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Thirty-five state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. The following are highlights of current, active legislation around the country:

ArizonaSenate Bill 1047 seeks to regulate dogs outdoors.  It provides specific exemptions for police and working dogs, hunting, training, “sporting and competitive functions”, and “lawful competitions”.  As introduced, the bill also included a new definition of “extreme weather”, defined by a heat advisory, certain weather warnings (such as a monsoon, dust storm, etc.), and when the temperature is below 32 degrees or over 100 degrees.  Although in this measure it only applied to when proper bedding was required, AKC was concerned about the definition being used in the future to restrict when dogs could be outside, without consideration for the needs and abilities of specific breeds.  The committee removed the specific temperatures from the definition.  The bill as amended passed the Senate in February.  It was further amended to remove the definition of “extreme weather” in its entirety and passed the House Land, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs Committee on March 18.

California – AB-2042 is the amended version of 2023’s AB 742, which attempted to limit 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. AKC GR is working with impacted entities, including the US Police Canine Association as AB 2042 is considered in the Legislature.

California – AB-3241 would require police agencies to report statistics concerning the use of police canines. It would also direct the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to develop updated canine training standards and minimum use guidelines. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee.. AKC is monitoring the bill.

California – SB 921 adds causing “needless suffering” to animal cruelty statutes. It has been referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee for consideration. AKC is monitoring the bill.

California – SB 922 increases the financial penalties for being cited for leaving an animal in an unattended car during extreme weather conditions. It also provides counseling and education for those cited under the statute. It has been referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee for consideration. AKC is monitoring the proposal.

California – AB 1988 would allow for shelters to immediately adopt out kittens and puppies to a nonprofit organization, animal rescue organization, or adoption organization if requested by the organization in the specific circumstance of owner surrenders. It has been referred to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee for consideration. AKC is monitoring the bill.

California – AB 2012 would restore the requirement that city and county animal shelters must report certain shelter statistics to the state under the rabies control program. This would create a uniform and objective set of data when evaluating the state of animal shelters in California. The proposal has been referred to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee for consideration. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB 2133 would allow for registered veterinary technicians to perform neuter surgeries on cats. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee for consideration.

California – AB 2216 aims to expand access to rental housing for people with pets. It is awaiting referral to a committee for consideration. AKC is monitoring the proposal.

California – AB 2248 would ban the sale of dogs and cats in the specific scenario where ALL of the following are satisfied: the buyer is in California, contract requires a nonrefundable deposit, the contract does not reveal the source of the dog or cat. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. AKC is monitoring this proposal.

Colorado – Senate Bill 24-045 clarifies a current law that requires unowned dogs being imported into the state for shelters or rescues to be sterilized.  Current exemptions in the law have been used as loopholes by some importers, resulting in numerous unsterilized dogs being imported into Colorado shelters and rescues and raising concerns of their impact on the state’s shelter populations. Among other provisions, it removes the exemption that would allow for these dogs to be unsterilized if there is a health concern – unless a veterinarian licensed in Colorado certifies that sterilization would impair the dog’s health, at which time the procedure may be postponed until it is safe for the animal.  The bill was signed by the governor on March 13 and will go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.

Connecticut – HB 5223 seeks to amend the legal definition of “grooming facility” to include those doing business in “any vehicle or trailer”.  During a February 28 hearing on the bill by the Joint Committee on Environment, AKC and the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs requested a bill amendment to ensure that the bill’s language would not be broadly interpreted to include professional handlers exhibiting in the state.  Following AKC’s request and a meeting with legislative and administrative staff, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture determined that those who groom a dog in preparation for a competitive event would not be impacted by the language. Read more here.

 Connecticut – SB 339 would require restitution be paid by anyone that injures or kills a police K-9 or volunteer search and rescue dog, including costs for incurred veterinary services and costs incurred in the purchase and training of a replacement dog.  SB 339 was considered by the Public Safety and Security Committee on March 7, 2024 and AKC provided supportive testimony.

 Connecticut – SB 427 would (1) increase the penalty for intentionally injuring a police animal or dog in a volunteer canine search and rescue team; (2) establish a penalty for annoying, teasing, tormenting or harassing a police animal confined in a motor vehicle; (3) allow emergency medical services personnel to provide emergency treatment and transportation to an injured police animal under certain circumstances; and (4) establish a grant program to provide canine officers with body armor. AKC supports this bill, which is pending in the Joint Judiciary Committee.

Connecticut – HB 5304 would designate the Siberian Husky as the state dog. The Joint Government Administration and Elections Committee held a public hearing on March 8.

Connecticut – HB 5176 would establish a task force to study the provision of emergency treatment and transportation to an animal that is injured in the performance of its duties under the supervision of a peace officer. After a favorable public hearing by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security, on March 14 the bill was placed on the House calendar for consideration soon. AKC supports the bill.

