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Taking Command Newsletter

State Issues June 2019

News from the State Capitols

Here are some highlights of state-level issues AKC GR is currently tracking. Visit the 2019 Legislation Tracking page and click on your state to get the latest updates on state bills monitored by the AKC.

Alabama – SB 10 would provide for the rights and responsibilities of an individual with a disability who uses a service animal in a public or housing accommodation and provide for criminal penalties for a person who misrepresents the use of a service animal.  SB 10 has passed in the Senate and is pending in the House Committee on Judiciary.

AlabamaSB 61 seeks to provide immunity from liability to a person who forcibly enters a vehicle to release an animal that the person believes is in danger.  AKC GR has recommended amendments to protect a dog owner from liability if the released dog bites the person or a passerby, and to address additional safety and liability issues. SB 61 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read more about this bill.

AlabamaSB 102 a bill supported by AKC GR, was enacted as Act 2019-486.  This legislation provides that a local law requiring a dog to be kept on leash or otherwise restrained does not apply to an agricultural work dog at any time while the dog is engaged in agricultural work or a hunting dog at any time the dog is engaged in hunting wild game.

Alabama – SB 183 seeks to regulate pet stores at the state level.  AKC GR has requested an amendment to clarify that a breeder who sells dogs bred on the premises shall not be considered a pet store. SB 183 has passed in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Alabama SB 262 would make it an offense to leave a pet in a vehicle in a manner that creates an unreasonable risk of injury or harm to the animal, if the animal dies as result of being left unattended in the vehicle, or if the animal exhibits measurable symptoms of heat exhaustion. Among other provisions, the bill provides immunity from criminal liability for damage to the vehicle by a person who enters a vehicle by force provided that the person first contacts and remains in contact with a public safety official and maintains control of the animal. SB 262 exempts the owner of the animal from civil and criminal liability if the animal injures a person during the rescue effort. SB 262 was favorably amended to clarify that the person who has the animal in his or her custody would be charged with the offense of leaving an animal in a vehicle. SB 262 has passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Alabama – SB 10, a measure supported by AKC GR which penalizes the misrepresentation of a service animal, was enacted as Act 2019-478 on June 7, 2019 and took effect immediately.

Arkansas – SB 654, which creates a civil penalty for misrepresentation of a service animal or a service animal-in-training, was enacted as Act 1002.

California –
AB 588 will require any animal shelter, rescue organization or humane society to disclose the history of any dog over four month of age that has bitten a human. This bill has passed out of the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

California- SB 281 would establish a joint powers authority that would manage, develop or dispose of the real property in San Francisco known as the Cow Palace. This bill is apparently dead for 2019, but could be revised for 2020, the second year of the two-year legislative session. While the impetus for this bill is to prevent gun shows, the sale of this venue would also affect dog shows and other animal events that are held each year at the site. AKC GR is monitoring this proposal.

California – AB 1125 create the Animal Control Officer Standards Act and require the California Animal Welfare Association (CAWA) to establish and maintain training standards to certify animal control officers.  CAWA is a non-governmental, California public benefit corporation that resulted from the merger California Animal Control Directors Association and the State Humane Association of California. This bill has passed out of the Assembly and is now in the Senate. AKC GR is closely monitoring this proposal.

California – SB 64 would prohibit a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group from releasing a dog or cat to an owner, or adopting out, selling, or giving away a dog or cat to a new owner, unless the dog or cat is microchipped. The bill was passed by the Senate on a unanimous vote and is now in the Assembly.

California – AB 1553/SB787  are two identical bills that will make changes to California law by replacing “animal pound” with “animal shelter,” and other similar language changes. AB 1553’s author says the changes are necessary to update “language to reflect how we treat and speak of our animals in the 21st century.” Both bills have passed out of the house of origin. While the changes are not substantive, AKC GR is closely monitoring both bills.

