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Taking Command Newsletter

State Issues March 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.

Arkansas –
HB 1778 seeks to require a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and either imprisonment for 1 day to 1 year or a combination of community service and a psychiatric/psychological exam, counseling and treatment at the offender’s expense for any animal cruelty conviction or plea of no cpntest involving a cat or dog. The penalty for a second offense within five years or a similar offense that occurred in any state or country would be a $5,000 fine and either 90 days to 1-year imprisonment or 30 days community service and psychiatric/psychological examination and treatment at the offender’s expense.  Additional offenses within five years would be escalating felonies. This bill does not distinguish between an easily correctible offense of failing to provide an undefined “adequate” shelter to an animal versus intentional acts of cruel mistreatment and would mandate escalated penalties regardless of the circumstances or severity of the offense. HB 1778 has been assigned to the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee.

ArkansasSB 11, which seeks to protect traditional hunting methods, including hunting with the assistance of a dog, has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee.

CaliforniaAB 588 would require shelters to disclose any history of bites for dogs available for adoption. AKC GR is following this bill closely and will provide additional testimony/comment as appropriate.

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.

Connecticut SB 21 would extend the work of the taskforce on the humane treatment of animals in municipal and regional animal shelters until January 2020.  The bill received a favorable committee report and is on the Senate calendar.  AKC GR would like the taskforce to recommend state licensure for shelters and rescues.

Connecticut – HB 5386 prohibits pet stores from sourcing dogs or cats from anywhere but animal welfare organizations.  AKC GR submitted testimony in opposition and is monitoring the bill closely.

Connecticut – HB 6016 requires municipal animal control facilities comply with Department of Agriculture sanitation and humane treatment regulations and would result in an update of old regulations grandfathering municipal dog pounds.  AKC submitted testimony supporting standardizing criteria for shelters and municipal dog pounds.

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 making clear the ban would not apply to leasing of purebred dogs for stud or exhibition, or for working animals trained and utilized to perform tasks such as service, guide or law enforcement.

FloridaHB 67 / SB 96 increase penalties for certain offenses committed on police, fire and search and rescue dogs.  Both bills have passed in committees.

FloridaHB 1409 seeks to regulate commercial dog breeders and dealers. This bill contains numerous problematic and arbitrary provisions not based in sound science or accepted animal husbandry provisions. HB 1409 has been assigned to the House Commerce Committee.

Georgia – SB 32 sought to limit liability for property damage caused by the rescue or attempted rescue of animals locked in motor vehicles. The Georgia Canine Coalition advocated for amendments to provide that a person who removes a life-endangered dog from a vehicle shall have no claim against the owner of the dog or vehicle for any injuries or damage sustained by the person. SB 32 did not pass in the House.

Hawaii – HB 24 would create the crime of sexual assault of an animal and provide for the impoundment and forfeiture of a sexually-assaulted animal.  As introduced, the bill also explicitly states the practices of veterinary medicine, artificial insemination of animals for the purpose of procreation, animal husbandry, or conformation judging is not to be considered sexual assault of an animal.  The bill was considered by the House Agriculture Committee on February 8, which deferred action to a later date.

Hawaii – HB 930 seeks to prohibit future pet stores from selling purpose-bred dogs, cats, and rabbits; and to require retailers to only sell those that are obtained from certain “humane” sources.  AKC opposes HB 930, which was also deferred by the House Agriculture Committee on February 8. Read the alert.

Idaho Senate Bill 1312 would increase penalties for any person who purposely injures or harasses a service dog or a service dog in training, or allows an animal to injure a service dog. The bill also defines what constitutes a service dog and what does not. The bill has been referred to committee.

Illinois – HB 1631 would assign a special advocate to “represent the interests of justice regarding the health or safety” of a dog or cat.  AKC GR and its federation expressed concerns with this bill regarding the numerous legal implications if dogs are no longer treated as property.  It was considered by the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee on March 5.

Illinois – House Bill 1645 would make it a misdemeanor for someone to intentionally misrepresent their animal as a service animal.  AKC and its Illinois federation are both supporting this bill.  It is pending in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee and a hearing has been rescheduled for March 26.  Read more about this legislation.