Florida – HB 87/CS2/SB 632, among other provisions, seek to allow the use of lethal force against a bear when necessary to avoid an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to a person or pet, or substantial damage to a dwelling. AKC GR and the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs are monitoring this bill. CS2/H.B. 87 passed in both chambers was ordered enrolled.

 FloridaCS2/HB 273/SB 660 seek to exempt from public records requirements the identifying information about persons, firms, associations, and other groups that adopt animals, provide foster care to animals, and all “other persons receiving legal custody of animals” from an animal shelter or animal control agency. CS2./H.B. 273 passed in both chambers and was ordered enrolled. Read AKC’s most recent alert.

FloridaHB 297/SB 272 seek to authorize a court to appoint a separate advocate regarding an animal’s welfare in prosecutions and certain other court proceedings. AKC GR submitted a letter of concern on this legislation. SB 272 passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but did not advance further prior to end of session.

FloridaCS/HB 303/HB 849/CS3 SB 1040, and related bills would authorize the practice of veterinary telehealth and would authorize an employee, agent, or contractor of a county or municipal animal control authority to vaccinate against rabies dogs, cats, and ferrets under certain circumstances. HB 849 which provides for veterinary telehealth and CS/HB 303 which authorizes certain persons to administer rabies vaccinations to certain animals under indirect supervision of veterinarian each passed in both chambers and were ordered enrolled.

Florida – CS HB 873 /CS SB 1156 sought to expand dangerous dog provisions and requirements and establish a dangerous dog registry. AKC GR recommended amendatory language. HB 873 was favorably amended in the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee and SB 1156 was favorably amended in the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Neither bill additionally advanced prior to end of session Read more about this legislation.

FloridaCS/HB 7073 is a taxation bill that, among other provisions, would establish sales tax holidays on June 1-June 14, 2024 and August 24-September 6, 2024, on certain supplies necessary for the evacuation of house hold pets. AKC GR discussed this legislation during a video meeting of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs on February 15. CS/HB 7073 has been ordered enrolled.

FloridaCS2/SB 1084, among other provisions, seeks to reenact sections of state law on the justified killing of a dog that attacks livestock and the dog owner’s liability for damages. AKC GR discussed this legislation during a video meeting of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs on February 15. CS2/SB 1084 passed in both chambers and has been ordered enrolled.

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.

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.

 Georgia – SB 142 as introduced sought 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. AKC GR provided recommended amendatory language to the Georgia Canine Coalition. The bill was positively amended by committee substitute in the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee on February 22, 2024. The committee substitute includes more reasonable provisions and requires liability insurance in the amount of $50,000.

Georgia HR 1368, which commends the benefits and contributions of purebred dogs and recognizes May 1, 2024, as Purebred Dog Day in the State of Georgia, was adopted by the House of Representatives on 3/7/24. HR 1368 is in addition to SR 344, which was adopted by the Georgia Senate to recognize Purebred Dog Day. Read AKC’s previous alert on SR 344.

Hawai’i – As introduced, HB 2058/SB 2692 seek to expand the state’s dangerous dog law.  Concern with the bill is limited to its proposed enforcement processes not providing appropriate opportunities for an owner to appeal (1) a declaration of their dog as dangerous, (2) spay/neuter requirements as an automatic operation of law, or (3) the automatic forfeiture of ownership if an owner is unable to pay for boarding/care costs.  The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider an amended version HB 2058 on March 19, 2024, while an amended version of SB 2692 has been assigned to the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

Hawai’i – As introduced, SB 2120 would have required pet stores that sell pet animals (dogs, cats, domesticated rabbits, guinea pigs, domesticated pigs, or caged birds) to maintain records regarding the source and medical history of the animals sold; and to provide records to pet purchasers, and, upon request, to county law enforcement agencies.  SB 2120 would also limit any retail pet store from selling any pet animal unless it was in operation in the state before January 1, 2025, provided it operates in the same location under the same ownership as of that date.  AKC did not oppose the records requirements in SB 2120, but opposed the pet shop sourcing restrictions.  An amended SB 2120 was passed by the Senate in amended form, which has removed the sourcing restrictions; and has been double-assigned to the Agriculture and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs committees. Its companion bill, HB 1682, was similarly amended; passed the House; and has been triple-assigned to the Commerce and Consumer Protection, Agriculture and Environment, and Judiciary committees.

Hawai’i – AKC supports SB 2874, which seeks to establish a non-refundable income tax credit for residential landlords who lease a unit to a tenant with a pet for at least six months. An amended version of the bill has passed the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, and has been referred to Senate Ways and Means.

Hawai’i – AKC continues to watch SB 2562 and HB 1527, which seek to prohibit animal owners and their employees from performing any surgical procedures on the owner’s dog(s).  These bills would further clarify that owners and their employees shall not perform any surgical procedure on any dog, including C-sections, ear cropping, tail docking, devocalizations, dewclaw removals, or castrations via banding.  Should the bill be enacted as introduced, veterinarians would still be permitted to perform the procedures listed.  Additionally, the bills do not seek to prohibit owners from performing routine care procedures on their animals, including nail trimming and ear and dental cleaning.  SB 2562 was amended prior to passing the Senate, and has been referred to the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

Idaho – SB 1302 restricts localities from enacting regulations on working animals, including dogs. The bill stalled in the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee and will not advance this year. AKC looks forward to supporting similar legislation in future sessions.