Connecticut – HB 5386 prohibits pet stores from sourcing dogs or cats from anywhere but animal welfare organizations.  AKC GR has expressed numerous concerns.  The bill was amended to require that the state Department of Agriculture research and report on the impact of a similar law recently enacted in California to assess to consumer satisfaction, enforcement problems for regulatory agencies and harm to business owners.  Despite heavy pressure to pass the original bill text, the bill did not advance prior to close of the session.

Connecticut SB 21 would extend animal rights organizations’ work of the taskforce on the humane treatment of animals in municipal and regional animal shelters until January 2020.  The bill passed the Senate and remained on the House calendar without passage.

Connecticut – HB 7158 updates the regulation of commercial kennels to allow home-based pet sitting of up to 3 dogs without needing a commercial kennel license.  It passed the House and was then amended by each branch but, did not get final approval.

Connecticut – SB 594 bans the predatory leasing of pets by finance companies.  AKC GR worked with the bill sponsor and committee to amend the bill prior to release from committee to clarify the ban would not apply to leasing of purebred dogs for breeding or exhibition, or for working animals trained and utilized to perform tasks such as service, guide or law enforcement.  The bill was signed into law on June 19th as Public Act 19-82.

Delaware – SB 139 as introduced would prohibit dogs from being outside for 15 minutes if there is a weather advisory, if the dog is unattended and not within sight of the owner – even if the dog is in the owner’s yard At the request of the AKC, the House Health and Human Services Committee struck this language.  As amended, the bill states that when a weather advisory has been issued, a dog may not be left out in conditions where its health and safety are at risk.  AKC and sportsmen groups are still asking for amendments to clarify that a dog may be off leash when not on private property if participating in a field trial, hunt test, etc.  The bill as amended passed House Health & Human Services Committee on June 27 and is pending a vote by the full House. Read the alert.

Florida – SB 96 which increases penalties for certain offenses committed on police, fire and search and rescue dogs, was enacted as Chapter 2019-9.

FloridaHB 1409 sought to regulate commercial dog breeders and dealers. This bill contained numerous problematic and arbitrary provisions not based in sound science or accepted animal husbandry provisions. AKC GR provided analysis and talking points to Florida advocates who are worked to keep this bill from receiving a committee hearing. HB 1409 did not advance in the House Commerce Committee.

Louisiana – HB 161  sought to establish an animal abuser registry; require an offender to register for 10 years for a first offense and for the offender’s lifetime for a second offense; prohibit a person convicted of animal cruelty, sexual abuse of animal, dogfighting, hog and canine fighting, or injuring or killing a police animal from owning an animal during the registration period; and prohibit retail pet stores and animal shelters from knowingly selling or giving an animal to person listed on the registry. HB 161 did not advance in committee.

Louisiana – HB 454 requires animal shelters that turn over dead animals to a research or biological supply facility to post notice of this practice; prohibit animal shelters from euthanizing animals for the sole purpose of transferring the carcass to a research facility, biological supply facility or animal dealer; and restricts shelters and persons who accept animals from the public or take in stray and unwanted animals from transferring a living animal to a research facility, biological supply facility, animal dealer, or other person for the purpose of research or experimentation, except for instructional purposes. HB 454, enacted as Act 383, takes effect August 1, 2019.

Maine – LD 1049 extends the puppy health warranty of no hereditary or congenital defects to 5 years for breeders, but not shelters or rescues.  AKC GR, the state federation, and parent club members successfully had this provision removed from the bill.  The revised text signed by the Governor provides a purchase price remedy for health problems identified within the first year of purchase.

Maine – LD 1311 prohibits pet stores from selling dogs and cats and defines “animal rescue organization” as an entity with no affiliation to “breeders”.  AKC GR expressed multiple concerns and an initial committee vote resulted in an “ought not to pass”.  The committee reconvened a week later to reconsider and issued a divided report, but with a majority voting ought not to pass.  To neutralize opposition, proponents amended the bill to eliminate the “anti-breeder” language and grandfather current pet stores in allowing them to sell dogs and cats but, prohibit future pet stores from selling dogs or cats. The bill was quickly adopted and has been sent to the Governor.  AKC GR has sent a letter expressing opposition to the bill and requesting a veto.

