify staff-to-animal ratios and that govern animals that are returned multiple times and resold or placed in multiple homes.  At the February 23 work session, testimony highlighted the lack of enforcement until crisis situations arise.

Maine – LD 350 prohibits the cancellation or nonrenewal of a property insurance policy solely on the basis of a policyholder’s ownership of certain breeds of dogs. The bill . also prohibits an increase in the premium for the policy.  An alert has been issued, and AK GR testified in support at a February 14 hearing.  Opposition to the bill came from the insurance industry and the committee has requested the industry share what evidence they use to determine dog breed risk analysis.

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. It has been referred to the Joint Committee on Judiciary. 

Maryland HB 1039 seeks to establish a Task Force on Financial Incentives for Pet-Friendly Housing to study certain matters and make recommendations on how to financially incentivize the expansion of pet-friendly housing.  AKC GR is monitoring this bill and is reaching out to the sponsor and stakeholders to further discuss the legislation and possible inclusion of AKC membership on the Task Force.  The bill has been assigned to the House Environment and Transportation Committee with a hearing scheduled on March 7, 2023.

Massachusetts – HD 2483 would provide consumer protections at dog day care businesses and is supported by multiple animal welfare organizations, including AKC. 

Massachusetts – HD 2497 has been re-filed as “Ollie’s Law” and would impose requirements such as staffing ratios for boarding, training, dog day care, breeding and personal kennels.  AKC is opposed to the bill’s one size fits all approach and is monitoring it closely. 

Massachusetts – SD 2136 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.

Massachusetts – HD 2938 is a re-filed bill that would require pet groomers be licensed by the state and comply with regulations related to the safety, sanitation and operation of a pet grooming business. AKC is concerned that the proposed definition of “pet groomer” does not make an exception for professional dog handlers traveling to Massachusetts to exhibit a dog.

Massachusetts – HD 2216 would ban animal testing of cosmetic products when an alternative test method is available.

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.  

MinnesotaHouse 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.

Mississippi – HB 530 was an overreaching dangerous dog bill that sought to authorize confiscation of a dog following certain complaints. It also would have allowed a dog to be declared dangerous under loosely stated provisions. The bill included broad requirements regarding euthanasia of dogs declared dangerous and other problematic provisions. It died in the House Judiciary B Committee.

MississippiHB 548 sought to require certification of K-9 teams. It died in the House Judiciary B Committee.

MississippiHB 932 sought to clarify the crime and penalties for taking another person’s animal. It died in the House Judiciary B Committee.

Mississippi SB 2084 sought to allow the inclusion of pets in a protective order, and was supported by AKC as introduced. It died in the Senate Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi SB 2123 sought to increase penalties for harming a service animal and was supported by AKC as introduced. The bill died in the Senate Judiciary B Committee.

Mississippi – HB 1191/SB 2228 seek to establish provisions for the sale and renewal of pet insurance policies. HB 1191 passed in the House. SB 2228 passed in the Senate with amendments and was transmitted to the House where it has been referred to the House Insurance Committee.

Missouri – HB 296 would prohibit localities from enacting breed-specific laws.  AKC and its state federation support this bill, which is pending committee assignment.

Missouri – HB 630 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).  AKC GR and its state federation support this bill, which passed the House Agriculture Policy Committee on February 9. Read more.

Montana – HB 623 seeks to define and establish penalties for the harassment or harm of service animal. It does not seek to include penalties or financial compensation for emotional damages. The bill is slated to be heard in House Human Services Committee on Friday, February 24. AKC is monitoring this bill.

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.

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

Nevada – AB 86: This bill revises animal cruelty laws in the state. AKC is working with the sponsor to ensure that the revision protects responsible dog owners. This proposal has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee. AKC supports the bill as currently constructed.

Nevada – AB-87: This bill seeks to clarify rules surrounding owners and their service animals when in public places. The proposal has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee. As the bill is currently constructed, AKC has concerns that service dog owners may be adversely impacted. AKC is currently working with the sponsor to ensure that service dog owners are treated with fairness and respect.

New Hampshire – SB 268 would allow for pre-hospital treatment and transportation for police canines injured in the line of duty. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. 

New Hampshire – HB 37 is a re-filed bill that would establish a study on best practices for companion animal groomers. At the February 7 public hearing, lawmakers expressed a desire to ensure animals’ safety and groomer compliance with best practices without having to create a state occupational license. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee members are considering solutions. 

New Hampshire – HB 258 would establish a certification for animal chiropractors and require veterinary referral.  Amendments are in process and will be considered at an executive session scheduled for February 8. 

New Hampshire – HB 230 would direct the department of agriculture, markets, and food to employ an electronic data processing system for all registrations under its purview. It appears this would result in an expansion to the state pet vendor license database that is out for bid. It was voted ought to pass by the Executive Departments and Administration Committee and has been sent to Finance Committee. 

