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News from the State Capitols

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

Alabama – SB 2 seeks to prohibit inmates from participating in training of dogs for tracking humans. AKC is monitoring this legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

Alabama SB 242 seeks to remove the limit on the amount that a landlord may require a tenant to pay as a security deposit under a residential rental agreement. It does not affect pet fees, which remain uncapped. AKC is monitoring this legislation, which passed in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee.

California – AB-240 would create a tax on the sale of pet food for cats and dogs in order to provide dedicated funding to animal shelters for the spaying and neutering of animals. The bill has since been amended by the sponsor so that the proposed tax would be collected from the food manufacturer on an annual basis of $200 per SKU sold in the state. The bill had been referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Revenue and Taxation. However, due to inaction, the bill missed a committee legislative deadline and will not be acted upon this year. AKC continues to watch for similar legislation.

California – AB-703 would prohibit an insurer from refusing to issue, canceling, refusing to renew, or increasing the premium for a policy of residential property insurance on the sole basis that the applicant or insured owns or harbors a dog that is a specific breed or mixture of breeds, except if the dog is known to be or has been declared potentially dangerous or vicious. Due to inaction, the bill missed a committee legislative deadline and will not be acted upon this year. AKC will continue to support legislation that ends breed specific discrimination.

 California – AB-781 would require a county to update its emergency plan to designate emergency shelters able to accommodate persons with pets on or before July 1, 2024.  The bill has passed Assembly Emergency Management Committee and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s “Suspense File” where it awaits further action. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB-1215 is a positive bill that would set up a program for state administered grants to assist pets of individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and for domestic violence survivors and their pets when accessing the shelter system. CA AB 1215 passed unanimously out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s “Suspense File” where it awaits further action.

California – AB-742 would prevent the use of police canines for the purpose of arrest, apprehension, or any form of crowd control. AKC recognizes the value of highly trained working K9s for a wide variety of jobs including detection, search and rescue, and other public safety functions.  Rather than limiting the safety functions of properly trained working K9s, AKC encourages the bill’s sponsor to focus on ensuring that law enforcement canines and their handlers have the proper and up-to-date training and certifications they need to keep all Californians safe. The bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee, and it was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s “Suspense File” where it awaits further action. Read more.

California – AB-554 would clarify animal cruelty enforcement. AKC thanks Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (46th District) and the Assembly Judiciary Committee for the proposed amendment to the bill to ensure Californians’ right to due process is respected. The amended bill has passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. It awaits further action in the full Assembly. AKC is further monitoring this bill. Read more.

California – SB-89 brings California definitions of stalking to be in line with federal law, including to make harming or killing pets a stalking offense. The bill was heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s “Suspense File”. AKC supports this bill.

 California – AB-1518 seeks to expand on previous bills to increase awareness and education about the value of service dogs. The bill has passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and is awaiting action by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AKC is working with the author’s office to support the broad intent of the proposal.

Connecticut – HB 6714 would redefine the crime of sexual contact with an animal, require that veterinarians report suspected incidents of animal cruelty, and prohibit persons convicted of animal cruelty or having sexual contact with an animal from possessing or working with animals for a period of five years.  AKC, CFDRDO and veterinarians expressed concern the proposed definition of “sexual contact with an animal” could be interpreted as prohibiting routine canine reproduction procedures, such as artificial insemination. The Judiciary Committee voted favorably on an amended HB 6714 that ensures that bona fide veterinary and animal husbandry purposes would not be inadvertently banned. The bill passed in the House on May 3 and is on the Senate calendar.

Connecticut – SB 1069 expands the definition of “animal”, expands licensed “grooming facility” to include any vehicle or trailer, and removes the definition of “kennel” allowing for personal kennels.  It requires a kennel license for anyone who breeds more than two litters annually.  Municipal animal control officers, instead of the Department of Agriculture, would be responsible for inspections and the enforcement of new detailed care and conditions. AKC submitted amendments after testifying before the Joint Environment Committee in February with CFDRDO. The committee approved an amended SB 1069 that preserves the definition of “kennel”; does not expand the definition of “grooming facility”; but still uses the word “facility” when referring to a hobby breeder kennel license. AKC and CFDRDO have worked with the sponsor and the Department of Agriculture on an amendment that removes any hobby breeder reference as a “facility” to be adopted before the measure advances. It is on the Senate calendar.

Connecticut – SB 729 would establish the Husky as the Coneecticut state dog. AKC submitted a letter of support to the committee. An omnibus bill including this provision was raised as HB 6822 and heard in March. The bill was voted favorably out of committee and is on the House calendar for consideration.