Illinois – House Bills 2933 and 3620 would delete the language from the Illinois Safe Pets Act enacted in 2017 (supported by the AKC) and replace it with a restriction that pet stores may only source dogs from shelters, rescues, or breeders with fewer than five intact females.  AKC and its state federation are expressing concerns that this removes consumer protection laws.  The bills are likely being considered by the House Agriculture Committee on March 26. Read AKC’s alert for more information.

Illinois – Senate Bill 61 would significantly increase kennel and other license fees in the state and regulate foster homes and transport groups.  The bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on March 21, and AKC GR is reviewing the numerous amendments.  Read AKC’s alert for information on the bill and amendments that were considered by the committee.

Indiana – Senate Bill 533 would require that any dog or cat being imported from a foreign county into Indiana be accompanies by a certificate of veterinary inspection or health certificate.  AKC supports this bill, which has unanimously passed the Senate and was considered by the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on March 21.  Read more about this bill.

Iowa – House File 738 (formerly House Study Bill 227) makes numerous changes to the state’s breeder laws.  Currently, Iowa has some of the most stringent breeder laws in the country, defining a “commercial breeder” as anyone who has more than three intact dogs and sells or exchanges even one dog for consideration.  This bill would change the definition to make the definition closer to a true commercial breeder but is still partially based on the number of breeding dogs on the property.  AKC is asking that ownership numbers be removed, and the definition be based solely on sales. In addition, the bill establishes new licenses for entities such as “commercial rescues”; however, they do not have to comply with the standards of care required for dogs kept by commercial breeders.  AKC and local clubs are also concerned that this bill would allow for all dogs to be seized for even one violation of the standards of care – no matter how minor the violation.  The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee.  Read more about this legislation.

Iowa – House File 737 (formerly House Study Bill 114) rewrites a number of the state’s cruelty laws.  As introduced, it had several unclear provisions, including making it unclear who is permitted to perform tail docking and dewclaw removal.  Another section states that if a person cannot afford the costs of veterinary care, they must transfer ownership to someone who can. It is unclear how this would impact situations when an owner may choose in conjunction with a veterinarian to make the dog as comfortable as possible, but to forgo extensive and expensive treatments. AKC and local clubs have provided testimony and amendments to the sponsor and committee. Several changes requested were incorporated, but some questions remain.  The bill is now pending consideration by the House of Representatives.

Iowa – Senate File 369 (formerly Senate Study Bill 1075) as introduced provides clarifying changes regarding penalties for animal abuse and mistreatment.  Local kennel clubs have requested amendments to ensure that animal wardens permitted to handle abuse cases do not extend to third parties.  AKC has been in direct contact with the sponsor to offer expertise and assistance.  The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 25.

Kentucky SB 67 establishes the crime of sexual offenses against animals and includes exceptions for accepted animal husbandry procedures, artificial insemination procedures, and conformation judging procedures as recommended by AKC in response to bills filed in previous sessions. SB 67 was amended to require that if the person convicted of a violation is not the owner of the animal subjected to the violation, then the animal shall be returned to its owner unaltered. AKC GR worked with the Kentucky Houndsmen Association to ensure that SB 67 protected animals from abuse without requiring forfeiture of animals not owned by the offender. It passed in both chambers and was delivered to the Governor.

Maine – LD 556 allows anyone believing a dog unattended in a vehicle to be in serious distress to break into the vehicle after contacting law enforcement.  In addition to the Maine Department of Agriculture, AKC GR testified in opposition and mounted a grassroots effort with the Maine federation.  Committee voted to NOT pass.

Maine – LD 1049 extends the puppy health warranty of no hereditary or congenital defects to 5 years for breeders, but not shelters or rescues.  Together with the Maine federation and parent club advocates, AKC GR successfully moved the sponsor to strike this provision from the bill.  Discussion continues regarding remedies for health problems identified within the first year of purchase. Read the alert here.