Illinois – HB 4630 would expand when a person may be arrested and animals may be seized to include any violation of the state’s animal welfare act – including minor, correctable offenses. As with similar legislation introduced in 2023, we are asking that at the very least the court determine that there is imminent danger to the animal. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

Indiana – HB 1412 allows pet stores to continue to operate in the state and overturn current local retail bans that have already passed in several Indiana communities.  The bill would also mandate the registration of all rescues that transfer more than 12 dogs in the state, and allows for inspections of rescues if there are complaints about the care of the animals.  At the request of AKC and the Indiana Purebred Dog Alliance, the Senate Agriculture Committee amended the bill to ensure it solely addressed standards for pet stores and commercial breeders who source to them, and remove language that could have been misconstrued as requiring hobby breeders to comply with standards designed for large commercial kennels.  With this amendment, AKC is neutral on the bill, which was signed by the Governor on March 4, 2024.

Kansas – HB 2542 as introduced was would have required licensees under the Kansas Pet Animal Act to post a bond for the care of animals if they are seized by the Department of Agriculture for violations of the Act.  The bill had no limits on the amount of the bond/cost of care and AKC participated in multiple meetings with key legislators and agency staff to convey our concern that even if someone does not mistreat their animals, they can ultimately lose ownership simply because they cannot afford to post a bond.  The bill was amended to remove all bond for care language, along with many other provisions.  It will not advance this year.

Kansas – HB 2583 increase penalties for killing or disabling an assistance dog by making it a felony. If someone is found guilty of killing or disabling an assistance dog it comes with a mandatory sentence of at least 30 days in jail and fine of at least $500. HB 2583 passed the Kansas House last month and has a hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary on March 7.

Kansas – HB 2816 and SB 389 prohibit entering or remaining on and knowingly making false statements to gain access to animal facilities and field crop production areas and creates provides penalties for violations. The bill has not received a hearing and is likely dead because it did not meet the state crossover deadline.

Kansas – SB 170 creates the Kansas assistance animals in housing act, authorizing housing providers to require documentation of the need for an assistance animal and creating the crime of misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal in housing. The bill has not received a hearing and is likely dead because it missed the crossover deadline.

Kansas – SB 503 makes it a felony to knowingly or maliciously abandoning an animal without making arrangements for the care of the animal. The bill has not yet received a hearing and it is likely dead because it missed the states crossover deadline.

Kentucky HB 258 seeks to define “serious physical injury or infirmity,” redefine “torture,” provide that torture of a dog or cat is a Class D felony, and provide that each act may constitute a separate offense. Existing law and HB 258 include necessary exemptions, and this bill would specifically exempt breed-specific alterations such as cropping ears, docking tails, and declawing a cat when performed by a veterinarian. A Committee Substitute bill passed in the House and is referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. AKC supports House Committee Substitute 1, and continues to monitor this legislation.

KentuckyHB 328/HCS1 seeks to authorize a licensed veterinary technician when under the direct supervision of a veterinarian to vaccinate a dog, cat, or ferret against rabies. The HCS1 passed in the House and is in the Senate Committee on Committees.

HB 335, which among other provisions makes it an offense to misrepresent a dog as an assistance dog, has passed in House committees.

KentuckyHB 651 seeks to establish dog breeder licensing a person who “harbors five or more sexually intact female dogs for the primary purpose of breeding,” limit the number of sexually intact dog six months of age or older to 50, and establish numerous overreaching requirements. The bill has not received a committee assignment.

KentuckySB 119, among other egregious provisions, seeks to authorize any law enforcement or animal control officer to seize any animal whose owner is found in violation of any state, county or municipal animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment law. It provides that the seizing agency may petition a court to require the animal owner to pay to the court an amount sufficient to pay all anticipated costs related to the seizure and care of the animals. If the owner is unable to pay, or to continue paying throughout the pendency of the case, the animal is forfeited. SB 119 has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Kentucky SB 157 seeks to require retail pet shops to sell only dog and cats that are obtained from animal shelters and qualified breeders. Following a favorable report by the Senate Agriculture Committee, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) requested a friendly amendment to strike references to “hobby breeder” in the bill, and Senate Floor Amendment was filed on 2/20/24. The amendment seeks to ensure that dogs offered for sale in retail pet shops are obtained only from federally licensed and regulated breeders that are held to the heightened standard of having no direct violations indicated by USDA inspection reports in the last two years, or from animal shelters. SB 157 also would preempt certain local pet shop laws. The bill will next be heard in the Senate Rules Committee. AKC supports Senate Floor Amendment 1.

KentuckySB 204 seeks to designate the Treeing Walker Coonhound as the official state dog of Kentucky. Read more about how to support this legislation.

