News from the State Capitols
Here are some highlights of state-level issues AKC GR is currently tracking.
Alabama – SB 2 sought to prohibit inmates from participating in training of dogs for identifying scents and tracking humans. AKC monitored this legislation, which was not considered in the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and failed at end of session.
Alabama – SB 242 sought to remove the limit on the amount that a landlord may require a tenant to pay as a security deposit under a residential rental agreement. It would not have affected pet fees, which would have remained uncapped. AKC monitored this legislation, which passed in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee, then was indefinitely postponed in the Senate. The bill was not reconsidered and failed at end of session.
California – AB-781 would require a county to update its emergency plan to designate emergency shelters able to accommodate persons with pets on or before July 1, 2024. The bill has passed unanimously out of the Assembly and awaits action in the Senate. AKC supports this bill.
California – AB-1215 is a positive bill that would set up a program for state administered grants to assist pets of individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and for domestic violence survivors and their pets when accessing the shelter system. CA AB 1215 passed unanimously out of the Assembly and awaits further action in the Senate.
California – AB-742 would prevent the use of police canines for the purpose of arrest, apprehension, or any form of crowd control. AKC recognizes the value of highly trained working K9s for a wide variety of jobs including detection, search and rescue, and other public safety functions. The measure passed two Assembly committees, but did not advance in the full Assembly, and l will not advance this year.
California – AB-554 would clarify animal cruelty enforcement. AKC thanks Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (46th District) and the Assembly Judiciary Committee for the proposed amendment to the bill to ensure Californians’ right to due process is respected. The amended bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. However, due to inaction in the full Assembly, the bill will not advance this year. Read more.
California – SB-89 brings California definitions of stalking to be in line with federal law, including to make harming or killing pets a stalking offense. The bill has unanimously passed the Senate and awaits action in the Assembly. AKC supports this bill.
California – AB-1518 seeks to expand on previous bills to increase awareness and education about the value of service dogs. The bill has passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee but was prevented from advancing by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AKC looks forward to supporting similar legislation in the future.
Connecticut – HB 6714 would redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal, require that veterinarians report suspected incidents of animal cruelty, and prohibit persons convicted of animal cruelty or having sexual contact with an animal from possessing or working with animals for a period of five years. AKC, CFDRDO and veterinarians expressed concern the proposed definition of “sexual contact with an animal” could be interpreted as prohibiting routine canine reproduction procedures, such as artificial insemination. The Judiciary Committee voted favorably on an amended HB 6714 that ensures that bona fide veterinary and animal husbandry purposes would not be inadvertently banned. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was sent to the Governor on June 14.
Connecticut – SB 1069 would expand the definition of “animal”, expand licensed “grooming facility” to include any vehicle or trailer, and remove the definition of “kennel” allowing for personal kennels. It would require a kennel license for anyone who breeds more than two litters annually. Municipal animal control officers, instead of the Department of Agriculture, would be responsible for inspections and the enforcement of new detailed care and conditions. AKC and the state federation worked on amendments that preserved the definition of “kennel”, did not expand the definition of “grooming facility”, and that removed any hobby breeder reference as a “facility” to be adopted before the measure advanced. Legislator leaders further amended the bill to only require inspection and kennel licensure for those producing more than five litters in year. On June 5, the Governor was sent Public Act No. 23-17 and it was signed into law.
Connecticut – SB 729 would establish the Husky as the Connecticut state dog. AKC submitted a letter of support to the committee. An omnibus bill including this provision was raised as HB 6822 and heard in March. The bill was voted favorably out of committee and was on the House calendar for consideration but, the session adjourned June 7 without further action.
Connecticut – The Department of Agriculture submitted HB 6611 to consider a statewide dog license portal. An additional benefit of the electronic dog license portal proposed is a flat dog license fee whether a dog is intact or not. The platform will allow confidentiality for individuals with privacy protections in place. An amended HB 6611 supported by AKC GR was referred to Committee on Appropriations on April 25. The Department was unable to secure funding in the state budget bill and the session adjourned June 7 without the amended bill advancing.