Maine LD 1442 would authorize courts to appoint a volunteer lawyer or law student as an advocate in the interests of justice for any animal subject to cruelty.  AKC GR and the Maine Federation submitted testimony noting that the bill raises many constitutional and procedural issues as drafted. Due to a highly publicized animal cruelty case and despite the Judiciary committee issuing a Divided Report on the bill and The Federation and AKC GR meeting in the Sen. President’s office to express concerns, the bill has been sent to the Governor for approval.  AKC GR has sent a letter to the Governor expressing concerns about this policy change.

Maine – LD 1090 would eliminate the show cause hearing in an animal cruelty case and allow forfeiture of an animal upon pre-trial hearing.  AKC GR has expressed concern that these changes presume guilt when charges are made. The bill has been supported by the Director of Animal Health as a means to humanely euthanize or treat animals suspected of abuse that are considered evidence, pending the outcome of a legal case.  It has been enacted by the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor on June 7th as Chapter 237.

Massachusetts – 2018 passage of SB 2646, PAWS II, established a special commission to study and report on the feasibility and cost of mandating that employees and contractors of the department of children and families, employees and contractors of the department of elder affairs and investigators for the disabled persons protection commission report known or suspected animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.  A report of legislative recommendations is expected this fall and AKC GR is attending all meetings.

Massachusetts – HB 66 was filed by the Governor to expand the list of crimes a prosecutor could request a dangerousness hearing before the court to detain a defendant while awaiting trial.  During the Joint Judiciary Committee hearing, MA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals requested amendments allowing a defendant’s animal cruelty conviction history be included in judicial reviews during dangerousness hearings.  AKC GR will monitor the bill for changes.

Massachusetts – Bills establishing and maintaining animal cruelty registries, adding animal “guardianship” and allowing for noneconomic damages in pet injury cases were considered by the Joint Judiciary Committee on May 14th.  AKC GR issued an action alert and submitted testimony in opposition to the committee.

Massachusetts – Multiple animal bills were heard by the Joint Municipalities Committee on June 4 to increase the focus on and regulation of breeders and pet stores; restrict the number of dogs owned and regulate dog daycare facilities.  AKC GR issued a legislative alert, testified with local breeders, and submitted written testimony expressing concerns.

Massachusetts – The Joint Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture committee held a public hearing for SB 468 on June 25th.  The proposal would afford protections to those who hunt with dogs by prohibiting harassment or disruption of personal property and equipment in addition to changing gun and hunting restrictions.

Montana – As introduced, Senate Bill 320 would have required those who were accused of cruelty to pay for the cost of the animals during an ongoing trial, and if one payment was missed, the local animal shelter could have sold the animal.  AKC reached out and expressed concerns to the committee.  As passed by the House on April 13, the bill was significantly amended to address the majority of the AKC’s concerns, including allowing the owner to get the animal back if they are ultimately found not guilty. The bill passed both chambers of the Legislature and was signed into law by the governor.

Montana – HB 29 will revise bird hunting laws in the state to ensure field trials and hunt testing with dogs do not occur in sensitive bird nesting areas. This bill came about when out of state groups held field trials on state land during nesting seasons. AKC GR contacted numerous Montana organizations that lobbied legislators. As a result of these efforts, the bill was amended and allows for field testing and hunt trials so long as they don’t interfere with nesting. The bill passed with near-unanimous votes in both houses of the legislature and was recently signed into law by the governor.

Montana – There were four bills dealing with service animals being considered in Montana. HB 379 died in committee. HB 439 revises state code, defines service animals and establishes penalties for misrepresenting a service animal.  It passed through the Legislature and was signed into law by the governor. HB 466 died in committee, as did HB 659.