Maine – LD 1311 bans the sourcing of dogs and cats to pet stores from anywhere but animal shelters or rescues.  AKC GR and the Maine Federation are concerned the legislature would entertain this bill simultaneously with LD 1049, which increases consumer protections for purchasers of dogs from breeders, but not shelters and rescues.  The public hearing is scheduled for April 4th.

Maryland – HB 135 and SB 152, as introduced, could have caused an owner to permanently lose ownership of their animals when they are suspected of cruelty – even if they are ultimately found not guilty – if they miss even one payment for the care of their animals during any trial and appeals process. The cost of care is determined by the agency that seized and is caring for the animals. SB 152 was significantly amended to address concerns expressed by AKC and the Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland federation.  The amended bill as well as HB 135, which has not been amended, are pending in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 152 is scheduled for a hearing on March 26.

Maryland – House Bill 501 would have penalized those who keep their dogs tethered outside unattended for 30 minutes when the temperature is above 90 or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The bill had a public hearing on February 27.  AKC communicated multiple times with the sponsor and committee, and local clubs continued to work with her on more effective alternatives. The bill was ultimately defeated in committee and local clubs have already offered to work with the sponsor prior to a bill being introduced next session.  Read more about this bill.

Maryland – Senate Bill 647 would prohibit homeowner’s and renter’s insurance providers from discriminating against specific breeds or mixed breeds of dogs when offering insurance policies.  Current law allows insurance companies at the time of application and renewal if they do not provide coverage for specific breeds.  AKC supports this bill, which would strike current law and prohibit breed discrimination in insurance policies.  The bill was considered by the Senate Finance Committee on March 12.  Read more about this bill.

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.  AKC GR is attending the commission meetings, which will result in recommendations for legislation.

Massachusetts – More than 30 animal-related bills have been filed and sent to committee. AKC GR is working with the Massachusetts Federation of dog clubs to review each prior to public hearings.

Minnesota – HF 478 and SF 1109 seek to provide $150,000 in funding for the training of service dogs to assist some of the state’s firefighters with posttraumatic stress disorder.  AKC supports both bills.  HF 478 is scheduled for consideration by the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on March 20.  An amended SF 1109 has passed one policy committee and referred to another.

MississippiSB 2014 would allow for the protection of pets in a protection order.  AKC GR supported this measure, which passed in the Senate but died on the calendar.

Montana – Senate Joint Resolution 7 recognizes the AKC Canine Good Citizen program.  If passed, Montana will join 44 other states who have passed similar resolutions.

Montana There are currently four bills dealing with service animals being considered in Montana. HB 379 is the “Working animal protection policy” and declares that working animals are vital to the state and its residents. HB 439 revises state code, defines service animals and establishes penalties for misrepresenting a service animal. HB 466 creates a misdemeanor for the misrepresentation of a service animal. HB 659 establishes penalties for negligent injury or death of a service animal.

Nevada AB 165 would allow a person to collect non-economic damages for injury to or the loss of a dog.  AKC GR is working with a broad coalition to fight this proposal and present more effective alternatives. The bill was pulled from a committee hearing while the coalition meets with the sponsor and legislative leadership.

New Jersey – A. 4552 prohibits the leasing of dogs and cats.  AKC has provided testimony sharing concerns that A. 4552 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 amendment language to address this issue.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 781 would establish a process for recovering the cost of caring for domestic companion animals involved in animal cruelty investigations. A781 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 as amended passed the Assembly and is pending in the Senate Environment and Energy 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 unanimously passed the Senate in July.

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) designed to regulate professional groomers have been introduced in response to media reports regarding the deaths of dogs while in the custody of professional groomers. A3044 has been amended per AKC’s request to exclude grooming a dog for a dog show or other competitive event from the definition of pet groomer.  AKC is also working on amendments to require that professional groomers pass a training course on basic health and safety standards prior to licensing.  A3044 passed the Assembly in October.  A3044 and S2514 were considered by the Senate Commerce Committee on February 7. The AKC expects additional amendments to these bills. 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.

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 for now by the House.