Delaware – HB 124 is an updated version of HB 84 (stricken by sponsor) that would prohibit owners from allowing dogs to bark continuously for more than 15 minutes, or intermittently for more than 30 minutes per day. After discussions with the sponsor, the bill was amended to exempt dogs engaged in any lawful activity including training, hunting, performance events, etc. AKC continues to express concerns about the likelihood of neighbor disputes, and the inability of animal control to be able to consider cases on an individual basis. Further, AKC GR has pointed out that this bill seeks a statewide solution to a local nuisance issue. HB 124 is currently in the House Appropriations Committee. AKC GR has been working with other interested parties to encourage the committee to hold the bill from a full House vote. To date, those efforts have remained successful.
Delaware – SB 37 names rescue(d) dogs as the official state dog of Delaware. During the process, AKC continued to remind members that rescue, and shelter dogs are not a breed of dog and naming them as the state dogs does little to change their situation. The bill passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by the Governor on May 30, 2023.
Delaware – SB 71 would require law-enforcement agencies, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and the Department of Justice to report suspected animal cruelty to the Office of Animal Welfare that is discovered while performing their responsibilities in child welfare cases. Additionally, this Act also provides immunity to people who, in good faith, report suspected animal cruelty. AKC GR expressed our concern about the potential misuse of this legislation which could provide an avenue for excessive, frivolous, or even persecutorial reporting – punishing responsible owners. SB 71 passed both the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
Florida – HB 157/SB 518 sought to exempt records containing information about persons who have adopted an animal from a local animal shelter or animal control agency from public records requirements. AKC Government Relations expressed concern that this legislation could negatively impact tracking a pet with a disease process and would hide pet trafficking under the guise of rescue from public oversight. HB 157 did not receive a committee hearing. Despite these concerns, SB 518 passed unanimously in both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Community Affairs and Rules Committee. It later failed in the Senate Rules Committee upon adjournment.
Florida – HB 719/SB 722 allows certain out-of-state veterinarians to provide specified services under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed in the state. HB 719 was signed by the Governor and takes effect July 1, 2023.
Florida – HB 849/SB 800 sought to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats and would have allowed the enactment and enforcement of more stringent municipal and county ordinances regarding any animal sale. AKC Government Relations closely monitored this problematic legislation, which did not receive committee hearings and failed upon adjournment.
Florida – SB 932 was an overreaching bill that, among other provisions, sought to criminalize allowing a dog to have its nose out of a vehicle; certain accepted and safe transport methods for dogs; declawing of cats; and unattended tethering of dogs. It also sought to establish an animal abuser registry that would have included restrictions on both the abuser and others not charged with or complicit in an offense. SB 932 received negative media attention and constituent opposition for several of its overreaching provisions. AKC Government Relations strongly opposed this bill, which did not receive a committee hearing and failed upon adjournment.
Florida – HB 941/SB 942 supported by AKC, removes an exemption from state law that allowed certain local governments to continue banning/restricting dog breeds. It also authorizes public housing authorities to adopt policies related to dogs provided that such requirements are not specific to a dog’s breed, weight, or size. SB 942 was signed by the Governor nd takes effect on October 1, 2023.
Florida – HB 989/SB 1006 were versions of “lawyers for animals” bills that would have authorized a court to order that a separate advocate be appointed in the interests of justice for certain civil and criminal proceedings regarding an animal’s welfare or custody. HB 989 was minimally amended, and a committee substitute was re-referred to the House Judiciary Committee where the bill failed upon adjournment. SB 1006 did not receive a committee hearing. Read AKC’s alert that opposed this legislation.
Florida – HB 1047/SB 1300, supported by AKC, increase protections for police canines, fire canines, search and rescue canines, and police horses. HB 1047 was signed by the Governor as Chapter No. 2023-110 and takes effect October 1, 2023.