Maine – LD 2156 would provide an exception to the veterinarian license laws to allow the provision of emergency medical treatment to certain law enforcement dogs injured in the line of duty in accordance with protocols adopted by the Medical Direction and Practices Board. After a February public hearing, the bill was voted favorably on March 12 as amended, to include search and rescue dogs, by the Joint Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. It then passed the House on March 13 and the Senate on March 14.

 Maine – On March 12, S.P. 979 was filed recognizing May 1 as Purebred Dog Day. It was immediately adopted in the Senate and the House concurred with its adoption the next day, March 13.

Maryland – Senate Bill 868 would lift the existing $10,000 cap on the compensatory damages for which a person who tortiously causes an injury to or death of a pet is liable.  The bill does not establish a new cap amount.  The bill was heard on February 29, 2024, before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee with no further action taken to date.

Massachusetts – In response to dog injuries and deaths at dog day care facilities, HB 2019 and SB 1309 have been re-filed as “Ollie’s Law” and would impose requirements such as staffing ratios for boarding, training, dog day care, breeding and personal kennels. They would authorize animal control officers to inspect and tell you how many dogs you are allowed to own and enforce a new “personal breeder kennel” license for anyone with more than 4 intact female dogs over 6 months who transfers any offspring. Personal breeder kennels and commercial breeder kennels would be held to the same future regulations. They had a hearing in the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee on September 26. Details are in AKC’s alert. On February 7, 2024, the committee requested an extension until June 14 to review these bills.

Massachusetts – HB 314 would provide consumer protections at dog day care businesses and is supported by multiple animal welfare organizations, including AKC. It remains pending in the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee, which requested an extension until June 14 to take action on HB 314.

Massachusetts – HB 2424 would establish a Retired Police Dog Care Fund. Police K9s are exceptional dogs that immeasurably enhance public safety.  The bill remains pending in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, which request an extension until April 8 to take action on the bill.

Massachusetts – SB 876/HB 1367 would prohibit housing authorities and certain housing agreements from discriminating against tenants based upon the size, weight or breed of dog owned. They also prohibit insurance companies from discriminating based upon dog breed. The bills have been referred to the Joint Committee on Housing and an extension until April 18, 2024 was requested for HB 1367.

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. After a September public hearing in the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee the committee requested an extension until June 14 to consider it.  Read AKC’s alert.

Massachusetts – HB 801 would eliminate a 48 hour facility quarantine requirement when animals are imported from neighboring states for resale or imported directly to permanent or temporary Massachusetts foster homes. AKC is concerned HB 801 may reduce compliance and increase the risk of communicable disease spread to animals and people in Massachusetts.  The Environment and Natural Resources Committee heard the bill in November 2023 and has taken no further action.

Massachusetts – HB 747, HB 826, SB 549, and SB 550 would require Massachusetts licensed pet shops or future pet shops to only provide the public with dogs and cats sourced from animal shelter or rescue organizations. In AKC’s experience, the number of puppies produced by responsible breeders does not satisfy demand. Shelter and rescue animals are not the best option for every family that wants a pet. AKC issued an alert and testimony was provided in opposition to these bills at the November 8 Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources’ public hearing. On February 6 the committee requested an extension until April 12 to consider HB 826.

Massachusetts – HB 4241 is an abuse and exploitation prevention bill favorably released from committee and passed in the House on January 10. It would also define “coercive control” allowing issuance of restraining orders when a person commits or threatens to commit cruelty or abuse to animals connected to the family or household member. AKC supports the bill. It has been amended in Senate Ways and Means Committee and released on March 14 for consideration by the full Senate as SB 2703.

Massachusetts – HB 1718 and SB 1142 would establish a taskforce of Massachusetts lawyers and MSPCA/ARL-Boston to review cruelty laws and make recommendations including whether to establish a domestic animal cruelty misdemeanor charge; prohibit sale of animals under 8 weeks and transferring animals roadside with few exceptions; and allow for animal seizure and owner’s payment of board pending court action for suspected neglect. AKC testified in 2023 supporting the humane care provisions of the bills and requesting the committee ensure due process protections and consistent terminology. The committee has received an extension to consider the bills until April 30, 2024.

Minnesota – HF 3410/SF 3458 seeks to remove from current law an explicit declaration that data collected by the MN Board of Animal Health on commercial dog breeders is private or nonpublic.  The bill would also: (1) Clarify that a kennel licensed by the state must include its state license number or a symbol approved by the Board in all of its advertisements or promotions that pertain to animals being sold or traded, including but not limited to all advertisements or promotions in newspapers and flyers or on the Internet or radio; (2) Add that the Board must post on its website a list of kennels and dealers licensed and in good standing, including the number of animals kept by the licensee in the previous year; at minimum, copies of the three most recent inspection reports submitted to the Board; and a list of kennels or dealers whose licenses have expired or been revoked over the past three years, including business names that licensees used, total number of animals kept in the previous year; and reasons for revocation; and (3) Adds that the Board inspection report must contain all business names used by the commercial breeder, the facility identification number, and the address and name of the facility.  AKC expressed concerns that publication of sensitive information may provide anti-breeder protestors or animal rights extremists with facility location information, and lead to harassment of licensees or business interruptions at their facilities, including at private homes.  An amended HF 3410 has been referred to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee for further consideration; while an amended SF 3458 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for further consideration.