New Hampshire – HB 141 would authorize dogs off leash on certain hiking trails and state parks so long as owner has leash and dog in voice or physical control at all times.  The Resources, Recreation and Development Committee held a public hearing on January 18, 2023. 

New Hampshire – HB 260 would prohibit the operation of motor vehicles by drivers with animals on their laps or in contact.  Comments regarding exceptions for service dogs and dogs suffering an emergency on the way to the veterinarian have been submitted by residents. At a January 31 executive session of the House Committee on Transportation, the bill was voted inexpedient to legislate by a majority of members. 

New Hampshire – HB 249 would establish regulatory standards for the pet insurance industry. It has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs and a public hearing occurred on January 31. 

New Hampshire – In addition to defining biodiversity and requiring its inclusion in certain land use regulations, SB 164 would authorize entering into private contracts for “guardianship” appointments to preserve the rights of domestic animals and wild animals.  AKC issued an alert in opposition. AKC was joined by New Hampshire Dog Owners of the Granite State (NH DOGS) and multiple stakeholders testifying in opposition to the guardianship provisions of the bill. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee significantly amended the bill and removed the guardianship text before voting it ought to pass on February 15.

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 – Senate Bill 981 seeks 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, the bill was approved unamended by the Senate; and has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee. AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey continue to work with sponsors of the legislation to address concerns.

New Mexico – HB 239 prohibits animal shelters from euthanizing animals unless the animal has an untreatable illness or it is has caused serious injury to a person or domestic animal. The bill would also establish a database for missing pets and would allocate $3.3 million for low cost spay and neuter programs.

New Mexico – SB 249 would prohibit tethering a dog outside for longer than 3 hours. The bill includes some exemptions for working dogs, research and for veterinary care.  AKC GR is closely reviewing and monitoring this legislation, and is in contact with local kennel clubs.  

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/A. 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.  The bill awaits further consideration of the full House after it was approved by the Judiciary Committee. 

North Dakota – House Bill 1388 seeks to create a program under the oversight of the Attorney General to assist retired local and state law enforcement dogs.  As amended, the bill would allow a handler that possesses a retired enforcement dog to submit itemized receipts each quarter for medical bills, which will be reimbursed by the Attorney General, up to $1,000 per year.  HB 1388 also creates an annual appropriation of $30,000 for the program.  HB 1388 has passed the House and been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Oklahoma – SB 349/HB 2059 would repeal the existing commercial dog breeder and animal shelter licensing act under current Oklahoma law. AKC has reached out to the bill sponsor’s office and asked for more information on this legislation.

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. AKC is concerned that the language used in the bill implies that dogs and cats have rights. For this reason, AKC is requesting some changes to the language. 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.

Oklahoma – HB 1570 would make it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a service animal.  AKC supports this legislation.

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. On February 8, the bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Housing and Development Committee and will now be referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. AKC supports this bill and looks forward to supporting its passage into law.

OregonHB-2915 as introduced would end the sale of dogs and cats while exempting stores that currently sell such pets. The bill currently sits before the House Business and Labor. AKC has concerns over the erosion of consumer protections with the end of pet store sales of dogs and cats.

Oregon – Animal rights activists are collecting signatures to put a measure on the ballot that would essentially ban all hunting, prohibit certain breeding practices including artificial insemination, and restrict training practices. Other provisions would dramatically impact farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and even pest control.  The initiative was pulled for 2022 and is now being put forward for the 2024 ballot as Initiative Petition (IP) 3.  AKC is working with two broad coalitions to oppose the measure. This initiative is under renewed focus as a large donation was made allowing for paid signature gatherers.

Rhode Island – HB 5114 would permit the family court to award custody of household pets to the plaintiff in a domestic abuse complaint, including the enforcement remedy of a restraining order or other injunctive relief.

Rhode Island – HB 5207 is a re-filed bill that would establish an animal abuser registry and require pet sellers to check the registry before transferring an animal to avoid fines.  Everyone can agree that animals deserve a life in a safe, caring, and healthy environment. However, registries can be easily evaded and no evidence suggests they are effective at reducing the rate of subsequent offenses.  AKC believes a better use of the State’s resources than establishing and maintaining a separate registry would be to focus on and utilize enforcement activities that are proven effective and provided this testimony on February 14 before the House Judiciary Committee with other stakeholders.

Rhode Island – Elimination of the sales tax for taxi and pet services, such as grooming and boarding, would occur if SB 83 were enacted. AKC supports the bill.

South CarolinaH 3238 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 CarolinaH 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. The bill is referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. It was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee on February 23, 2023.

South CarolinaH 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.

