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Taking Command Newsletter

State Issues June 2022

News from the State Capitols

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

California – AB 1881 as introduced established a “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights”.  While the bill only required that the list be posted at shelters and rescues, AKC joined many organizations in expressing significant concerns about putting “rights” of animals in law and the implications this has for changing the legal status of animals in the state.  The Assembly Business and Professions Committee amended the bill on April 26 to remove all references to the word “rights” in the actual code text.  Instead, while the author may call it the “dog and cat bill of rights”, the actual chapter will now be called “Dog and Cat Welfare”.  The amendments also clarify that the purpose is solely for education. AB 1881, as amended, passed the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on June 20 and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 28.

California – AB 1901 as introduced would have regulated all trainers in the state as boarding kennels, regardless of whether dogs are kept overnight.  AKC, dog trainers, clubs, and many others expressed opposition to this proposal and worked to educate the committee and author of the many problems should this bill pass.  As such, the author agreed to remove all the requirements and instead require certain disclosures when a trainer starts with a new client.  This includes providing the goals of the class, training philosophy, and whether or not the trainer is certified.  It does not mandate that a trainer be certified in order to teach classes.  The bill passed the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on June 20 and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 28.

California – AB 1781 would regulate shelters and rescues transporting animals.  It would require them to ensure that transport vehicles protect a dog’s health and safety.  This bill is pending on the governor’s desk.

California  AB 2723 would amend current law regarding microchipping when a dog is adopted from a local shelter.  As amended by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, when a shelter or rescue transfers ownership of a dog, they must provide information including microchip company information, if the dog has a current microchip number, and any other information needed so the new owner can register themselves as the primary contact on the microchip.  In addition, before transferring or selling a dog, the shelter or rescue much document and keep records of all efforts made to contact the microchip’s primary contact, if the dog is microchipped.   The bill passed the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on June 13 and is pending a vote by the full Senate.

California  AB 2380 would prohibit a person from obtaining a loan in order to purchase a dog or cat if the loan is offered, arranged, or facilitated by a merchant or retailer.  The bill passed the Assembly and is pending in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

California  SB 971 as amended requires that public housing financed by the state allow residents to own or maintain “common household pets”.  A refundable deposit may be required, but landlords may not require a monthly fee to keep the animal.  Considerations may be made to limit the number of animals based on the unit’s size and prohibitions on potentially dangerous or vicious dogs.  The landlord may not place restrictions based on an animal’s size or weight, but may have leashing, nuisance or liability insurance requirements.  The bill has passed the Senate and has a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development on June 29.

Connecticut – SB 234 would make significant changes to kennel and dog licensing laws.  AKC GR understands the changes intend to update and modernize processes, but issued an alert outlining concerns with the bill and expressed them at the Joint Environment Committee public hearing on March 7, 2022. In response, the committee chose not to advance SB 234 but, amended HB 5295 to establish a working group at the Department of Agriculture to address concerns raised at the public hearing.  AKC GR has been invited to participate and issued the following update. HB 5295 passed the House and the Senate before it was signed into law on May 10 as Public Act 22-54. The working group held its initial meeting on June 16 and the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners’ President participated with AKC GR.

Delaware – Senate Bill 248 as introduced would have provided for damages of up to $15,000 in veterinary bills for injuries to a pet, the fair market value of a deceased pet, and up to $15,000 for emotional trauma (non-economic damages) suffered by the pet’s owner. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill on May 4 and the sponsor, Senator Ernesto Lopez, requested that the bill be passed out so further discussions with stakeholders could be held.  The Committee did not move the bill.  Instead, Senator Lopez offered a substitute version that removed the non-economic damages language as well as the dollar limit recoverable for compensatory damages.  The substitute version was approved by the Committee and approved by the full Senate on May 19, 2022.  It was amended by the House on June 16, 2022, to add a sunset provision that provides that the Act expires 3 years after its enactment.  The bill passed the full House as amended and is now back in the Senate.

Florida  SB 226 establishes funding for the care of retired law enforcement dogs. AKC GR supported this legislation, which was enacted on June 13 as Chapter No. 2022-188 and takes effect July 1, 2022. Read more about this win for police K-9s.

Florida – SB 620, would have enacted the “Local Business Protection Act” and authorized certain businesses to claim damages from a county or municipality that enacts or amends certain ordinances that damage the profits of the business. This potentially provides recourse for some animal-related businesses that, subsequent to the passage of the bill, can document a 15 percent income loss that resulted from the enactment of local laws. SB 620 was vetoed by the governor.