Nevada AB 165 would have allowed a person to collect non-economic damages for injury to or the loss of a dog.  AKC GR worked with a broad coalition to fight this bill. The bill was pulled from a committee hearing and died when the legislature adjourned.

NevadaAB 161 will prevent common-interest communities such as home-owner associations from restricting pet ownership by residents of the community. The bill has passed out of the legislature and was signed into law by the governor.

New JerseyA. 4552 prohibits the leasing of dogs and cats.  AKC has expressed concerns that it would not only ban lease-to-own arrangements but also possibly impact leases commonly utilized by hobby breeders and enthusiasts to preserve and continue particular bloodlines and breeds of dogs. AKC GR has provided amendments to explicitly protect leases used by breeders and recorded with purebred registries.  Those amendments were unanimously adopted into companion S.3531 on Thursday, June 20th.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 781 would establish a process for recovering the cost of caring for domestic companion animals involved in animal cruelty investigations. A.781 does not require courts to consider whether the defendant is able to pay and that costs are a lien against the animal until all payments have been made. AKC GR recommended that courts be required to determine a defendant’s ability to pay.  The bill is pending in the Senate Environment Committee.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 2318 and Senate Bill 1860 seek to provide immunity from civil and criminal liability for those who rescue an unattended animal from a motor vehicle under inhumane conditions.  The AKC expressed concerns that the bills failed to provide any recourse for the owner if an animal was not actually in danger, or to protect owners from liability if an animal escapes or harms someone because of being removed from the vehicle.  An amended version of A2318 was passed by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and an amended version of S1860 is pending in the full Assembly.

New Jersey – Senate Bill 1209 would prohibit the declawing or flexor tendonectomy procedure by any means on an animal, unless the procedure is deemed necessary for a therapeutic purpose by a licensed veterinarian. Those in violation could be fined, imprisoned, or both.  AKC GR requested the bill be amended to specifically provide an exception for dewclaw removal. The bill passed one committee and was re-referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

New Jersey – Multiple bills (A3044 /S2514/A3048) would regulate professional groomers.  The bills were introduced in response deaths of dogs while in the custody of professional groomers. A3044 has been amended per AKC’s request to exclude mandatory licensing for grooming of dogs for the purpose of exhibition at a show or other competitive event.  AKC is also working on amendments to require a training course on basic health and safety standards prior to licensing.  Read our legislative alert.

New Jersey – S2820 seeks to direct the New Jersey Department of Health to develop standards and to adopt rules and regulations for the “appropriate” breeding of dogs in both commercial and residential settings. The bill also seeks to prohibit the breeding of dogs if a person does not have a current USDA license for dog breeding.  Violations would result in the forfeiture of any dog and its offspring in the person’s possession and civil penalties of up to $2,000. The AKC remains deeply concerned with this bill’s extremist provisions and its lack of understanding of the practical availability and necessity of federal licensing.  AKC GR has reached out to the sponsor and has worked with grassroots leaders and key contacts to oppose S2820 should it gain any traction. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. It is not scheduled for a hearing.

New Jersey – Similar to proposals in other states, recently-introduced S3541 seeks to prohibit harassing or taking of certain wildlife at competitive events and establishes penalties.  The bill has been assigned to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee but has not been scheduled for consideration. AKC GR continues to closely monitor this legislation, though grassroots leaders have reported that this bill will not be considered.

New Hampshire – SB 77 requires the court to hear an animal cruelty case within 14 days and requires a defendant convicted of animal abuse to pay for the care and treatment of the animals seized.  After approval by the Senate, AKC GR and its state federation were successful in obtaining numerous positive House amendments including the creation of a municipal cost of care fund, court identification of co-owners upon seizure and a prohibition on permanent alteration of animals pending legal decision. The House has tabled the bill to provide a period of education for members.  Meanwhile, the Senate sponsor has moved to attach sections of SB 77 and SB 161 approved by the Senate to a House-approved bill, H. 459 on hemp farming.  AKC GR and NH DOGS were successful in securing the ability for a defendant to have their own vet examine their seized animals with the conference committee members.