Minnesota – HF 4215 seeks to fund a program that would provide grants to nonprofit organizations that train and place therapy dogs in state and local law enforcement agencies located in Minnesota to aid in treating peace officers suffering from job-related trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder and to assist in responding to calls involving persons in crisis.  AKC expressed support for the bill, which remains pending in the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.  Click here for more information.

 MissouriHB 1826 is identical to bills supported by AKC and the state federation in previous sessions that would establish new provisions to protect the rights of owners when their animals are seized on suspicion of cruelty. This includes: ensuring that animals are returned to their owner if they are found not guilty; prohibiting the shelters from sterilizing the animals unless necessary to save a life; and allowing the animals to be housed with a trusted third party that is not a shelter or rescue (which could include co-owners and breeders).  It had a public hearing in the House Agriculture Policy Committee on January 26 and is pending a vote by the committee members.

MissouriHB 2265/SB 937 would regulate pet stores in the state and prohibit local governments from adopting any ordinance that effectively shuts down pet stores operating legally within their license.  While AKC and its state federation support the concept of this bill protecting pet choice, there are concerns about the impact on a breeder who sources one dog to a pet store.  In addition, the current definition of pet store is broad and could encompass all who sell dogs.  Concerns were relayed to the bill sponsors.  The bill is being amended in the House to address concerns.  HB 2265 was passed by the Agriculture Policy Committee on February 1.  SB 937 had a public hearing in the Senate Emerging Issues Committee on March 12 and is expected to be amended similar to the language in HB 2265.

Nebraska – LB 10 authorizes emergency care providers to provide care to injured law enforcement canines. The bill passed committee and is awaiting consideration my the full Nebraska Senate.

 Nebraska – LB 1142 will require animal shelters to make reasonable efforts to contact owners of animals received if they can be identified.  The shelter must post a photograph of the pet online if the owner cannot be identified.

 New Hampshire – HB 1102 would label brachycephaly a “birth deformity” and make the breeding or sale of any animal that has a “birth deformity” that causes suffering a criminal act.  A public hearing was conducted on March 5, 2024.  AKC worked closely with its New Hampshire federation (Dog Owners of the Granite State) to establish a broad coalition in opposition, and to organize and prepare extensive testimony, alerts and public outreach, scientific rebuttal and educational information. Following the hearing, at which more than 80% of submitted testimony was in opposition, the committee voted the measure “inexpedient to legislate”.  This is a significant achievement, however there are procedural options that could still allow for this measure to advance for a vote on the floor, so AKC and DOGS continue to educate and advocate in opposition to this radical bill, and provide notice and action steps as appropriate. Read more.

 New Hampshire – SB 541 would define “pet vendor” as related to a  “retail pet store” as a licensee that transfers animals at retail to the public from a physical facility. It would also: cap “retail pet stores” to the transfer of cats and dogs at 2023 levels; prohibit the sale of “retail pet stores” to anyone but family members; and require future NH “retail pet stores” to source dogs and cats only from animal shelters. AKC issued an alert and testified in opposition on January 4. The committee voted February 6 to refer the bill to interim study. A companion bill, HB 1680, was considered by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee on January 16. AKC testified in opposition with NH DOGS and the bill was voted inexpedient to legislate on February 6. Details are here.

New Hampshire – SB 385 would allow payments from the cost of care fund to be distributed to a third party for the care of animals during animal cruelty cases. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing on March 13, 2024 and then voted it ought to pass.

 New Hampshire –  SB 587 allow animals as part of a litter transported into the state to be quarantined together. As filed, the bill could result in additional quarantine exemptions. AKC submitted testimony expressing concern and, with NH DOGS, requested an amendment by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during the January 9 public hearing. The amendment was adopted before the committee voted favorably and the amended bill passed the Senate on January 18.  The bill has been assigned to the House Environment and Agriculture Committee for further consideration.

 New Hampshire – HB 1501 would repeal the requirement that cats and dogs be registered annually. AKC testified in opposition at a House Environment and Agriculture Committee’s February 21 public hearing and the committee voted it inexpedient to legislate on March 13.

New Hampshire – HB 1505 would establish an animal abuse offender registry. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee received AKC testimony in opposition for the February 20 public hearing because registries have not been shown to deter animal abuse and alternative enforcement methods are more effective. The committee voted the bill inexpedient to legislate on March 5.

 New Hampshire – HB 1233 would exempt individuals who have completed a nationally recognized animal chiropractic program, as determined by the executive director of the office of professional licensure and certification, from veterinary licensure requirements. After passing the House, the bill was been scheduled for consideration by the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee on March 6, 2024.

