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Forty-four state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. The following are highlights of current, active legislation around the country:

Arizona – Senate Bill 1047 seeks to regulate dogs outdoors.  It provides specific exemptions for police and working dogs, hunting, training, “sporting and competitive functions”, and “lawful competitions”.  For dogs that primarily reside outdoors, the bill provides for requirements for an appropriate shelter, and requires bedding that can protect the dog during certain temperatures and extreme weather conditions.  It will be considered in the Natural Resources, Energy, and Water Committee on February 15.  Read more.

Arizona – Senate Bill 1204 expands current problematic law in matters relating to seizure of animals.  It expands when an animal may be seized and increases the amount of the bond required per animal to cover boarding, veterinary care and impound fees.  While the money will be returned if the owner is found not guilty, current law would still cause an owner to lose the animals if they do not pay the bond within 10 days. It also allows for third parties to care for the animal during the proceedings.  AKC is asking that the owner be given the right to approve who cares for the animal.  It will be considered in the Natural Resources, Energy, and Water Committee on February 15.  Read more.

California – AB-2042 is the amended version of 2023’s AB 742, which attempted to limit 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. AKC GR is working with impacted entities, including the US Police Canine Association as AB 2042 is considered in the Legislature.

Florida – HB 87/SB 632, among other provisions, seek to allow the use of lethal force against a bear when necessary to avoid an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to a person or pet, or substantial damage to a dwelling. Both bills passed in committees and have been referred to their respective House and Senate calendars.

FloridaHB 273/SB 660 seek to exempt from public records requirements the identifying information about persons, firms, associations, and other groups that adopt animals, provide foster care to animals, and all “other persons receiving legal custody of animals” from an animal shelter or animal control agency. This potentially would conceal the chain of ownership and transfer histories of animals diagnosed with diseases or parasitic conditions and that have bite histories or behavioral issues, all of which threaten public and animal health. Cloaking certain shelter records could also hide from public oversight pet trafficking under the guise of “rescue.” HB 273 is assigned to the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee, the Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee, and the State Affairs Committee. The bills passed in committees without a dissenting vote and will next be considered in the House and Senate. Read AKC’s most recent alert.

FloridaHB 297/SB 272 seek to authorize a court to appoint a separate advocate regarding an animal’s welfare in prosecutions and certain other court proceedings. AKC GR submitted a letter of concern on this legislation. SB 272 passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee and will next be heard by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. HB 297 is assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Judiciary Committee.

Florida – HB 873/SB 1156 seek to expand dangerous dog provisions and requirements and establish a dangerous dog registry. AKC GR recommended amendatory language. HB 873 was favorably amended in the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee, and will next be heard in the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and Judiciary Committee. SB 1156 was favorably amended in the Senate  Committee on Agriculture, and will next be heard in the Senate Judiciary and Fiscal Policy Committees. Read more about this legislation.

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 the 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 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.

Georgia – Senate Resolution 344, which commends the benefits and contributions of purebred dogs and recognizes May 1, 2024, as Purebred Dog Day in the State of Georgia, was adopted by the Georgia Senate on January 24, 2024. Click here then click “Current Version” to read the resolution in its entirety. Gail LaBerge, President of the Georgia Canine Coalition, worked tirelessly to advance this resolution. Read more.

Hawai’i – HB 2058 seeks to expand the state’s dangerous dog law.  Concern with the bill is limited to its proposed enforcement processes not providing appropriate opportunities for an owner to appeal (1) a declaration of their dog as dangerous, (2) spay/neuter requirements as an automatic operation of law, or (3) the automatic forfeiture of ownership if an owner is unable to pay for boarding/care costs.  An amended version of the bill passed the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, and is now pending in the House Finance Committee.  Click here for details on HB 2058.

Indiana – House Bill 1412 seeks to allow pet stores to continue to operate in the state and overturn current local retail bans that have already passed in several Indiana communities.  The bill would also mandate the registration of all rescues that transfer more than 12 dogs in the state, and allows for inspections of rescues if there are complaints about the care of the animals.  The bill has passed the House and had a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee on February 12.