New Hampshire –
HB 688 requires registration and inspection of all hobby breeders; and establishes an electronic database to track the transfer of ownership of all dogs and cats with health certificates.  AKC GR and the federation NH DOGS testified in opposition.  The bill has been tabled by the House.

New Hampshire SB 161 eliminates the current definition of “commercial breeder” and labels anyone who transfers more than 20 dogs in 12 months as a “pet vendor”.  AKC GR and its federation are concerned about the impact on breeders. After hearing concerns from AKC and the federation, the bill was rewritten to require health certificates and to provide one additional staff at the Dept of AG.  Further amendments approved by the Senate Finance committee allowed the transfer of up to 25 dogs before requiring licensure and to create a cost of care fund for municipalities caring for seized animals pending legal outcome.  The Senate added this text to the state budget, HB 2 and AKC GR and NH DOGS has continued to issue alerts and work with stakeholders because the proposal eliminates breeders as a legal entity under New Hampshire law, in conflict with federal law, other NH statutes and surrounding states’ laws.  Strong objections to the flaws in this draft and the process of adding it to the budget have been expressed to the Governor who is reviewing the budget now.

New York – A. 722 and S. 4253 would prohibit all “contests” in which wildlife are killed or captured.  An amendment was added on May 17 that would exempt field trials, but not hunt tests or other hunting activities.  The bills have not been scheduled for hearings.  AKC GR continues to closely monitor this legislation.  Read more.

New York – A.6298/A.6299/S.593/S.4234 would have prohibited pet stores from selling dogs or cats unless they were sourced from shelters and rescues. AKC and numerous stakeholders expressed significant concerns with these bills that would have limited pet choice and consumer protection.  None of the bills received a hearing.

New York – S.4577 would require the Department of Agriculture and Markets to issue “red and blue code alerts” through PSAs.  A “blue alert” must be issued when the temperature will reach 25 degrees or lower without precipitation, 32 degrees or lower with precipitation, or if the wind chill will be below zero degrees for at least two hours.  A “red alert” must be issued when the heat index is forecasted to be 95-99 degrees for at least two consecutive days, or temperatures will reach 100-104 degrees for any length of time.  No one may leave a companion animal outside or in a vehicle when an alert has been issued.  Those in violation will be given a warning, and if they do not comply, the animals may be seized.  The bill has been amended to exempt working dogs, and situations when appropriate shelter is provided.  It is still unclear, however, if this will be required for animals being kept outside on a temporary basis or animals outside with their owners/handlers.  AKC GR and its state federation continue to express concerns and seek clarifications.  The NY General Assembly has adjourned for the year, but this has passed the Senate and is expected to be considered by the Assembly in 2020.

Ohio – In January, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) began interpreting a near 10-year old definition of “pet store” to include all who sell dogs in face-to-face transactions.  AKC has sent an open letter to ODA outlining the error of their interpretation and asking they immediately reverse this action.  AKC GR met with key legislators in Columbus to discuss options for protecting hobbyists and home-based breeders. In March, ODA announced a temporary suspension of enforcement pending legislative action. AKC is working with lawmakers on a more permanent solution. Read AKC’s notice and letter for more information.

Oklahoma – SB 950 would allow pet stores to operate in the state and prevent municipalities from passing laws to limit pet store sourcing.  The sponsor agreed to AKC’s requested amendment that clarifies a “pet store” does not include a person who sells dogs they have bred and raised on their premises.  The bill passed the Senate but was ultimately held in the House.