 New Hampshire – HB 1556 would remove the requirement that dogs exempt from the rabies vaccine requirement be muzzled when outside. AKC testified in opposition at a House Environment and Agriculture Committee’s February 21 public hearing and the committee voted it inexpedient to legislate on March 13.

 New Hampshire – HB 1526 would enable the board of veterinary medicine to issue a conditional veterinary license for veterinarians who are educated in other countries. Multiple reports of a New Hampshire veterinarian shortage exist. Timely canine access to veterinary care is an AKC priority and AKC submitted testimony on February 6 in support of enhancing access after issuing this alert. The committee has sent the bill to subcommittee for review.

New Hampshire – HB 1173 would authorize seizure and a court order to issue and euthanize any dog that has attacked a human being or a domestic animal that resulted in the puncture or tearing of skin, two or more times within a 12-month period. AKC expressed concerns at a House Environment and Agriculture Committee’s February 21 public hearing that the bill did not account for instances where a dog might respond to a trespasser or have been provoked. The committee voted it inexpedient to legislate on March 13.

New Hampshire – HB 1626 would repeal certain designated funds and change where dog licensing fees are distributed. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee considered the bill on January 8. Committee and voted it ought to pass, followed by consideration by the Ways and Means Committee that voted the bill ought to pass on February 20, 2024. It is now pending before the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee.

New HampshireHB 1684 seeks to expand the relationship eligible for “loss of consortium” damages in civil cases to include pet owners in cases involving the person’s pet when its death was caused intentionally or recklessly.  AKC expressed opposition to the bill, which was considered by the House Judiciary Committee on February 21, 2024.  The committee voted it inexpedient to legislate on March 12.

New Hampshire – AKC and NH DOGS expressed opposition to HB 1680, which sought to restrict newly-defined “retail pet stores” to include anyone with a physical facility who transfers more than 30 dogs per year at retail.  After a hearing on the bill, the House Environment and Agriculture Committee voted the bill “inexpedient to legislate.”

New Hampshire – HB 1316 would define “co-ownership” of dogs so the city of Manchester, NH could verify whether dogs being boarded at an individual’s house without the proper zoning permit is valid or not. AKC reached out to the bill sponsor and city to identify an alternative solution. AKC submitted testimony in opposition to the House Environment and Agriculture’s February 21 public hearing noting the bill would remove privacy protections for some New Hampshire dog owners. On March 13, the committee voted the bill inexpedient to legislative expecting a local solution would be found.

 New Jersey – On Tuesday, January 9, the new 2024-2025 legislative session was convened. As is tradition, the start of a new legislative session sees the reintroduction of most bills from the previous session that remained pending. Those, and other bills of concern in the new session, include Assembly Bill 365 (prohibits cropping and docking), Senate Bill 282 (courtroom advocates), Senate Bill 297 (retail sales ban of dogs, cats, and rabbits; repeal of consumer protection law), and Senate Bill 1406 (prohibiting declawing of cats, other animals).

New Jersey – SB 1238 would require employers that serve customers in public facilities to provide training to employees regarding the right of an individual with a disability to have a guide or service dog in a place of public accommodation or a public facility.  AKC expressed support for the bill, which was amended and passed by the Senate Labor Committee.  The bill will next be considered by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.  Click here for more information. 

 New Jersey – SB 1253 seeks to create a three-year pilot program to assess the academic and health benefits associated with the use of therapy dogs in public elementary school wellness programs.  The bill, which AKC expressed support for, was passed by the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, February 15, 2024.  Click here for more information.

Oklahoma- HB 3196 expands the rural veterinary training program by increasing the amount of financial assistance provided to veterinarians and veterinary students in the program.

 Oregon – HB 4043 creates a new crime of interfering with an animal cruelty investigation. It has passed the Legislature and awaits a decision by the governor. AKC is monitoring the proposal.

Oregon – Initiative Petition 28, filed with the Secretary of State for possible inclusion on the 2026 ballot, is similar to proposed ballot measures from previous years that would outlaw all hunting and field trials and criminalize certain breeding, animal husbandry, and training practices.  AKC is working with two broad coalitions in opposition to this proposal and will provide more updates in the coming weeks.

Pennsylvania SB 785 establishes a new Animal Welfare Board empowered to review existing laws and regulations related to the keeping and handling of animals and make recommendations for changes.  Unlike a short-focused task force, this Board would continue until such a time that legislation was passed to eliminate it, thereby, allowing it to provide review and recommendation to any law or regulation established going forward. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Pennsylvania – Act 18 of 2023 (SB 746) updated Pennsylvania’s dog law to include licensing increases for dogs and kennels among other changes.  Language in the legislation has caused issues for boarding kennels, especially those along the state borders, boarding dogs from out of state.  Changes require a certified certificate of veterinary inspection from the dog’s home state in order to be boarded in Pennsylvania.  AKC GR has been working with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and both chambers of the General Assembly to address the issue.  A proposed legislation fix in the House of Representatives is awaiting introduction.

