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Taking Command Newsletter

State Issues May 2019

From the State Capitols

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

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

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

AlabamaSB 102 would provide that a local law requiring a dog to be kept on a leash or otherwise restrained does not apply to an agricultural work dog at any time while the dog is engaged in agricultural work or a hunting dog at any time while the dog is engaged in hunting wild game. SB 102 has passed in the Senate and is pending in the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee.

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

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

Arkansas – HB 1778 sought to increase penalties for acts of animal cruelty.  The bill did 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 have mandated escalated penalties regardless of the circumstances or severity of the offense. HB 1778 passed with amendments in the House Agriculture, Forestry & Economic Development Committee, and failed on Third Reading in the House.

Arkansas –
SB 11, which sought to protect traditional hunting methods, including hunting with the assistance of a dog, did not advance prior to adjournment. Read more about this bill.

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

California –
AB 588 will require any animal shelter, rescue organization or humane society to disclose the history of any dog over four months of age that has bitten a human. This bill has passed out of the Assembly and has been assigned to its first Senate committee.

California – AB 1125 will create the Animal Control Officer Standards Act and require the California Animal Welfare Association (CAWA) to establish and maintain training standards to certify animal control officers.  CAWA is a non-governmental, California public benefit corporation that resulted from the merger California Animal Control Directors Association and the State Humane Association of California. CAWA touts itself as the “unified voice of California’s animal care and control agencies, SPCAs, humane societies and other animal welfare organizations.” AKC GR is closely monitoring this bill.

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

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

Connecticut – HB 5386 prohibits pet stores from sourcing dogs or cats from anywhere but animal welfare organizations.  AKC GR has expressed numerous concerns.  The bill was amended to require that the state Department of Agriculture research and report on the impact of a similar law recently enacted in California to assess to consumer satisfaction, enforcement problems for regulatory agencies and harm to business owners.

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 7158updates the regulation of commercial kennels to allow home-based pet sitting of up to 3 dogs without needing a commercial kennel license.  AKC GR has been monitoring the bill’s progress.

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.  The bill is now on the Senate calendar and is expected to pass.

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

FloridaHB 379, which sought to authorize a veterinarian to report suspected criminal violations relating to dogs or cats to certain officers and agents without notice to or authorization from client, died in the House Commerce Committee.

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

Florida HB 721 / SB 1128 provide for certain access to housing for persons with emotional support animals, allow for the request of written documentation regarding emotional support animals, and penalize falsification of such documentation. These bills died in committees.

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.

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 but appears to not be advancing this session.  AKC and its state federation continue to monitor the bill.

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 have been held in committee and will likely not advance this year. AKC and its federation continue to closely monitor these bills. 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 has been held in committee and will likely not advance this year. 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 became law on April 18.

Iowa – House File 738 (formerly House Study Bill 227) would make numerous changes to the state’s commercial breeder laws.  While some changes are positive, such as rewriting the definition of a commercial breeder, so it no longer includes hobbyists, many provisions require further clarifications and changes.  AKC and local clubs submitted a number of suggested amendments to the bill, which was ultimately held in the House Ways & 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 provided testimony and amendments to the sponsor and committee. Several changes requested were incorporated to address the most concerning parts of the bill, but some questions remain.  The bill was ultimately held in the House.

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 contacted the sponsor to offer expertise and assistance.  The bill was ultimately held in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 4.

Louisiana – HB 161 would establish an animal abuser registry; require an offender to register for 10 years for a first offense and for the offender’s lifetime for a second offense; prohibit a person convicted of animal cruelty, sexual abuse of animal, dogfighting, hog and canine fighting, or injuring or killing a police animal from owning an animal during the registration period; and prohibit retail pet stores and animal shelters from knowingly selling or giving an animal to person listed on the registry. HB 161 has been scheduled for a hearing by the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development, but has not yet been considered.

Louisiana – HB 454 would require animal shelters that turn over dead animals to a research or biological supply facility to post notice of this practice; prohibit animal shelters from euthanizing animals for the sole purpose of transferring the carcass to a research facility, biological supply facility or animal dealer; and restrict shelters and persons who accept animals from the public or take in stray and unwanted animals from transferring a living animal to a research facility, biological supply facility, animal dealer, or other person for the purpose of research or experimentation, except for instructional purposes.  HB 454 has passed in the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development.

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.  Committee voted “ought to pass.”

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 very concerned the draft would exclude all breeders from having any association with a “rescue”.  The bill would also restrict consumer choice of where to obtain a pet.  The sponsor has asked ME Friends of Animals and HSUS to work with and address AKC’s concerns.  At the committee hearing, HSUS requested the committee strike the anti-breeder text from the bill.  Committee voted “not to pass.”

Maine LD 1442 would authorize courts to appoint a volunteer lawyer or law student as an advocate in the interests of justice for any animal subject to cruelty.  AKC GR and the Maine Federation submitted testimony May 1st noting that the bill raises many constitutional and procedural issues as drafted.

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. All concerns expressed by the AKC, its federation, and local clubs were addressed in amendments. It was signed by the Governor and becomes law on October 1.