ConnecticutSB 932 would authorize the emergency treatment and transport of police K9s injured in the line of duty along with other provisions to protect law enforcement K-9s.  AKC submitted written testimony for the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security hearing February 14. On March 16, the committee unanimously voted the bill favorably. After favorable passage from the Appropriations Committee, it was sent to Judiciary Committee.

Connecticut – The Department of Agriculture submitted HB 6611 to consider a statewide dog license portal.  An additional benefit of the electronic dog license portal proposed is a flat dog license fee whether a dog is intact or not.  The platform will allow confidentiality for individuals with privacy protections in place. An amended HB 6611 supported by AKC GR and the federation was voted favorably on March 3, but the Department is calling for additional changes. Amended HB 6611 was referred to Committee on Appropriations on April 25. 

Connecticut – HB 5215 would establish a taskforce, including a representative of AKC, to develop recommendations for legislation to address the epidemic of domestic dog attacks in the state and to expedite appeals of animal control officer orders and minimize the time impounded animals are held at taxpayer expense. AKC testified in support at the public hearing on February 15 and requested that CFDRDO be added to the taskforce. The Environment Committee voted favorably on March 1 with a commitment to add additional taskforce members in a House floor amendment. AKC is working with CFDRDO to get them included. The bill is on the House calendar.

Delaware – SB 37 seeks to name rescue(d) dogs as the official state dog of Delaware.  Currently, the bill passed both the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.  During the process, AKC continued to remind members that rescue, and shelter dogs are not a breed of dog and naming them as the state dogs does little to change their situation.

Delaware – SB 71 would require law-enforcement agencies, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and the Department of Justice to report suspected animal cruelty to the Office of Animal Welfare that is discovered while performing their responsibilities in child welfare cases. Additionally, this Act also provides immunity to people who, in good faith, report suspected animal cruelty.  AKC GR expressed our concerned about potential misuse of this legislation which could provide an avenue for excessive, frivolous, or even persecutorial reporting – punishing responsible owners.  SB 71 passed both the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Delaware – HB 124 is an updated version of HB 84 (stricken by sponsor) that would prohibit owners from allowing dogs to bark continuously for more than 15 minutes, or intermittently for more than 30 minutes per day.  After discussions with the sponsor, the bill was amended to exempt dogs engaged in any lawful activity including training, hunting, performance events, etc.  AKC continues to express concerns about the likelihood for neighbor disputes, and the inability of animal control to be able to consider cases on an individual basis.  Further, AKC GR has pointed out that this bill seeks a statewide solution to a local nuisance issue.  HB 124 is currently in the House Appropriations Committee.  AKC GR has been working with other interested parties to encourage the committee to hold the bill from a full House vote.

Florida – HB 157/SB 518 sought to exempt records containing information about persons who have adopted an animal from a local animal shelter or animal control agency from public records requirements. AKC GR expressed concern that this legislation could negatively impact tracking a pet with a disease process and would hide pet trafficking under the guise of rescue from public oversight. HB 157 did not receive a committee hearing. Despite concerns, SB 518 passed unanimously in both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Community Affairs and Rules Committee. It later failed in the Senate Rules Committee upon adjournment. 

Florida – HB 719/SB 722 allows certain out-of-state veterinarians to provide specified services under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed in the state. Both bills passed in their respective chambers, HB 719 was ordered enrolled, and it will next be considered by the Governor.  

Florida – HB 849/SB 800 sought to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats and would have allowed the enactment and enforcement of more stringent municipal and county ordinances regarding any animal sale. AKC GR closely monitored this problematic legislation. Neither bill received a committee hearing. 

Florida – Senate Bill 932 was an overreaching bill that, among other provisions, sought to criminalize allowing a dog to have its nose out of a vehicle; certain accepted and safe transport methods for dogs; declawing of cats; and unattended tethering of dogs. It also sought to establish an animal abuser registry that would have included restrictions on both the abuser and others. SB 932, which received negative media attention and constituent opposition for several of its overreaching provisions, did not receive a committee hearing. 

Florida – House Bill 941/Senate Bill 942 authorize public housing authorities to adopt policies related to dogs provided such requirements are not specific to the breed, weight or size, and set aside existing breed-specific ordinances in the state. AKC supported this legislation as filed. The bills passed in both chambers, SB 942 was ordered enrolled, and it will next be considered by the Governor.  