Rhode Island – HB 7163  would amend the domestic violence protection orders by authorizing the court to award “custody” of the pet. Given the complex dilemma involving pets and domestic violence situations, AKC supports this concept, but expressed concern about the use of the word “custody” in written testimony.  The bill has been held for further study by the House Judiciary Committee.

Rhode Island – HB 7294 would prohibit captive hunting for domestic or wild animals without prohibiting the release of upland game birds for hunting on licensed shooting preserves. AKC negotiated a clarifying amendment with proponents of the bill to ensure that adoption would not interfere with lawful field trials. The bill has been held for further study by the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. On March 8, SB 2732 was introduced in the Senate with the AKC clarifying amendment included. It had a public hearing on March 13 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.

Rhode IslandHB 7639 seeks to declare that animals would no longer be considered as property under the law, reversing centuries of legal tradition and potentially destabilizing laws impacting animals.  The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. After discussions with AKC and the state veterinarian, the bill sponsor withdrew the bill from further consideration.

Rhode Island – SB 2538 was introduced March 1 to authorize the euthanization of vicious dogs seized for dog fighting upon a finding that the dog’s medical condition or behavioral condition warrants euthanasia or after a determination by the sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, or agent of the RISPCA that there is no reasonable placement for the dog. A public hearing took place March 13 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.

Rhode Island – SB 2539 would permit the town of Smithfield to enact ordinances that would allow the animal control officer to issue citations which could be paid my mail and to prescribe penalties for violations of the town’s ordinances regulating dogs. A public hearing took place on March 13 and the committee recommends passage. AKC is watching this bill.

Rhode Island – HB 8060 was introduced March 13 to allow the town of Hopkinton to enact ordinances increasing the fines for violations of any dog ordinance and increasing the fee to be paid before an animal in impoundment may be released to its owner. It has been referred to House Municipal Government & Housing Committee.

South Carolina – H 3238, among other provisions, seeks to require a person, on a second conviction for animal cruelty offenses, to forfeit all animals and to not own an animal for up to five years, regardless of the nature or severity of the offense. The AKC supports full enforcement of fair and reasonable animal cruelty laws and appropriate penalties for abusers; however, the scope of H.3238 is overreaching. It has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

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, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs positively amended H 3682; however, significant concerns remain with the bill as last amended. H 3682 is pending a second vote in the Senate. 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.

South CarolinaH 4611 seeks to make it an offense for a person to intentionally remove or destroy an electronic collar or other electronic device that was placed on a dog by its owner. AKC GR sent letters of support for this legislation. It passed in the House is referred to the Senate Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry. Read more.

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.

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. HB 991 is assigned to the House Insurance Subcommittee. SB 836 is assigned to the General Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

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. AKC GR submitted a letter of concern to the Senate Judiciary Committee. View AKC’s most recent alert on these bills.

Tennessee – HB 1635/SB 1595 prohibit emotional support animals that are not trained or being trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability from being brought into indoor areas of food service establishments. AKC GR contacted staff for the sponsors of the bills to inquire if this legislation could be interpreted to disallow the operation of concession stands inside facilities that are hosting animal events and was advised that it would not restrict such services. SB 1595 was signed by the Governor on March 15 and took effect immediately. Read more.

Tennessee – HB 1908/SB 1867 would require the Department of Education to establish a one-year pilot program to place a therapy dog in five public schools in the 2024-2025 school year. AKC GR thanks Rep. Gino Bulso and Sen. Joey Hensley for sponsoring this legislation that recognizes the value of a “calm, obedient canine that is trained to provide support, comfort, and companionship to people in educational, health, and therapeutic settings.” HB 1908 passed in the House Education Administration Committee pending amendment. It is next referred to the House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee, where it has been placed behind the budget. SB 1867 pending in the Senate Education Committee. Read more.

TennesseeHB 2079/SB 1957 establish a process for a licensed veterinarian to report suspected animal cruelty in violation of certain criminal laws and testify in a judicial or administrative proceeding concerning the care of the animal without being subject to criminal or civil liability. HB 2079 was signed by the Governor on March 15 and takes effect immediately. Read more.

TennesseeHB 2266/SB 2030 seek to amend state laws governing rental housing and leases to establish that “reliable documentation” regarding need for a support animal does not include documentation provided through a website, the primary function of which is to provide a certificate, registration, license, or similar document for a service animal or support animal for a fee. HB 2266 has passed in the House. SB 2030 remains on the Senate Commerce and Labor Calendar. Read more.

TennesseeHB 2691/SB 2478 seek to help restore and protect due process rights of animal owners who are suspected of an offense. These bills would prohibit a state or local department or agency from entering private property without probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has occurred or is occurring, the consent of the property owner, a warrant, or a recognized warrant exception, and would require a member of a society incorporated for the prevention of cruelty to animals to notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency of the member’s intent to make an arrest or interfere to prevent an act of cruelty and the circumstances justifying the action before doing so. AKC GR sent a letter of support for SB 2478, which has passed in the Senate.