Florida – HB 1047/SB 1300, supported by AKC, increase protections for police canines, fire canines, search and rescue canines, and police horses. HB 1047 passed in both chambers, was signed by the Governor as Chapter 2023-110, and takes effect October 1, 2023.
Florida – HB 1581/SB 1492 were unreasonable, punitive, and overreaching dog breeder bills that, among other egregious provisions, sought to regulate owners of one intact female dog. Associated bills HB 1583, HB 1585, SB 1494, and SB 1496 addressed funding mechanisms for the bills. Because of the hard work of Florida advocates, the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs, and AKC Government Relations, neither bill received a committee hearing and they died in their respective committees upon adjournment. Read AKC’s most recent alert that opposed these bills.
Florida – HB 7063 among numerous other provisions, establishes sales tax holidays in 2023 for purchases of supplies necessary for the evacuation of household pets. Necessary supplies must be noncommercial purchases, subject to price limitations, which include pet foods, portable kennels/carriers, pet beds, and other items. HB 7063 was signed by the Governor. Applicable dates for this section are May 27, 2023 through June 9, 2023 and August 26, 2023 through September 8, 2023.
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.
Illinois – House Bill 1049 would prohibit homeowners’ and renters’ insurers from canceling, refusing, or raising premiums for coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the insured. AKC supports this bill, which is a good first step in protecting resident Illinois dog owners. The bill was signed by the governor.
Illinois – Senate Bill 1499 as introduced would have allowed for a person to face forfeiture of their animals for virtually any violation of state law regarding the care of animals, even without a conviction. AKC and IFDCO expressed concerns about the one-size-fits-all nature of this punishment which could include minor, correctable infractions that do not rise to the level of a serious offense. An amendment was added to remove the reference to basic standards of care and only apply this to violations of true cruelty laws. The bill is pending with the governor.
Iowa – HF 651 makes several changes to animal control laws, including prohibiting local governments from passing breed-specific laws and clarifying laws regarding at-large dogs. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House on April 12 and is being combined with SF 476. Amendments are currently under consideration in the Senate State Government Committee and AKC is closely monitoring.
Louisiana – HB 248 allows the cremated remains of pets to be buried with humans subject to specified requirements. It was signed by the Governor as Act No. 20 and takes effect August 1, 2023.
Louisiana – House Bill 579, relative to pet insurance, provides for definitions, disclosures, policy conditions, certain sales practices, and producer training. This bill, which was monitored by AKC Government Relations, was signed by the Governor, enacted as Act No. 94, and takes effect January 1, 2024.
Maine – LD 1234 would require the Department of Public Safety to reimburse authorized handlers of retired law enforcement dogs that were used in service by the State Police up to $5,000 per year for health care expenses of their dogs. AKC supported the bill, which was approved by the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety as amended to cover all retired law enforcement K9s. In June the expanded bill quickly passed the House and Senate before being sent on June 14 to the special appropriations table for funding consideration.
Maine – LD 598 would make it a civil violation for an operator of a motor vehicle to fail to report an accident with a cat, a dog or livestock to a law enforcement officer or to the owner of the animal by the quickest means available. A violation after 3 or more violations within the previous 5-year period would amount to a Class E crime. The Transportation Committee released the bill favorably as amended to define an accident as “death of an animal or damage to real or personal property” and the House passed it on June 6 and the Senate voted it favorably on June 12.
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 also would create a new definition for “personal breeder kennel” as anyone with more than 4 intact female dogs who transfers any offspring. Personal breeder kennels and commercial breeder kennels would be held to the same future regulations. They have been referred to the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee and a public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for September 12.
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 and a public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for September 12.
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 has been referred to the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee and a public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for September 12.
Minnesota – Section 57 of Senate File 2744, an omnibus Department of Commerce bill, prohibits homeowner’s insurance companies from (1) refusing to issue or renew an insurance policy or contract, or (2) canceling an insurance policy or contract basely solely on the fact that the homeowner harbors or owns one dog of a specific breed or mixture of breeds. Insurers may refuse to issue or renew, cancel, or increase premiums if a dog kept by the homeowner meets the criteria of a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog, or if the decision is based on sound underwriting and actuarial principles that are reasonably related to actual or anticipated loss experience. The bill was signed into law on May 24, 2023.