TennesseeHB 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 is assigned to the Business & Utilities Subcommittee. SB 451 is referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

TennesseeHB 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 is assigned to the House Children & Family Affairs Committee. SB 568 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

TennesseeHB 472/SB 195 seek to establish overreaching requirements and engineering standards for “necessary shelter” for a dog. At the request of committee members, AKC has submitted recommended amendments that will provide protection for dogs without enacting unreasonable requirements that could result in confiscation and forfeiture of animals if a dog owner does not strictly comply. HB 472 is assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 195 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

TennesseeHB 398/SB 183 seek to require mental health evaluation and treatment for juveniles who commit aggravated animal cruelty under certain circumstances. HB 398 is assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 193 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

TennesseeHB 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 Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

TennesseeHB 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. This would eliminate judicial discretion, including consideration of the nature and scope of the circumstances and contributory factors. HB 1126 is assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 1320 is assigned the Senate Judiciary Committee.

TennesseeHB 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 assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 835 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

TexasHB 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 concerns to the bill sponsor and will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide updates as necessary.

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 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.

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 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 educate the legislature about our support for pet choice.

Texas HB 978 creates an offense of cruelty by a pet groomer if a groomer seriously injures or kills an animal. AKC is monitoring this legislation.

Texas HB 1014/HB 1159/SB 2349 require a housing authority that allows tenant ownership of a pet to comply with county or municipal laws related to dangerous dogs.

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

Utah – House Bill 359 as introduced would have required a permit for anyone who breeds and sells one dog in the state, with regulations to be developed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.  After discussions with the sponsor, numerous amendments were added to remove the permit requirements, exempt hobbyists, and ensure that the regulation of pet breeding facilities do not include private homes.  The bill has passed the House and is pending consideration by the full Senate.  Read more.

Vermont – HB 57 is a re-filed measure that was introduced to the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs on January 27.  The bill would require a dog trainer to inform a client of the methods and equipment that would be used to train a client’s dog and of the risks and benefits of those methods and equipment before obtaining the client’s consent to move forward.  AKC is monitoring the bill closely.

Vermont – Act 147 Report, Section 38 was filed by the Vermont Department of Public Safety with the House Government Operations, as required by passage of H. 729 last session.  The report outlines a plan, and draft legislation, to unify domestic animal welfare and related public safety functions across state government.  AKC and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs are currently reviewing and discussing the report details.

Virginia – HB 1984 as introduced seeks to amend the definition of “adequate water” in the Commonwealth Code to align with the federal Animal Welfare Act by specifying that for dogs, “adequate water” means water that is continuously available, unless restricted by a veterinarian, in a receptacle that is cleaned and sanitized before being used to provide water to a different dog or a different social grouping of dogs.  In conversations with the sponsor office, AKC GR has been informed that a substitute will be offered that eliminates the word “sanitized”, seeks to make it applicable only to commercial settings, and only requires “continuous access” when the dog is in its primary enclosure.  This bill was left in Committee.  Session ended on February 25, 2023. 

Virginia – HB 1985 seeks to codify regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services governing the keeping of dogs and cats by pet shops and pet shops to register and pay a $250 annual registration fee to the Department.  The bill also provides for the State Animal Welfare Inspector to conduct at least one unannounced, annual inspection of each pet shop and provides certain standards for the Inspector and pet shop owner in order to address any violations.  This bill was left in Committee.  Session ended on February 25, 2023. 

Virginia – HB 1451 provides for the assessment of a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation when a pet shop does not maintain a written record for each dog in its possession containing certain information or fails to post a notice stating that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspection reports are available prior to purchase. Currently, such violations are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.  This bill was left in Committee.  Session ended on February 25, 2023.

Washington – HB-1012 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 out of the House Innovation, Community & Economic Development, & Veterans Committee, House Appropriations Committee, and is currently before the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee. AKC strongly supports this bill.

Washington – Prior to any due process, HB-1234 lowers 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 would return money paid for boarding an animal during judicial proceedings and attorney’s fees if the owner is found innocent. The bill passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Washington  HB-1424 originally ended dog and cat sales at all pet stores in the state. As amended, the bill now allows pet stores to continue to sell dogs and cats as long as 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. The bill as amended has passed the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee and is currently before the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee.

Washington HB-1634 would end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against specific breeds of dogs when writing insurance policies. The bill is before the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee where it is being amended for clarity.  AKC supports this bill.

Washington  HB-1635 would serve to develop model standards for the training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl. Further, beginning January 1, 2025, a state or local government, law enforcement agency, or any employee of a state or local government or law enforcement agency is immune from civil damages arising from the use of a canine to detect fentanyl if following proper rules and procedures. AKC supports this bill.

West Virginia HB 3345 is comprehensive legislation seeking to enhance West Virginia’s animal welfare laws covering the care of animals by commercial breeders and private individuals.  The legislation would bring West Virginia law into alignment with reasonable, accepted animal husbandry and care laws. AKC worked with the sponsor, Delegate Dana Ferrell, to ensure reasonable language governing protection of dogs from the elements. The bill has been assigned to both the House Agriculture and House Judiciary Committees for review and will be discussed during 2023 interim sessions for possible action in 2024.