Oregon – When introduced, SB 723 as introduced, would have prohibited any hunting contest that used birds or animals and offered prizes. This language would have detrimentally affected dog hunt testing and field trials. Government Relations submitted comments that were included in the amendments that narrowed the bill’s focus solely to coyote hunting contests. The bill was passed by the Senate and is now in the House. AKC GR, along with dog clubs and sportsmen’s groups is monitoring this bill. The bill is currently sitting in a House committee. Oregon’s legislature adjourns at the end of June.  Read AKC’s alert for more information.

Oregon SB 466 creates a Service Animal Task Force. This bill sets up a six-member task force to develop standards for animals to qualify under Oregon law as assistance animals or as companion animals. AKC GR submitted comments to the sponsor. The bill has not had any activity in five months. Oregon’s legislature adjourns at the end of June.

Pennsylvania – SB 44 would only allow pet stores to sell dogs from shelters or rescues, in an effort to combat a perceived problem with disreputable breeders.  AKC is working with the state federation and Senate Judiciary Committee on alternatives, including promoting a positive consumer protection bill already introduced.  The bill is pending in committee.

Rhode Island – Despite strong opposition by AKC GR and stakeholders such as RI ACLU, H. 5433 allowing an animal control officer to seize and animal upon suspicion of neglect or abuse without securing a warrant was voted favorably by the House Health, Education and Welfare committee.  Efforts to block this bill in the Senate are underway since passage in the House.

Rhode Island – Last session, AKC GR worked with the House Committee on Health, Education & Welfare to amend a proposal to prohibit pet leasing by providing exceptions for breeding animals and working dogs. H. 5246 includes those exceptions and was passed by the House. AKC is requesting the same amendments for another pet leasing prohibition committee hearing on April 4th.  The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rhode Island – HB 5113 establishes and maintains an animal cruelty conviction registry and requires all pet sellers to check the registry prior to transferring ownership of animals.  AKC GR submitted testimony outlining concerns with accurate identification of animal purchasers and the broad “pet seller” definition proposed.  The bill sponsor has agreed to accept amendments by the Senate to distinguish hobby breeders from pet sellers under the Act.  Despite active push back on the bill from the RI ACLU and mental health groups in the state, the Senate Judiciary committee has recommended passage.

Rhode IslandS. 225 would protect pets in a domestic abuse situation and AKC GR has submitted testimony in support.  Upon favorable committee report, the Senate has voted for passage and sent it to the House for consideration.

Rhode IslandS. 699 makes updates to the animal husbandry statutes; re-drafts the bill requiring pet stores to source animals only from shelters and rescues and instead requires that they only source from breeders with no USDA violations or shelters and rescues with no violations of state law.  AKC GR submitted testimony in support with the suggestion that the bill also require shelters and rescues to maintain records on where dogs and cats are being imported from allowing the tracking of any transmission of disease.

Rhode Island – H. 5072 prohibits pet shops from selling dogs or cats not sourced from animal shelters or rescues.  AKC GR testified in opposition to the bill in February.  Two weeks ago, the committee voted the bill ought to pass and the House then promptly voted favorably despite recent news of difficulties implementing a similar law in California.  AKC GR issued an alert to the Rhode Island kennel clubs on H. 5072 and S.699 and also forwarded a letter opposing H. 5072 and supporting instead, S. 699 to the entire Senate. The House has now filed H. 6168 with identical text to S. 699 and has passed it favorably while leaving S. 699 on the House calendar.

Rhode Island – HB 5023 expands district court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic dispute matters.  AKC GR submitted testimony and the Providence County Kennel Club legislative liaison Attorney Indeglia testified in opposition as the family courts are the proper venue for these disputes.  The committee tabled HB 5023 and raised HB 5822, which would require the family court in divorce and separation matters to use child custody dispute criteria to determine the best interests of the pet.  The committee has sent this bill to study.