New Hampshire SB 161 strikes from law the definition for “commercial kennel” and would require anyone transferring ownership of 20 or more animals to be licensed as a “pet vendor”.  Licensure as a pet vendor could result in municipal zoning restrictions for a breeder with more than 20 puppies in a 12-month period.  Upon passage, the Senate has added a staff position at the Dept of Agriculture in this bill and restored text requiring submission of health certificates to the state.  AKC GR and the NH DOGS federation are pleased to see the inclusion of these changes and are advocating to require health certificate submission by shelters and rescues and restoration of the commercial kennel definition limits of 10 litters or 50 animals over 12 months.

New Mexico – House Bill 598 was brought forward by the Rio Grande Kennel Club and would allow first responders to perform emergency care on animals until they can be transported to a veterinarian.  The club has publicly committed to donating dog and cat resuscitation kits to first responders throughout the state should the bill pass. This bill supported by the AKC passed committee, but session ended before it could advance further.  The club is working with first responder groups in the interim in an effort to bring the bill back in the 2020 session.

New York – A. 722 and S. 4253 would prohibit all “contests” where wildlife are killed or captured.  The bills were assigned to their respective Environmental Conservation Committees, but are not scheduled for hearings at this time. AKC GR continues to closely monitor this legislation.

North Dakota – HB 1259 would make it an infraction (maximum fine $100) to knowingly make a false claim that a pet is a service animal in an attempt to gain admission to a public place or obtain a reasonable housing accommodation. AKC supports this bill, which has passed the House and been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ohio – Recently the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been interpreting a nearly 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 has also met with key legislators to discuss options for protecting hobbyists and home-based breeders in Ohio. On March 7, ODA announced a temporary suspension of enforcement pending legislative action. Read AKC’s notice and letter for more information.

Oregon SB 723 as introduced will effectively prohibit any event, contest or competition that uses game birds or game animals for prizes, inducement or entertainment. This could affect hunt testing, hunt trials and hunting in general where dogs earn titles. A hunt test title – or even a ribbon – could be construed as a “prize” and fall under the prohibited provisions of this bill. AKC Government Relations is closely tracking this bill and in touch with sporting event organizations. The bill has been assigned to committee and the sponsor has offered amendments. The bill has been set for a committee hearing twice and postponed in both instances.  Read AKC’s alert for more information.

Oregon SB 439 will create a service dog task force that would meet and advise the legislature on issues surrounding the use of service animals. The task force would not include any representatives of service dog organizations or representative of disabled person. The task force would include a representative from an animal rights organization. AKC GR has submitted a letter to the committee that will hear the bill and to the author expressing our serious concern with the bill, as introduced.

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 is drafting comments to submit to the sponsor.

Oregon – HB 2804 This bill would prohibit any retail pet store from selling a dog, cat or rabbit that was not obtained from an animal shelter or rescue organization. AKC GR has joined with the state federation and other groups in opposing this legislation.

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 GR is working with the Pennsylvania Federation to oppose this bill and provide more effective solutions.  It is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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 has now 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.

Rhode Island – The House Committee on Health, Education & Welfare heard multiple bills of serious concern to AKC GR in February. HB 5265 would establish an Animal Rights Advisory Council made up of predominantly animal rights groups to issue annual recommendations to the legislature.  HB 5433 would allow the seizure of animals if in the opinion of an animal control officer there is suspected neglect or abuse, for example, indicated by an animal being lame.  HB 5072 would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs not sourced from a shelter, rescue or pound.  AKC GR testified suggesting these issues be vetted by establishing an animal welfare advisory council, with a seat for kennel clubs and AKC.  Rhode Island kennel club members submitted testimony and three personally attended the hearing.  AKC GR has a follow-up meeting with the Committee chair.