Kansas – HB 2542 requires licensees under the Kansas Pet Animal Act to post a bond for the care of animals if they are seized by the Department of Agriculture for violations of the Act.  The posted bond prevents the sale or euthanasia of the animals until a final determination is made, at an administrative hearing, as to whether the animals may be returned to the owner. Failure to post a bond within 10 days  would result in the automatic legal transfer of the animals. AKC participated in several stakeholder meetings in late 2023 with the Department of Agriculture and a bill was drafted that addressed most of AKC’s concerns with the bond for care language. As of early January, the problematic bond for care language was reinserted in the bill. The bill has no limits on the amount of the bond/cost of care and AKC is concerned that even if someone does not mistreat their animals, they could ultimately lose ownership simply because they cannot afford to post a bond.   The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Agriculture Committee in February.

Maryland – Senate Bill 868 would lift the existing $10,000 cap on the compensatory damages for which a person who tortiously causes an injury to or death of a pet is liable.  The bill does not establish a new cap amount.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 29. 2024.

Massachusetts – In response to dog injuries and deaths at dog day care facilities, HB 2019 and SB 1309 have 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. They would authorize animal control officers to inspect and tell you how many dogs you are allowed to own and enforce a new “personal breeder kennel” license for anyone with more than 4 intact female dogs over 6 months who transfers any offspring. Personal breeder kennels and commercial breeder kennels would be held to the same future regulations. They had a hearing in the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee on September 26. Details are in AKC’s alert. On February 7 the committee requested an extension until June 14 to review these bills.

Massachusetts – HB 314 would provide consumer protections at dog day care businesses and is supported by multiple animal welfare organizations, including AKC. It has been referred to the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee.

Massachusetts – HB 2424 would establish a Retired Police Dog Care Fund. Police K9s are exceptional dogs that immeasurably enhance public safety.

Massachusetts – SB 876/HB 1367 would prohibit housing authorities and certain housing agreements from discriminating against tenants based upon the size, weight or breed of dog owned. They also prohibit insurance companies from discriminating based upon dog breed. The bills have been referred to the Joint Committee on Housing.

Massachusetts – SB 1311 would eliminate from current law text that exempts from pet shop licensure any person selling, exchanging or otherwise transferring the offspring of their personally owned animals. After a September public hearing in the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee the committee requested an extension until June 14 to consider it.  Read AKC’s alert.

Massachusetts – HB 801 would eliminate a 48 hour facility quarantine requirement when animals are imported from neighboring states for resale or imported directly to permanent or temporary Massachusetts foster homes. AKC is concerned HB 801 may reduce compliance and increase the risk of communicable disease spread to animals and people resident in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts – HB 747, HB 826, SB 549, and SB 550 would require Massachusetts licensed pet shops or future pet shops to only provide the public with dogs and cats sourced from animal shelter or rescue organizations. In AKC’s experience, the number of puppies produced by responsible breeders does not satisfy demand. Shelter and rescue animals are not the best option for every family that wants a pet. AKC issued an alert and testimony was provided in opposition to these bills at the November 8 Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources’ public hearing. On February 6 the committee requested an extension until April 12 to consider HB 826.

Massachusetts – HB 4241 is an abuse and exploitation prevention bill favorably released from committee and passed in the House on January 10. It would also define “coercive control” allowing issuance of restraining orders when a person commits or threatens to commit cruelty or abuse to animals connected to the family or household member. AKC supports the bill. It is pending in Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Massachusetts – HB 1718 and SB 1142 would establish a taskforce of Massachusetts lawyers and MSPCA/ARL-Boston to review cruelty laws and make recommendations including whether to establish a domestic animal cruelty misdemeanor charge; prohibit sale of animals under 8 weeks and transferring animals roadside with few exceptions; and allow for animal seizure and owner’s payment of board pending court action for suspected neglect. AKC testified in 2023 supporting the humane care provisions of the bills and requesting the committee ensure due process protections and consistent terminology. The committee has received an extension to consider the bills until April 30, 2024.

MissouriHB 1826 is identical to bills supported by AKC and the state federation in previous sessions that 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).  It had a public hearing in the House Agriculture Policy Committee on January 26 and is pending a vote by the committee members.

MissouriHB 2265/SB 937 would regulate pet stores in the state and prohibit local governments from adopting any ordinance that effectively shuts down pet stores operating legally within their license.  While AKC and its state federation support the concept of this bill protecting pet choice, there are concerns about the impact on a breeder who sources one dog to a pet store.  In addition, the current definition of pet store is broad and could encompass all who sell dogs.  Concerns were relayed to the bill sponsors.  The bill is being amended in the House to address concerns.  HB 2265 was passed by the Agriculture Policy Committee on February 1.  SB 937 is not advancing at this time.