Louisiana SR 57 requests that parishes, municipalities, local governing authorities, and animal shelters adopt policies and programs prior to December 31, 2025, that provide alternatives to euthanizing healthy dogs and cats. This resolution was enacted in the Senate and sent to the Secretary of State.

Louisiana HB 607, as introduced, sought to increase penalties for simple cruelty to animals and allow a court to order the offender to pay expenses for medical treatment of the animal. AKC submitted a letter of concern with the bill, which was amended to remove the proposed minimum penalties and to add that a court may order the offender to pay for the housing and medical treatment of the animal pursuant to an existing law that provides for restitution. HB 607 was enacted as Act No. 629, and takes effect on August 1.

Louisiana – HB 842, among other provisions, seeks to extend immunities to a veterinarian or veterinary technician who releases confidential records or participates in any investigation of acts prohibited by law. AKC GR expressed concerns that the bill, as introduced, was overly broad and submitted recommended amendments. Most of the amendments proposed by AKC were adopted. HB 842 was enacted as Act. No. 59 with an effective date of August 1, 2022.

Massachusetts – Despite AKC GR testimony in opposition to SB 1322, the bill has been released favorably again this session from the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  The bill would create uniform standards regulating dog daycare facilities, boarding kennels and training operations while restricting personal kennels by authorizing municipal animal control officers to determine how many dogs or cats an individual can own after an inspection of their premises upon kennel license application. State regulations would also determine responsible breeding practices. Because legislation regulating dog daycare facilities did not survive the committee process, advocates are aggressively pursuing SB 1322 passage.  AKC GR is working with specific stakeholders to ensure collective concerns are addressed prior to movement and an alert was issued on June 10.

Massachusetts  SB 2397 would prohibit the misrepresentation of a service animal.  AKC GR submitted testimony in support to the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs for the public hearing. The bill was reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means.

Massachusetts  The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture heard testimony on three bills to protect research animals, allowing adoption after health examination upon retiring from research activities. AKC GR supported HB 901 and HB 966, but noted that definitions for animal shelter and rescue in the bill were inconsistent with current law. The committee advanced the bill favorably.  HB 901 passed the House and has been sent to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.

Massachusetts SB 551 would create an advisory board, with a shelter and rescue coordinator serving as chair, to oversee various functions of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. AKC GR expressed concerns to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, noting that a formal advisory board with permanent members chaired by a shelter and rescue coordinator is not necessary for the state agency to function effectively. The bill advanced favorably from committee and is in the Senate Rules Committee waiting for placement on the Senate calendar.

Massachusetts  SB 2672 was released favorably by the Joint Judiciary Committee as a re-write of nine bills. AKC GR issued an alert summarizing before testifying at the May 19, 2021, public hearing.  The bill would insert domestic animals and livestock into the civil fine structure for lack of adequate shelter or sanitation for dogs. Civil fines collected would be forwarded to the Homeless Fund that provides money for ACO training and the state spay/neuter program. It also provides the court with great latitude in deciding how long the offender will be prohibited from owning animals, including exceptions if an offender can prove they are capable of caring for animals or have sought required counseling.  AKC GR is monitoring this bill.

Michigan – House Bills 4703 and 4704 address the issue of animals being seized, and the payment of their care during impoundment.  As introduced, the bills amend current law and clarify that the owner or possessor may request a hearing within 14 days to determine if the requirement to pay is justified and the cost is fair and reasonable.  AKC issued an alert and drafted a letter to the committee expressing concerns with the underlying law.  Numerous amendments were adopted by the House, including allowing the court to consider the ability of the defendant to pay and ensuring that if the owner is found not guilty, then the animals must be returned.  However, it is unclear if this provision applies if a payment is missed during the trial. The bills passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 14 and are pending consideration by the full Senate.

New Hampshire  SB 368 was filed at the request of the Commissioner for the Department of Agriculture and Markets to address challenges enforcing the licensed pet vendor requirements.  It would provide authority to seize animals maintained by a pet vendor and housed in the licensed portion of a premise if, within 30 days of license revocation, the animals have not been transferred to another person.  AKC GR and NH DOGS raised constitutional issues among other problems at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources public hearing.  The committee amended bill to establish a hearing officer revolving fund and fines of up to $5,000 for any second or subsequent violation of the pet vendor license laws.  Amended SB 368 passed the Senate in March. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee hosted public hearings where AKC GR and NH DOGS expressed opposition.  Before the committee’s favorable vote, an amendment was adopted striking the $5000 fine increase, and capping the revolving fund at $75,000 which reflects the annual amount of fines already collected.  Further, the amendment establishes administrative fines for anyone transferring a dog, cat or ferret without the health certificate already required by law.  The House and Senate concurred with these changes and the Governor signed it into law on June 17 as Chapter 225, effective on January 1, 2023.