South Carolina S.105, among other provisions, allows an impounding agency that is awarded an animal pursuant to any animal neglect, cruelty, or animal fighting violation to petition the court for costs of care if the defendant if found guilty and further provides that the custodian shall release for adoption or euthanize the animal.  It also provides that a litter of unidentifiable dogs or cats four months of age or younger may be immediately turned over to any organization established for the purpose of caring for animals for “life-saving” purposes. There is no hold time, which could serve to immediately sever the property rights of an owner of any two impounded puppies deemed to be “unidentified” and a “litter”. S. 105 has been signed by the governor.

South Carolina – S.281, which makes it unlawful to mispresent an animal as a service animal or service animal in training, was signed by the governor on May 16, 2019 and became law immediately.

Tennessee – House Bill 233/Senate Bill 222, which penalizes possessing, owning, buying, selling or manufacturing cock fighting paraphernalia with the intent that it be used in promoting, fighting, facilitating, or training for cock fighting, was enacted as Public Chapter 164.  AKC GR requested amendments to the original versions of the legislation, which would have specified as “animal fighting paraphernalia” items such as treadmills and other equipment that are commonly and humanely used by pet owners for purposes of training, providing exercise to, and providing physical therapy to dogs and other animals.  The bill was favorably amended and becomes law on July 1, 2019.

TennesseeHB 281 / SB 436 seek to regulate pet stores at the state level. AKC GR requested that these bills be clarified so that individuals and breeders who sell a dog directly to a buyer shall specifically be excluded from the definition of “retail pet store”.  These bills did not advance in the 2019 session and will carry over to 2020.

Tennessee – HB 852 / SB 1277 seek to enhance animal cruelty penalties. The sponsor of HB 852 requested that the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee pass an amendment to the bill that, among other extensive provisions, would direct the court to impose vastly increased penalties, including imprisonment and significant fines, for any offense; expand the confiscation of animals to include other equipment and property based on an accusation; limit a citizen’s right to appeal a bond for care award; and further enable the awarding of seized property, fines and fees to non-governmental organizations operating in the state or in a county. These increased penalties do not distinguish between a correctible issue such as a spilled water container that does not result in harm to an animal, and heinous acts of animal torture. AKC GR wrote a letter of concern to the subcommittee, which deferred the bill to Summer Study.

Tennessee – HB 1190,  a measure supported by AKC GR, establishes processes for landlords to verify the needs of tenants and prospective tenants to have pet policies waived to accommodate a service or support animal and create penalties for misrepresentation of a service animal.  It was enacted as Public Chapter 236 and becomes law on July 1, 2019.

Vermont – the session has closed without passage of any onerous bills.

Virginia – House Bill 1625 originally clarified laws regarding outdoor shelter laws, but was significantly amended in the Senate Agriculture Committee to include unreasonable tethering laws and a provision that will allow local governments to pass new, stricter laws on basic standards of animal care including food, water, exercise, and veterinary treatment.  A conference committee removed the problematic language and once again clarifies requirements for what constitutes “adequate shelter”.  The amended bill was signed by the governor on March 18 and will be enacted on July 1.

Virginia – Senate Bill 1025 sought to regulate tethering, and also allowed localities to pass their own, stricter laws regarding the care of animals.  At the request of the AKC, its state federation, and numerous clubs and sportsmen, the bill was amended to address the majority of concerns and passed.  The governor requested some problematic amendments, and the AKC and its federation communicated concerns to the General Assembly, who voted on April 3 to reject these changes. The bill became law without the governor’s requested amendments. Read more about this legislation.

Wisconsin – SB 30 and AB 29 as introduced would have essentially banned field trials and hunt tests in the state.  The chairmen of the Assembly and Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committees have committed to not advance the bill after hearing from the AKC, numerous sportsmen and performance clubs in the state.  AKC GR continues to closely monitor these bills.

Wisconsin – AB 298 would prohibit anyone from selling, transferring, or offering for sale a dog from a pet store, unless the animal is from a licensed shelter or rescue in the state.  AKC and local clubs are expressing concern with this bill, which is pending in the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.