New Hampshire – HB 1102 would label brachycephaly a “birth deformity” and make the breeding or sale of any animal that has a “birth deformity” that causes suffering a crime.  A public hearing scheduled for January 16 and detailed in this AKC alert was cancelled by the committee and will be rescheduled at a future date.

New Hampshire – SB 541 would define “pet vendor” as related to a  “retail pet store” as a licensee that transfers animals at retail to the public from a physical facility. It would also: cap “retail pet stores” to the transfer of cats and dogs at 2023 levels; prohibit the sale of “retail pet stores” to anyone but family members; and require future NH “retail pet stores” to source dogs and cats only from animal shelters. AKC issued an alert and testified in opposition on January 4. The committee voted February 6 to refer the bill to interim study. A companion bill, HB 1680, was considered by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee on January 16. AKC testified in opposition with NH DOGS and the bill was voted inexpedient to legislate on February 6. Details are here.

New Hampshire – SB 385 would allow payments from the cost of care fund to be distributed to a third party for the care of animals during animal cruelty cases.  It is pending in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

New Hampshire –  SB 587 allow animals as part of a litter transported into the state to be quarantined together. As filed, the bill could result in additional quarantine exemptions. AKC submitted testimony expressing concern and, with NH DOGS, requested an amendment by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during the January 9 public hearing. The amendment was adopted before the committee voted favorably and the amended bill passed the Senate on January 18.

New Hampshire – HB 1501 would repeal the requirement that cats and dogs be registered annually. The bill is pending in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.

New Hampshire – HB 1505 would establish an animal abuse offender registry. The bill is pending in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.

New Hampshire – HB 1233 would exempt individuals who have completed a nationally recognized animal chiropractic program, as determined by the executive director of the office of professional licensure and certification, from veterinary licensure requirements. The Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted February 1 that it ought to pass.

New Hampshire – HB 1556 would remove the requirement that dogs exempt from the rabies vaccine requirement be muzzled.  The bill is pending in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.

New Hampshire – HB 1526 would enable the board of veterinary medicine to issue a conditional veterinary license for veterinarians who are educated in other countries. Multiple reports of a New Hampshire veterinarian shortage exist. Timely canine access to veterinary care is an AKC priority and AKC submitted testimony on February 6 in support of enhancing access after issuing this alert. The committee has sent the bill to subcommittee for review.

New Hampshire – HB 1173 would authorize seizure and a court order to issue and euthanize any dog that has attacked a human being or a domestic animal that resulted in the puncture or tearing of skin, two or more times within a 12 month period.  The bill is pending in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.

New Hampshire – HB 1626 would repeal certain designated funds and change where dog licensing fees are distributed. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee considered the bill on January 8. Committee voted it ought to pass and referred it to Ways and Means Committee on February 1.

New Jersey – On Tuesday, January 9, after adjourning the 2022-2023 session, the new 2024-2025 legislative session was convened.   2023 bills of concern that died at the end of session include Assembly Bill 1965 (courtroom advocates), Senate Bill 1803 (prohibiting declawing of cats, other animals), and Senate Bill 4079 (retail sales ban of dogs, cats, and rabbits; repeal of consumer protection law).  As is tradition in New Jersey, the start of a new legislative session sees the reintroduction of most bills from the previous session that remained pending.  Those, and other bills of concern in the new session, include Assembly Bill 365 (prohibits cropping and docking), Senate Bill 282 (courtroom advocates), Senate Bill 297 (retail sales ban of dogs, cats, and rabbits; repeal of consumer protection law), and Senate Bill 1406 (prohibiting declawing of cats, other animals).

Pennsylvania SB 785 establishes a new Animal Welfare Board empowered to review existing laws and regulations related to the keeping and handling of animals and make recommendations for changes.  Unlike a short-focused task force, this Board would continue until such a time that legislation was passed to eliminate it, thereby, allowing it to provide review and recommendation to any law or regulation established going forward. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Rhode Island – HB 7163  would amend the domestic violence protection orders by authorizing the court to award “custody” of the pet. Given the complex dilemma involving pets and domestic violence situations, AKC supports this concept, but expressed concern about the use of the word “custody” in written testimony.