New Hampshire  Representative Gallagher reached out to AKC GR for assistance with his bill, HB 1186.  It would mandate that emergency shelters allow individuals to relocate with their companion animals when ordered to evacuate.  Per NH’s Disaster Animal Response Team, four emergency trailers across the state can be deployed, but significant gaps in the emergency response plan exist.  AKC GR testified in support of the bill’s intent and worked with the committee on an appropriate amendment to require emergency shelters make space for trailers or other pet accommodations on site.  HB 1186, as amended, has passed the House and Senate.  AKC GR submitted a letter of support to the Governor.

 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 – 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 on May 26, 2022.  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 York  Assembly Bill 9284 and Senate Bill 8315 would further expand and clarify the new law prohibiting insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the homeowner.  These bills would state that insurance companies may not raise premiums for homeowners insurance based solely on the breed of dog at the home.  AKC supports these bills, which have each passed their respective chambers.  Read more.

New York – Despite some last-minute procedural moves by the Senate, the Assembly did not consider Senate Bill 9445 or Senate Bill 1125, which would have banned the procedure known as “debarking” or bark softening.  AKC opposed these bills, which restricted the rights of responsible dog owners to make viable, safe decisions on behalf of their pets in conjunction with their veterinarian.

New York – A. 5746 seeks to prohibit “killing contests”.  As written, it contains exemptions requested by the AKC for canine performance events and training.  The bill passed the Assembly Codes Committee but was ultimately held on the Assembly floor. 

New York  A. 6246/S. 6870 further regulate animal shelters, including licensing, inspections, and standards of care for animals.  They also mandate a 48 hour quarantine for all dogs imported into the state for sale, as well as a rabies vaccination for all dogs over three months of age.  Dogs temporarily in the state for exhibition are exempt, so long as they are under the control of their owner or handler and have proof of rabies vaccination.  The bills have passed the Senate and Assembly and will soon be transmitted to the governor.

New York – Senate Bill 8973/Assembly Bill 9296 clarify laws requiring animal control and police officers to seize dogs not on the owner’s property and are not identified or licensed, or pose a threat to public safety.  These bills would allow the officer to return any dog with a current license to the owner if there is no probable cause that the dog is dangerous.  The dog may be returned to the owner of record at the address provided on the license.  The bills have passed the Assembly and Senate.

Oregon – Animal rights activists have been collecting signatures to put a measure on the November 2022 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 IP 3.  AKC is working with two broad coalitions to oppose the measure. AKC GR has also joined the new Oregon Sportsmen Conservation Partnership to discuss legislative solutions to protect performance events and hunting in the state.  Read more.

Pennsylvania – House Bill 2047 will enhance the punishments for breeders who abuse animals and make it more difficult for them to game the system when they lose their licenses.  The bill would change the first violation for the mistreatment of dogs under their care from a summary offense to a misdemeanor. The maximum fine would also double. Additionally, the legislation would prevent any immediate family member of the offender from obtaining a license as well as anyone who resides at the same residence.  The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  AKC GR will continue to monitor the bill, which is not scheduled for a hearing.

Pennsylvania  HB 142 would exempt certain Dog Law revenues from being transferred into a separate account. Since 1988, all fines, fees and costs collected by the Pennsylvania judicial system in excess of the amount collected from the same sources during Fiscal Year 1986-87 are deposited into the Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account. This includes certain monies that would otherwise be used to fund operations of the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has been operating at a deficit because the licensing fees it receives do not generate enough revenue to fund operations. HB 142 would exempt from transfer approximately $200,000/year in fines, court fees and costs received under the Dog Law. HB 142 passed the House and is now in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. 

Pennsylvania  HB 526 / SB 232 are reintroductions of legislation from last session that seek to increase dog license fees to provide additional funding for the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. As proposed, the legislation changes the dog licensing requirement from 12 age weeks to 8 weeks but eliminates differentiation between intact and spayed/neutered dogs. AKC GR and the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs met with the Bureau director regarding the proposed legislation. AKC GR was recently contacted regarding alternate language for the licensing requirement and recommended that it be kept at the current three months of age or older or upon transfer to a new owner, whichever comes first.  Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and the bill sponsors have indicated that they agree to the change.  Both bills are in their respective chamber’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  AKC GR will continue the monitor these bills.  Much of the content of these bills are included in SB 1289.