Florida – HB 989/SB1006 House Bill 989/Senate Bill 1006 were versions of “lawyers for animals” bills that would have authorized a court to order that a separate advocate be appointed in the interests of justice for certain civil and criminal proceedings regarding an animal’s welfare or custody. HB 989 was minimally amended, and a committee substitute was re-referred to the House Judiciary Committee where the bill failed upon adjournment. SB 1006 did not receive a committee hearing. Read AKC’s alert that opposed this legislation. 

Florida – House Bill 1047/Senate Bill 1300, supported by AKC, increase protections for police canines, fire canines, search and rescue canines, and police horses. The bills passed in both chambers, HB 1047 was ordered enrolled, and it will next be considered by the Governor. 

Florida – HB 1117SB 554 / SB 1600 sought to address veterinary telemedicine. HB 1117 passed in the House, then died in the Senate Rules Committee. SB 554 and SB 1600 did not receive hearings in their respective committees. 

Florida – HB 1581/SB 1492 House Bill 1581/Senate Bill 1492 were unreasonable, punitive, and overreaching dog breeder bills that sought to regulate owners of a single intact female dog. Associated bills HB 1583, HB 1585, SB 1494, and SB 1496 addressed funding mechanisms for the bills. Because of the hard work of Florida advocates, neither bill received a committee hearing and they died in their respective committees. Read AKC’s most recent alert that opposed these bills. 

Florida HB 7063 among numerous other provisions, establishes sales tax holidays for purchases of supplies necessary for the evacuation of household pets. Necessary supplies must be noncommercial purchases, subject to price limitations, which include pet foods, portable kennels/carriers, pet beds, and other items. The bill passed both chambers, was ordered enrolled, and it will next be considered by the Governor.  

Georgia – HB 217 is an animal fighting bill that contains potentially problematic prohibitions on possessing, purchasing, or selling “fighting related objects.” AKC and the Georgia Canine Coalition seek clarifying language so that the use of treadmills and other common dog training, conditioning, and physical therapy “objects” cannot be misinterpreted. The bill is assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and carries over to the 2024 session. 

Georgia – HB 423/SB 155 increase protections for public safe animals, which include law enforcement and search and rescue animals. SB 155 was signed by the Governor as Act 35.  

Georgia – HB 573 seeks to restrict sales and transfers of pets on roadsides, parking lots, and certain other public areas. It is assigned to the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and carries over to the 2024 session. 

Georgia – SB 142 seeks to problematically expand the definition of “dangerous dog” to include any dog that “demonstrates a propensity for domination or aggressive behavior as indicated by any of the following types of conduct:  (i) Unprovoked barking, when people are present; (ii) Aggressively running along fence lines when people are present; or (iii) Escaping confinement or restraint to chase people.” Among other requirements, the owner of a “dangerous dog” would be required to provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 specific to bodily injury or property damage caused by the dog. This overreaching bill has 36 co-sponsors. It is assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee and carries over to the 2024 session.

Hawaii – As introduced, House Bill 871/Senate Bill 612 seeks to require that sellers or providers of emotional support animals (ESAs), and sellers or providers of certificates, identifications, tags, vests, leashes, and harnesses for ESAs, provide a disclaimer that an ESA is not a service animal under state law.  AKC’s concern about these bills is their use of the term “rights” and similar language to describe the relationship of animals and the law, and requested amendments to clarify that rights and privileges inure to service dog users, not the dogs.  HB 871 has been amended and is on its third reading in the House.  An amended SB 612 has passed the Senate and is currently pending in the House. 

Hawaii – House Bill 1513 seeks to limit civil and criminal liability for individuals who remove unattended animals from motor vehicles that are in physical danger.  AKC is concerned that HB 1513 could lead to unintended consequences that could actually harm animals and punish responsible owners, and should be amended to allow for recourse for an owner who did take proper steps to ensure their animal’s safety was protected (such as proper ventilation, air conditioning, blankets, or other protocols appropriate for the breed).  Owners should also be exempt from liability for their dog harming someone as a result of breaking into the vehicle, which would be especially important if the animal flees the car and becomes at-large.  An amended version of the bill is on the third reading in the House. 

Illinois – House Bill 1049 would prohibit homeowners’ and renters’ insurers from canceling, refusing, or raising premiums for coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the insured.  AKC supports this bill, which is a good first step in protecting resident Illinois dog owners.  The bill has passed both houses and will be transmitted to the governor. 