TennesseeHB 2938/SB 2513 seek to provide for the licensure of “commercial” dog breeders by the Department of Commerce and Insurance. Licensure would be required for a person who maintains ten or more dogs or cats for purpose of selling the offspring as companion animals. Licensees would subject to unlimited inspections at the discretion of the commissioner and significant penalties for violations. The sponsor of House Bill 2938 has taken this problematic dog breeder bill “off notice” in committee which means HB 2938 and companion Senate Bill 2513 are unlikely to advance. In other committee action, SB 2513 was reassigned to the General Subcommittee of Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. Read concerns with these bills.

Utah – House Bill 478 as passed by the Legislature provides new requirements for shelters, rescues, and animal sanctuaries in the state. New requirements include not selling dogs under 8 weeks of age and keeping records on health and behavior of the animals. Previous iterations of the bill included regulations on breeders, but all these provisions were removed prior to the bill passage. The bill becomes law on May 1, 2024. Read more

Vermont – H. 626 is a comprehensive animal welfare bill to establish a Division of Animal Welfare at the Department of Public Safety that would develop, implement, and administer a centralized program for investigating and enforcing animal welfare requirements in the State. It also would amend or establish standards fr the operation of animal shelters and animal rescue organizations and detail requirements for the importation or transportation of animals into the State. The bill was referred to the House Government Operations and Military Affairs Committee which has held multiple meetings and taken testimony on the scope of the problem and how many resources the state currently expends to address it. On March 15 the committee reviewed an amended H. 626 that is much narrower in scope and was approved. It would establish a new Director responsible for developing a legislative roadmap on how to move forward in creating, and funding, a new division with comprehensive responsibility for all activities. The new position would be funded by the state and an additional $1 surcharge on dog licenses.

Vermont – HB 536 would prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners based solely on the presence of one or more domestic dogs of a specific breed or mixture of breeds. The bill is pending before the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development with a March 17 deadline for action.

Vermont – HB 567  prohibit a pet shop in the State from selling dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids, unless the pet shop is providing space to an animal shelter or a rescue organization offering dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids to the public for adoption for an adoption fee or the pet shop was selling dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids prior to July 1, 2024, and the pet shop maintains its ownership and license and does not exceed the number of dogs, cats, or wolf-hybrids sold in calendar year 2023. The bill is pending before the House Committee on Agriculture, Food Resiliency, and Forestry with a March 17 deadline for action.

Vermont – HB 234 would create an animal control program that would establish regional offices to: support municipalities with animal control programs and services primarily directed at domestic pets; provide free or low-cost vaccination, spay, and neuter programs; and investigate potential locations, resources, and personnel to establish regional pound and shelter facilities. The bill is pending before the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs with a March 17 deadline for action.

Virginia – SB 93 would allow any locality to establish an animal cruelty registry for public access on the website of the locality or its local police department.  If established, the registry may include the names and relevant information of persons convicted of certain felony offenses for animal cruelty.  A person listed on the registry may request the removal of their name after 15 years if there are no additional felony convictions of an animal cruelty offense during that time period.  All costs relating to a locality’s animal cruelty registry shall be borne by such locality.  The has been passed by both the Senate on January 29 and the House on March 4.  It now awaits action by the Governor.

Washington – HB 1012 is a bill carried over from 2023 that will provide state grants to localities so they can protect their citizens and their pets during extreme weather events. This would include funding for emergency shelters, transportation and lodging during extreme weather. This bill, supported by AKC, was signed by the Governor on March 19.

Washington – HB 1961 allows greater judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing of those convicted of animal cruelty in the first degree. It has overwhelming passed the Legislature and awaits a decision by the governor. AKC is monitoring the proposal.

Washington – HB 1635 provides model training standards for police canines to detect fentanyl and liability protections for law enforcement. It passed the Legislature and awaits a decision by the governor. AKC supports this bill.

West Virginia – HB 4935 would provide increased protections for the welfare of domestic animals in the care of animal shelters, breeders, and private individuals.  It contains requirements for commercial breeders to provide certain information to a purchaser and includes consumer protection provisions. It also addresses issues related to the unlawful confinement of domestic animals to include leaving chained, tethered, caged, or staked outside during extreme weather conditions, including, but not limited to, extreme heat, freezing or near-freezing temperatures, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or floods, unless adequate food, potable water, shade, shelter, and protection is provided based upon the breed, age, general health of the dog, and its ability to handle the environment. It was assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee with no further action.  Sine Die was March 9, 2024.

West Virginia – Senate Resolution 60 declares May 1, 2024, as Purebred Dog Day in West Virginia. It recognizes the dedicated individuals in West Virginia who breed dogs to develop unique, predictable characteristics that enable dogs to excel in a wide range of beneficial areas.  It also recognizes the “benefits and contributions” of purebred dogs and discusses their importance to society, history, and culture.  AKC thanks Adrianne Dering of the Mountaineer Kennel Club for her work on getting this resolution drafted and advanced.  It passed on March 1.