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

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

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

Minnesota – HF 478 and SF 1109 seek to provide funding for the training of service dogs to assist state firefighters with posttraumatic stress disorder.  AKC supports both bills.  HF 478 was passed by the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on March 20.  An amended SF 1109 has passed one Senate Health and Human Services subcommittee and referred to another.

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

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

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

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

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 expressed concerns that it would not only ban lease-to-own arrangements, but also possibly impact leases commonly utilized by hobby breeders and enthusiasts to preserve and continue particular bloodlines and breeds of dogs. AKC GR has provided amendments.

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

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 2318 and Senate Bill 1860 seek to provide immunity from civil and criminal liability for those who rescue an unattended animal from a motor vehicle under inhumane conditions.  The AKC expressed concerns that the bills failed to provide any recourse for the owner if an animal was not actually in danger, or to protect owners from liability if an animal escapes or harms someone because of being removed from the vehicle.  An amended version of A2318 was passed by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and an amended version of S1860 unanimously passed the Senate in July 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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 eliminates the current definition of “commercial breeder” and labels anyone who transfers more than 20 dogs in 12 months as a “pet vendor”.  AKC GR and its federation are concerned that a breeder with two litters could easily surpass this limit, and this is a commercial designation resulting in state business registration fees, commercial zoning requirements and other obstacles.  The bill has passed the Senate, and the sponsor has indicated his desire to amend it as part of the state budget.

New York – AKC GR is tracking over 200 bills in the state of New York and has currently commented on approximately 40 to date that would have a significant impact on New York dog owners.  AKC GR has reached out to committee chairs, alerted local clubs on how to communicate with their legislators, and continues to communicate with the committees on these issues. Read more.

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

New York – A.6298/A.6299/S.593/S.4234 will prohibit retail pet stores from selling any dogs or cats.  Instead, they would only be allowed to “showcase” animals available for adoption from a shelter, rescue, or adoption agency.  AKC is opposing these bills that would limit pet choice in New York.  The bills are pending in the Assembly Agriculture and Senate Domestic Animal Welfare Committees.  Read more about how to contact the General Assembly.

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.  HB 1259 has passed the House, but an amended version has passed the Senate and awaits additional action by the House.

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

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

Oregon – When introduced, SB 723 would have prohibited any contest that hunted animals (game birds and mammals) and distributed prizes to winners. AKC GR, field trial and hunt testing organizations and hunting dog owners succeeded in having the bill amended to remove language that could have affected dog events and activities. As now amended, the bill will now only apply to coyote hunting contests. The bill was passed out of two Senate committees and is on the Senate floor for a vote. Read AKC’s alert for more information.

Oregon SB 439, as introduced, would prohibit hunt clubs or preserves from confining birds that could be used on the property for hunting or field trials. While not an outright ban on hunting, this bill would have set up conditions under which most clubs could not operate. AKC GR expressed concerns and continues to monitor the measure. The bill’s sponsors have withdrawn their support for the measure.

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

Oregon –
HB 2804 as introduced, was a pet shop bill that would have restricted the sale of dogs and cats at retail businesses to animals acquired only from humane societies, animal shelters and rescues. This bill has been amended with the “pet shop” language deleted and replaced with language defining a service animal and establishing penalties for the misrepresentation of a service animal.

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

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

Rhode Island – HB 5113 establishes and maintains an animal cruelty conviction registry and requires all pet sellers to check the registry prior to transferring ownership of animals.  AKC GR submitted testimony outlining concerns with accurate identification of animal purchasers.  On May 14th, the House Judiciary Committee voted the bill favorably.  Additional discussions are being pursued with stakeholders.

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

South Carolina – 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. AKC GR sent a letter of concern to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Committee.

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

South Carolina – S.281, which makes it unlawful for a person to intentionally misrepresent an animal in his possession as a service animal or service animal-in-training has been signed by the governor.

Tennessee – HB 233, as introduced, would have criminalized 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 included 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. The amended bill has been signed by the Governor.

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

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

Tennessee – HB 999, which designates the Bluetick Coonhound as the official state dog, was signed by the governor.

Tennessee –
HB 1190  which establishes processes for landlords to verify the needs of tenants and prospective tenants to have pet policies waived to accommodate a service or support animal and create penalties for misrepresentation of a service animal has been signed by the governor.

Texas – HB 1801 and 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 supports these bills.  SB 476 was been substituted for HB 1801.  SB 476 has already passed the Senate and is pending in the full House.

TexasHB 921 seeks to require animal shelters and releasing agencies to prepare and maintain records on the intake and disposition of animals in their care, and to make those records available to the Health and Human Services Commission.  AKC GR has expressed support of HB 921, which is pending in the House.

TexasHB 3092 would require shelters to provide written notice to each person who adopts a shelter animal 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.  AKC supports HB 3092, which has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

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

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 submitted concerns to the committees. Neither bill progressed through the legislature and they died upon adjournment. Read the alert for more information.

HB 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.
WashingtonSB 5209 would have required all dogs and cats sold in retail businesses to have come from rescues, animal shelters or humane societies. This bill failed upon adjournment of the legislature.

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

Wisconsin – AKC understands a bill will soon be introduced that will prohibit the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores.  AKC and its Wisconsin federation are closely monitoring this and AKC will provide more information as it is available.