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

Six state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session, and two state legislatures are in special session. AKC Government Relations is currently tracking more than 1,500 local, state, and federal issues. The following are highlights of current 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.  AKC GR is contacting the sponsor to thank him for the thorough consideration and exemptions in the bill and recommend that the temperature requirements be removed.  It has been assigned to the Natural Resources, Energy, and Water Committee.

Arizona – Senate Bill 1046 would repeal the current law that protects pet stores by not allowing local governments to pass any regulations on pet stores or pet dealers that are stricter than state law.  The current law also does not allow any law that would directly or indirectly prohibit the sale of dogs or cats by a pet store or pet dealer.  This bill, sponsored by the Senate President pro Tempore, is pending committee assignment.

California – AB-742 will be carried over from the 2023 legislative session. The bill will seek to limit the use of police canines for the purpose of arrest, apprehension, or any form of crowd control. AKC is actively monitoring this proposal as we recognize the value of highly trained working K9s for a wide variety of jobs including detection, search and rescue, and other public safety functions.

Florida HB 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.  SB 660 passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee and will next be heard in the Senate Community Affairs Committee and Rules Committees. Read AKC’s alert.

Florida —  HB 873/SB 1156 seek to expand dangerous dog provisions and requirements and establish a dangerous dog registry. AKC GR is monitoring this legislation and will recommend amendatory language if it advances.  HB 873 is assigned to the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee, Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, and Judiciary Committee. SB 1156 is assigned to the Senate Agriculture, Judiciary, and Fiscal Policy Committees.

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 and carries over to the 2024 session.

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. Read more.

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 and remain pending. Details are in AKC’s alert.

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 which held a public hearing on September 26 and remains pending.

Massachusetts – HB 2423 would expand Nero’s law to authorize providing advanced life support measures that match the expertise of emergency personnel and may in fact provide greater protection. AKC testified in support of the bill on December 11, 2023.  The bill remains pending.

Massachusetts – HB 2424 would establish a Retired Police Dog Care Fund. Police K9s are exceptional dogs with exceptional training that immeasurably enhance public safety. AKC testified on December 11 in support noting the provisions of veterinary medical care to assure the wellbeing of these retired dogs ought to be a high priority.  The bill remains pending.

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 and have been referred to the Joint Committee on Housing. AKC supports these bills, which had a public hearing on September 26 and remain pending.

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. It remains pending after a September public hearing in the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee.  Read AKC’s alert.

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 and have been referred to the Joint Committee on Housing. AKC submitted supportive testimony for the September 27 public hearing.  The bills remain pending.

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. Massachusetts foster homes are volunteers, not per se health experts. AKC believes HB 801 may reduce compliance and increase the risk of communicable disease spread to Massachusetts animals and citizens and testified in opposition at the November 8 Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources’ public hearing.

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.

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 restraining orders to issue when a person commits or threatens to commit cruelty or abuse to animals connected to the family or household member. AKC supports the bill.

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 has been referred to the House Agriculture Policy Committee.

MissouriHB 2163 would prohibit local governments from enacting breed-specific laws.  If a breed-specific law is already in place, the government would have until February 25 to enact a breed-neutral dangerous dog policy.  AKC and its state federation support this bill, which has just been introduced and is pending committee assignment.

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 some questions 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 are being expressed to the bill sponsors.  The bills were recently introduced and have not yet been assigned to committees.

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, such as brachycephaly, a crime.  A public hearing scheduled in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee for January 16 has been postponed.  AKC encourages clubs to continue submitting statements in opposition. Read AKC’s alert for more information.

New Hampshire – SB 541 would create a new pet vendor definition for “retail pet store” as any licensed pet vendor that transfers animals at retail to the public from a physical facility; cap these “retail pet stores” to the transferring 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 this alert and will testify in opposition on January 4. A companion bill, HB 1680, will be considered by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee on January 16. 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 has been filed to allow animals in 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.

 New Hampshire – HB 1316 would define “co-ownership” of dogs so the city of Manchester, NH, could verify whether dogs being boarded at an individual’s house without the proper zoning permit is valid or not. AKC is working with the bill sponsor and city to identify an alternative solution. The bill is pending in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.

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.

New Hampshire – HB 1556 would remove the requirement that dogs exempt from the rabies vaccine 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.

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 which 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 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).  So far, AKC GR is tracking 63 dog-related bills in the new session and expects more to be introduced.  More information will be provided in the coming weeks.

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.

Pennsylvania Act 18 of 2023 updates the Commonwealth’s Dog Law and goes into effect on January 21, 2024.  It includes licensing fees increased for both annual dog licenses and kennel licenses.  The update eliminates the differentiation of dog license fees for spay/neutered and intact dogs and establishes a single fee for both.  It also will require all rescues to be licensed if at least 26 dogs are kept or transferred in a calendar year.  Previously, dogs brought into Pennsylvania were required to have a certificate of health prepared by a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  This new law changes that requirement to an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI).  This applies all kennel license holders, including rescues required to be licensed by the Commonwealth.  However, it exempts any person to bring one or more dogs for show, trial, or as a household pet or hunting for 30 days or breeders keeping/transferring fewer than 26 dogs in a year. In addition, dogs being brought into the state by kennel license holders must be isolated for 14 days prior to any sale or transfer in order to ensure the health of the dog.  Given the many changes impacting kennel license holders and breed rescues, AKC GR will monitor the implementation of the law for any potential clarification.

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 is referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, and carries over to year 2 of the 2023-2024 session.

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. These bills carry over to year 2 of the 2023-2024 session. 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. It carries over to year 2 of the 2023-2024 session.

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. These bills carry over to year 2 of the 2023-2024 session.

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. These bills carry over to year 2 of the 2023-2024 session.

 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. Both bills carry over to 2024. 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 or work for a person with a disability from indoor areas of food service establishments. The bills include an unclear section regarding “areas that are not used for food preparation, storage, sales, display, or dining, in which there are caged animals or animals that are similarly confined.”  If this legislation advances, AKC GR will confer with sponsors on how this might affect event sites with concession stands where dogs are crated and if needed, recommend amendments. HB 1635 is assigned to the House Health Subcommittee.  SB 1595 is assigned to the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

Texas – As of January 1, 2024, breeders in Texas that breed between 5 and 11 intact females must secure a state license. These changes are a result of the enactment of SB 876 that was signed by Governor Abbott in May 2023. The new law expands the applicability of the Texas Licensed Breeder Program. Read more.

Vermont – H. 626 is a 61-page animal welfare bill that would establish a Division of Animal Welfare at the Department of Public Safety to develop, implement, and administer a centralized program for investigating and enforcing animal welfare requirements in the State. It would also 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.

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 prior in calendar year 2023.

Vermont – HB 234 would create an animal control program that would establish regional offices to: support municipalities with 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-1012 is being carried over from the 2023 legislative session. This proposal provides state funding to localities for warming and cooling centers so people and their pets will be safe during extreme weather events. The bill passed overwhelming out of the House but stalled before the Senate Ways and Means Committee during the 2023 session. The AKC strongly supports the intent of this bill and looks forward to supporting it during the 2024 legislative session.

Washington – HB-1634 is being carried over from the 2023 legislative session. This bill would end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against specific breeds of dog when writing insurance policies. AKC supports this bill.

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 has passed the Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage on January 5 and is pending consideration by the full Senate.