Rhode Island – HB 7294 would prohibit captive hunting for domestic or wild animals without prohibiting the release of upland game birds for hunting on licensed shooting preserves. AKC negotiated a clarifying amendment with proponents of the bill to ensure that adoption would not interfere with lawful field trials.

South Carolina – H 3238, among other provisions, seeks to require a person, on a second conviction for animal cruelty 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. The AKC supports full enforcement of fair and reasonable animal cruelty laws and appropriate penalties for abusers; however, the scope of H.3238 is overreaching. It 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. H 3682 was minimally amended and passed in the House. The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources positively amended H 3682; however, significant concerns remain with the bill as last amended. H 3682 is pending a second vote in the Senate. View AKC’s most recent alert on S 456.

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

South CarolinaHouse Bill 4611 seeks to make it an offense for a person to intentionally remove or destroy an electronic collar or other electronic device that was placed on a dog by its owner. AKC GR sent letters of support for this legislation. Read more.

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 passed in the Senate.

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. 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 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 back to the General Subcommittee of Senate Judiciary Committee. View AKC’s most recent alert on these bills.

Tennessee – HB 1635/SB 1595 seek to prohibit emotional support animals that are not trained or being trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability from being brought into indoor areas of food service establishments. While AKC supports this legislation in principle, AKC GR contacted staff for the sponsors of the bills to inquire if this legislation could be interpreted to disallow the operation of concession stands inside facilities that are hosting animal events. SB 1595 has passed unamended in Senate committees and next will be voted on by the full Senate. HB 1635 was heard by the House Health Subcommittee on February 13, 2024. Read more.

Tennessee – HB 1908/SB 1867 would require the Department of Education to establish a one-year pilot program to place a therapy dog in five public schools in the 2024-2025 school year. AKC GR thanks Rep. Gino Bulso and Sen. Joey Hensley for sponsoring this legislation that recognizes the value of a “calm, obedient canine that is trained to provide support, comfort, and companionship to people in educational, health, and therapeutic settings.” HB 1908 passed in the House Education Administration K-12 Subcommittee and is scheduled to be heard by the House Education Administration Committee. Read more.

Vermont – H. 626 is a comprehensive animal welfare bill to establish a Division of Animal Welfare at the Department of Public Safety that would develop, implement, and administer a centralized program for investigating and enforcing animal welfare requirements in the State. It also would amend or establish standards for the operation of animal shelters and animal rescue organizations and detail requirements for the importation or transportation of animals into the State. The bill has been referred to the House Government Operations and Military Affairs Committee.

Vermont – HB 407 proposes to allow courts the discretion to place restrictions on people convicted of animal cruelty offenses regarding their future ownership interest in animals.

Vermont – HB 536 would prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners based solely on the presence of one or more domestic dogs of a specific breed or mixture of breeds.

Vermont – HB 567  prohibit a pet shop in the State from selling dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids, unless the pet shop is providing space to an animal shelter or a rescue organization offering dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids to the public for adoption for an adoption fee or the pet shop was selling dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids prior to July 1, 2024, and the pet shop maintains its ownership and license and does not exceed the number of dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids sold in calendar year 2023.

Vermont – HB 234 would create an animal control program that would establish regional offices to: support municipalities with animal control programs and services primarily directed at domestic pets; provide free or low-cost vaccination, spay, and neuter programs; and investigate potential locations, resources, and personnel to establish regional pound and shelter facilities.

Washington – HB-1634, supported by AKC, would end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against specific breeds of dog when writing insurance policies.

West Virginia – HB 4935 would provide increased protections for the welfare of domestic animals in the care of animal shelters, breeders, and private individuals.  It contains requirements for commercial breeders to provide certain information to a purchaser and includes consumer protection provisions. It also addresses issues related to the unlawful confinement of domestic animals to include leaving chained, tethered, caged, or staked outside during extreme weather conditions, including, but not limited to, extreme heat, freezing or near-freezing temperatures, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or floods, unless adequate food, potable water, shade, shelter, and protection is provided based upon the breed, age, general health of the dog, and its ability to handle the environment. It has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

WisconsinSenate Bill 545/Assembly Bill 512 repeal certain regulations that restrict the location and time of year for hunting or training with dogs to pursue wild animals.  A hearing on AB 512 has been held in the Assembly Sporting Heritage Committee.  SB 545 passed the Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage in January and is pending consideration by the full Senate.