South Carolina – H.3086 seeks to regulate as a commercial dog breeder a person who owns or maintains 20 or more intact female dogs over the age of six months kept primarily for the purpose of breeding and selling the offspring. Among other provisions, a commercial dog breeder would be required to obtain a business license issued by the county or municipality. Any animal control officer, public health or safety official, or law enforcement officer employed by the municipality or county where a commercial dog breeder resides or maintains breeding operations would be empowered to investigate any potential violation, and inspect records, any companion animal, and any place where animals are bred or maintained, including a residence. H 3086 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

South Carolina – H.3709 seeks to require that a fertile “pit bull dog” over the age of eight weeks must be registered with a governmental animal control agency for $500 fee. “Pit bull dog” is defined as an “American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier” or a dog exhibiting characteristics that conform to AKC standards for the listed breeds. Dogs registered by the age of six months that compete in a nationally-recognized AKC or UKC show would be exempted if documentation is provided of the dog’s registration, pedigree, and proof of show participation during the prior twelve months. AKC GR has contacted the sponsor’s staff to express concerns about this bill and its inaccurate findings.

South Carolina S.105 seeks to establish requirements for tethering a dog as penalties for cruelty.  It further 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 and could serve to immediately sever the property rights of an owner of any two impounded puppies deemed to be a “litter”. Among positive provisions, S.105 establishes that costs of care for an impounded animal may be charged to the owner only after they are found guilty. It also includes standards for shelters and rescue groups and tethering requirements.  It passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

TennesseeHB 233 / SB 222 would criminalize possessing, owning, buying, selling, or manufacturing animal fighting paraphernalia with the intent that it be used in promoting, facilitating, or training for animal fighting. Items specified in the bill include treadmills and other equipment commonly used in training dogs for legal activities. AKC GR requested amendments to the bill, which were passed in Senate committee. At this time, the two versions of the bills do not concur.

TennesseeHB 281 / SB 436 seek to regulate pet stores at the state level, require that pet stores shall not obtain dogs from a breeder with USDA direct noncompliance violations, and require the pet store to provide current veterinary health documentation for each dog sold. AKC GR has 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”.

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.  HB 852 has been reset on the subcommittee calendar. 

Tennessee – HB 1190 / SB 1393 seek to establish 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.  HB 1190 is on the calendar of the House Commerce Committee for 3/26/19.  SB 1393 is on the calendar of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee for 3/26/19.

TexasHB 921 seeks to require animal shelters and releasing agencies to prepare and maintain records on the intake and disposition of animals in the care of the shelter or agency and to make those records available to the Health and Human Services Commission.  AKC supports this bill, which was scheduled to be considered by the House Public Health Committee on March 20. Read the alert here. 

TexasHB 3092 would require shelters to provide written notice to each person who adopts an animal from the shelter of any epizootic infectious disease that occurs among the animals in the shelter within a 30-day period before and after the date of transfer. Read the alert here.

Texas – SB 476 would permit businesses to allow patrons to bring dogs to their outdoor dining areas if they choose, so long as certain standards are met.  AKC GR is supporting this bill, which was passed by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on March 13 and placed on the intent calendar on March 18. Read the alert here. 

Vermont – AKC GR and the Vermont Federation have analyzed four bills this month and drafted suggested amendments.  None of the bills appear to be moving forward at this time.

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 originally 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 has been amended to address the majority of concerns.  One provision does remain that requires tethers to be at least 10 feet in length.  This was decreased from the original requirement of 15 feet.  All language regarding local laws has been removed.  The bill as amended has passed the General Assembly and is pending action by the governor.  Read more about this legislation.

Washington – HB 1026 This bill would prevent local jurisdictions from implementing breed-specific legislation unless there is an exemption for dogs that have passed the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program or a similar program. The bill has passed the House and has a hearing in the Senate Committee on Local Government on March 21.  Read more about this legislation.

Washington — HB 1640 and SB 5209 are identical pet shop bills that would require retail pet stores to sell dogs, cats and, rabbits that have come from humane societies, rescue organizations or animal shelters. AKC GR has submitted comments and is closely tracking this legislation. Read the alert for more information.

WashingtonHB 2822 aligns the definition of a “service dog” with the ADA and makes it a civil infraction to misrepresent a pet as a service dog.  AKC provided testimony to both houses in support. The bill passed both houses and has been delivered to the Governor.

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