Missouri – HB 630/SB 132 would have established 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). An amendment was added to HB 630 on the House floor to protect pet stores from local regulation prohibiting their operation. AKC GR and its state federation supported these bills. HB 630 passed the House and SB 132 had a public hearing but both were ultimately held in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee. The legislature adjourned for the year on May 31, 2023.
Montana – SB-280 institutes a low-cost licensing system for bird dog training of game birds not raised in captivity. It has overwhelmingly passed the Senate and House and was signed by the governor.
Nevada – AB-86 revised animal cruelty laws in the state. AKC worked extensively with the sponsor to ensure that the revision protected responsible dog owners. The bill advanced out of the Assembly but stalled in the Senate. AKC supports the spirit of this proposal and looks forward to supporting it in a future session.
Nevada – SB-190 revised provisions relating to immunity from civil and criminal liability for certain actions taken to protect or remove a child or pet from a car. The bill unanimously passed the Senate but stalled in the Assembly. It will not advance this year.
Nevada –SB 331 This bill requires cities and subdivisions to designate at least one emergency shelter in their jurisdiction that can accommodate people and their pets. People not being able to find a place for their pets during an emergency is one of the biggest barriers preventing people from taking refuge when needed. AKC has testified in support of the proposal. The governor has signed it into law.
New Hampshire – SB 268 would allow for pre-hospital treatment and transportation for police canines injured in the line of duty. AKC and many others testified in support of the bill throughout the process. An amended version passed the House on May 4 and the Senate concurred with the amended bill on June 1. Learn more in this update.
New Hampshire – HB 249 would establish regulatory standards for the pet insurance industry. The House Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs held a hearing on an amendment to allow restaurant owners to keep their dog on the premises. The bill passed the House on March 22 and the Senate on May 11.
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.
New Jersey – As introduced, Senate Bill 333 sought to prohibit persons convicted of criminal animal cruelty offenses from owning domestic companion animals and from working or volunteering at animal-related enterprises. AKC expressed deep concerns with section 2 of the bill, which would have allowed a court to order (1) the forfeiture of any animal owned by an animal cruelty offender and (2) the transfer of such animal to the custody of an animal shelter. In effect, the section failed to protect the property interests of co-owners not in possession of a dog at the time of the offense. A significantly amended version of S.333 that addresses AKC’s concerns unanimously passed the Senate. The bill is now under the cognizance of the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee.
New Jersey – Assembly Bill 2354 and Senate Bill 981 seek 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. S.981 was approved unamended by the Senate in March 2022. One year later, the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee separately amended the bills prior to being passed by the full Assembly. S.9891 awaits action by Governor Murphy. AKC continues to strongly oppose S.981 due to ongoing constitutional concerns and the lack of protections for non-possessory co-owners.
New Jersey – Senate Bill 1803 seeks to prohibit declawing procedures from being performed on cats and other animals unless deemed necessary for a therapeutic purpose by a licensed veterinarian. AKC opposes this measure because it may prohibit common and accepted animal husbandry practices from being performed on dogs. The bill was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee, and has been rereferred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
New York – A. 111/S.1659 would allow a court to appoint an advocate to represent the interest of animals in cruelty cases. AKC is opposing these bills, which are pending in their respective Judiciary Committees.
New York – A. 1149/S. 4163 would prohibit renter’s insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the renter. AKC supports this legislation, which is pending in their respective Insurance Committees.
New York – A. 3976 and S. 4084 would allow for both compensatory and punitive damages for the wrongful injury or death of an animal. AKC GR opposes these bills, which are pending in their respective Judiciary Committees.
New York – S. 142 would ban debarking in the state unless necessary to alleviate an illness or injury. AKC GR expressed concerns with this bill, which has passed the Senate and has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Read more.