Pennsylvania  SB 234 seeks to establish a retail pet store ban in favor of showcasing shelter and rescue dogs for adoption. AKC GR met with the Senate staff to discuss the legislation and offer better alternatives than an outright ban. In both the meeting and follow up, AKC GR encouraged the sponsors to introduce enhanced consumer protection legislation that provides consumers with better information and protection irrespective of the source of dogs, including rescues and shelters which are currently exempt. AKC GR will continue to monitor the bill, which is pending in committee and likely will not be scheduled for a hearing or any committee action in the foreseeable future.

Pennsylvania  SB 907 would establish the Animal Welfare Board to review existing state laws and regulations related to the keeping and handling of animals. The Board is to be comprised of individuals representing various stakeholder organizations and representatives from the PA Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General’s office.  Due to several meetings and conversations with the sponsor’s office, the board will also include a representative from the American Kennel Club, the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs, and Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation.  The bill passed the Senate on June 20 and has been referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Read more

PennsylvaniaSB 1289 is entitled the “Dog Law Modernization Act”.  This bill removes the increased license fees for intact animals and also updates kennel licensing and dangerous dog laws.  In addition, rescues will have an increased license fee based on the number of dogs in their network in the state, as well as reporting and other requirements.  AKC GR has had numerous discussions with the sponsor’s office and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement regarding the language to ensure it is as fair and reasonable as possible.  The bill passed the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on June 22 and is pending consideration by the full Senate.  Read more about this bill.

Rhode Island – S. 2443 would authorize forfeiture of any animal seized by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) if the defendant is found guilty and fails to reimburse RISPCA within 30 days for the boarding and care of animals held pending court proceedings.  AKC GR issued an alert noting the lack of protections for one who is found innocent and testified on April 27 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture requesting amendments.  The committee proposed and adopted an amended S. 2443 responding to AKC concerns and the Senate passed the amended bill on May 17. An identical companion bill was then filed in the House as H. 8303 and considered by the House Judiciary Committee on June 7.  Both bills were voted favorably and sent to the Governor for consideration on June 23, 2022.

Rhode Island – S. 2227 and H. 7678 have been re-filed for consideration this session.  The bills would authorize the court to appoint a student attorney or pro bono attorney in any civil or criminal case to represent an animal in the interests of justice.  AKC GR and the Rhode Island ACLU are in opposition.  HB 7678 had a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on March 10 and AKC GR and the Rhode Island kennel clubs expressed opposition given it would change the property legal status of animals and provide non-human legal rights instead. H. 7678 has been held for further study.  On May 12, the Senate Judiciary scheduled S. 2227 for public hearing and AKC testified in opposition on a panel with RI ACLU.  The bills failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island  H. 6624 would establish an animal abuser registry that requires pet sellers to check the registry prior to transfer and face penalties for transferring an animal to a convicted abuser on the registry.  This bill is a re-filed measure that AKC GR has previously expressed concerns with and did again to the House Judiciary Committee in early 2022.  It has been held for further study.  A Senate companion bill, S. 2701 had a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 12 and AKC testified in opposition on a panel with RI ACLU.  The bills failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island   H. 7021 would authorize the emergency treatment and transport of a police K9 injured in the line of duty.  AKC GR supports this bill.  AKC GR issued an alert requesting support before the public hearing by the House Health and Human Services Committee.  The committee added stakeholders to assist with establishing policies and procedures and passed H. 7021 as amended.  AKC GR issued an alert in support and the bill passed the House on May 3, 2022. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on June 2, AKC submitted supportive testimony and an identical companion bill was then filed as S.3019 for consideration on June 16.  On June 23, both chambers voted these bills favorably and they were transmitted to the Governor for consideration.