New York – S. 4099/A. 2917 makes certain hunting competitions illegal. As written, however, both bills contain important amendments requested by the AKC to protect training and performance events. The bills have passed the legislature and will soon be sent to the governor for consideration. Read more.
Oregon – SB-696 appropriates money to the Department of Justice out of General Fund to fund animal cruelty focused attorneys within the department’s Criminal Justice Division. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Although the AKC supports strong animal cruelty laws, concerns remain about the intent of this bill.
Oregon – HB-2915 would end the sale of dogs and cats while exempting stores that currently sell such pets until September 1, 2028. The bill has passed out of the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee; it awaits further action in the Senate. AKC has concerns over the erosion of consumer protections with the limitation of pet store sales of dogs and cats.
Oregon – HB-3571 establishes immunity from prosecution for theft and civil liability for nonprofit animal rescue entity that takes possession of, keeps and disposes of a cat or dog if the person who transfers the cat or dog to the animal holding agency believes the cat or dog to be lost, stray or abandoned. The bill was heard in the House Judiciary Committee (with proposed amendments) but will not advance this year. AKC continues to monitor this issue.
Pennsylvania – SB 746 and its companion HB 1322 seek to update the Commonwealth’s Dog Law. Even though AKC participated in a stakeholder meeting ahead of the formal introduction, both bills contained language not included in the stakeholders’ agreed to draft that removed an existing provision providing an exemption from licensing and health certification requirements for dogs entering the Commonwealth temporarily to participate in dog events. Further, the legislation changed the provision of a veterinarian issued health certificate to an interstate certification of veterinarian inspection. AKC GR was successful in securing an amendment to reinstate this important exemption.
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. During the development of the legislation, AKC GR and a representative of the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs had conversations with the sponsor to confirm representation by the American Kennel Club, the state federation, a breeder, and sportsmen. The bill was assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on June 14, 2023.
Rhode Island – HB 5918 is a refiled measure that would create an ownership procedure for pets in divorce and separation proceedings based on the best interests of the animal. This act would not apply to assistance/service animals. AKC worked with the bill sponsor to substitute “ownership” for the word “custody”. It is being held for study.
Rhode Island – HB 5864 would define and prohibit “captive hunting” for domestic or wild animals in enclosed areas. AKC is working with the bill proponent to clarify the text and ensure no negative consequences for legal field trial activities. The Senate filed a mirror bill, SB 607, that had a public hearing on May 17. AKC submitted testimony requesting the same clarifying amendment and is working with bill proponents to get it adopted.
Rhode Island – HB 5114 would permit the family court to award custody of household pets to the plaintiff in a domestic abuse complaint, including the enforcement remedy of a restraining order or other injunctive relief. AKC expressed concerns about using the legal term “custody”, given the three types of child custody. It is being held for study.
Rhode Island – HB 5207 is a re-filed bill that would establish an animal abuser registry and require pet sellers to check the registry before transferring an animal to avoid fines. Everyone can agree that animals deserve a life in a safe, caring, and healthy environment. However, registries can be easily evaded and no evidence suggests they are effective at reducing the rate of subsequent offenses. AKC believes a better use of the State’s resources would be to focus on and utilize enforcement activities that are proven effective and provided this testimony before the House Judiciary Committee with other stakeholders. The bill is being studied.
Rhode Island – Elimination of the sales tax for taxi and pet services, such as grooming and boarding, would occur if SB 83 were enacted. AKC supports the bill, and it was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The bill has been passed by the House and Senate.
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, 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.
Texas- House Bill 4759 makes changes to the Texas dangerous dog laws by expanding the law to deem a dog dangerous if it causes bodily injury. If a dog is deemed dangerous and causes bodily injury it would be a class B misdemeanor. AKC is concerned with the definition of bodily injury because of its broad use of the term physical pain. AKC expressed concerns that a playful animal could be deemed dangerous if it unintentionally caused physical pain to a person. AKC reached out the bill sponsor to clarify her intention with the bill and she committed to changes to the law if it is unfairly applied. The bill was vetoed by the governor.