Rhode Island  H. 7088 would amend the district courts’ domestic violence protections to include pets in protection orders.  We applaud this effort, particularly given the complex dilemma involving pets and domestic violence situations.  However, AKC GR is concerned about the use of the word “custody” in H. 7088 and recommended that the House Judiciary Committee reserve this legal term for children only.  The bill failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island   H. 7087 would create a court procedure for pets in divorce and separation proceedings based on the best interests of the animal.   Long-standing legal traditions in the United States provide that pets are considered the legal property of their owners, under which their care and treatment is ensured.  Last session, AKC GR worked with the bill sponsor to amend the predecessor bill by replacing “custody” with “possession or ownership”.  AKC GR testified in support of H. 7087 and the Committee voted that it ought to pass.  The House passed H. 7087 and it was sent to Senate Judiciary committee for review. The bill failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island  H. 7305 would add the general agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals and any special agents appointed by the society while enforcing any of the laws of this state in relation to cruelty of animals to the definition of peace officers.  This is to clarify the role of these agents and AKC GR monitored the bill. The bill had a hearing but, it failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island  H. 7572 is a re-filed bill that would prohibit a person convicted of killing an animal or of unnecessary cruelty to animals amounting to torture from owning or exercising control of an animal for life.  Violators would be subject to a fine of one thousand dollars ($1000) for each violation. The House Judiciary held a public hearing. The bill failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island  H. 7573 would create a legal process by which formerly cohabitating parties could seek from the district court a determination as to ownership of any pet.  Because it would change the legal status of animals as property, AKC GR opposed HB 7573 and submitted written testimony for the House Judiciary public hearing. The bill failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island  H. 7785 would authorize the director of the department of environmental management to establish quarantine zones for animals and would permit the examination of any quarantined animal therein.  AKC GR submitted testimony in support of the measure for the public hearing by the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.  The bill was reported favorably and passed by the House on March 17 before being sent to the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee AKC GR submitted testimony in support when the Senate Committee received public testimony on S. 2751, identical to H. 7785. S. 2751 passed the Senate on May 3 and was signed by the Governor May 24.

Rhode Island  S. 2121 is intended to protect the welfare of animals left unattended in motor vehicles by expanding law enforcement officers’ current authority to rescue an animal in distress.  If enacted, an officer would have the authority to maintain custody of the animal for 72 hours or until a court hearing was scheduled where the court may refuse to return custody of the animal to the owner.  AKC GR submitted testimony for the March 29 public hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concerns that, as written, the bill violates due process protections governing personal property. The bill failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

Rhode Island  S. 2651 was filed to ban the import of large animals into the state for canned hunting activities by defining and prohibiting “captive hunting”.  The definition expressly excludes the release of upland game birds for hunting, but AKC GR and the Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation have concerns that the text may unintentionally harm lawful beagle training and field trials with rabbits.  Both AKC GR and the Federation submitted testimony with a recommendation to also expressly exclude these activities in the text of S. 2651 for the Senate Judiciary hearing. The bill failed upon adjournment of the legislative session on June 23.

South Carolina  H 3067 seeks to require that any second violation of the Chapter on Cruelty to Animals, which includes violations under which no animal is harmed, would require forfeiture of ownership of all animals and a prohibition from owning an animal for five years. H 3067 has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. This bill could be considered in 2022, the second year of South Carolina’s two-year session.

South Carolina  S 186 would remove certain exemptions for hunting dogs under state cruelty laws while protecting the use of recognized and responsible training techniques and devices. S 186 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

South Carolina  S 378 would increase penalties for teasing or injuring police dogs and horses, and provide that a person convicted must pay restitution for costs of restoring or replacing a police animal and complete 500 hours of community service. S 378 passed in the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

South Carolina  S 556 seeks to make changes to certain laws that govern trapping in the state. As introduced, this bill could have increased hazards for dogs whose owners participate in field trials, Coonhound events, hunting, and training for these sports, as well as hiking, wilderness camping, and other outdoor activities with dogs. The bill was favorably amended in committee to address certain concerns. It passed in the Senate and was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. Read AKC GR’s alert on S 556 as it was originally introduced.

Tennessee HB 1646/SB 2013, among other provisions, makes it an offense to knowingly and unlawfully cause serious bodily injury to or kill a police dog, fire dog, search and rescue dog, service animal, or police horse. AKC supported this legislation, which was enacted as Public Chapter 1106 and takes effect on July 1, 2022.  Read more.

Vermont   SB 155 would reorganize public safety services within the Executive Branch and create the Agency of Public Safety to oversee functions, including provision of administrative support to the Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board.  Last session, Vermont charged this board with providing training and certification to animal control officers in the state.  Before releasing the bill favorably, the Senate Government Operations Committee amended SB 155 and included a requirement that state agencies review domestic animal welfare oversight responsibilities and make recommendations for legislation to ensure public health and safety.  AKC GR and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs support this work and an alert was issued.  SB 155 as amended was passed by the Senate and was sent to the House Government Operations Committee.  AKC GR submitted a letter of support.  With no action in the House on SB 155, the Senate moved on May 3 to amend HB 729 with text establishing the animal welfare protections and unification of government functions and the bill was then sent to the House Judiciary Committee for acceptance.  The amendment text can be viewed on page 4187 of the Senate’s May 3 calendar, posted here.  AKC GR issued this alert requesting emails in support to the House Judiciary Committee, which made minor changes to the text and sent it back to the full Senate.  The Senate unanimously concurred with these changes on May 10 and the Governor signed it into law June 1.