Illinois – Senate Bill 1499 as introduced would have allowed for a person to face forfeiture of their animals for virtually any violation of state law regarding the care of animals, even without a conviction.  AKC and IFDCO expressed concerns about the one-size-fits-all nature of this punishment which could include minor, correctable infractions that do not rise to the level of a serious offense.  An amendment was added to remove the reference to basic standards of care and only apply this to violations of true cruelty laws.  The bill has been approved by the House and Senate and is pending approval of final amendments. 

Indiana – HB 1121/SB 134 seek to prohibit local governments from banning the retail sale of pets from specific sources.  AKC GR and its state federation expressed concerns over the bills as introduced, as they created new definitions of “hobby breeder” and “casual breeder”.  The sponsors and chairs agreed to amend the bills to address these concerns, and also added consumer protection language for pet store sales.  SB 134 passed the Senate in February but both bills were ultimately held in the House. 

Iowa – HF 651 makes several changes to animal control laws, including prohibiting local governments from passing breed-specific laws and clarifying laws regarding at-large dogs.  The bill overwhelmingly passed the House on April 12 and is being combined with SF 476.  Amendments are currently under consideration and AKC is monitoring.

Kansas – HB 2437 would have made changes to the Kansas Pet Animal Act. The most concerning provision would require dog owners that have their dogs seized to pay the cost of care of a dog within 10 days of receiving a bill and if they fail to pay the bill their dogs will be deemed abandoned and available for adoption. The bill was heard in late March but was ultimately held by the House Agriculture Committee.  AKC GR expects to see similar legislation introduced in 2024.  Read more.

Louisiana HB 248 seeks to allow the cremated remains of pets to be buried with humans subject to specified requirements. It passed in the House, was reported favorably in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs, and was referred to the Legislative Bureau.

LouisianaHB 579, relative to pet insurance, seeks to provide definitions, disclosures, policy conditions, certain sales practices, and producer training. It passed in the House and is pending in the Senate Committee on Insurance.

Maine – LD 679 would require a tenant to designate an authorized person to retrieve an animal from the tenant’s rental unit in the event of the tenant’s death or incapacitation or the tenant’s abandonment of the animal. The bill also requires the landlord to surrender the animal to an animal shelter, an animal control officer or a police officer if the authorized person fails to retrieve the animal. The Joint Committee on Judiciary scheduled a hearing for March 23 and on April 5 voted the bill ought to pass, as amended. It has been carried forward for consideration.

Maine LD 1121 would provide that the Commissioner of Public Safety develop programs to train animal control officers rather than the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. It also would require the Commissioner of Public Safety, rather than the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to certify all animal control officers who successfully complete the training programs. On April 3, testimony by the Maine Animal Control Association indicated that training is lacking to properly prepare animal control officers for dangerous situations they encounter and cross over to law enforcement matters. It was voted down by committee on April 18.

Maine – LD 1216 would establish the Animal Cruelty Task Force to provide a coalition of trained professionals available to animal control officers in the field to assist with and enhance the enforcement of animal cruelty laws. At the April 3 hearing, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry offered that the current Animal Welfare Advisory Council could provide this support if their authority were amended. It was voted down by committee on April 18.

Maine – LD 1234, introduced March 21, would require  the Department of Public Safety to reimburse authorized handlers of retired law enforcement dogs that were used in service by the State Police up to $5,000 per year for health care expenses of their dogs. It was assigned to the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety and AKC submitted testimony in support for the April 20 public hearing. It was voted ought to pass as amended on May 10, but the new text is not yet posted. 

Maine – Referencing AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program, LD 888 provides a system to allow a trained dog and handler to accompany a witness in courtroom appearances and other interactions where criminal justice is administered. An alert was issued and on March 15, AKC testified in support during the Judiciary Committee’s public hearing. On March 22, the judiciary explained that judges currently enjoy discretion and could allow a courthouse facility dog, but that the policy may not have been widely understood. The judiciary is now creating a specific policy to be made available. The committee voted “ought not to pass” on April 13. 

Massachusetts – SB 1056 would, among other provisions, require a minimum of 100 square feet per dog for outdoor enclosures and ban the kenneling of any dog outside unattended for more than 5 hours or from 10pm to 6am.  AKC opposes the measure as introduced. An alert was issued regarding an April 4 hearing before the Joint Judiciary Committee to consider SB 1056 and other re-filed animal bills of concern.

Massachusetts – On April 4, AKC testified in support of HB 1480 and HB 1481 at the Joint Judiciary Committee hearing.  These bills would establish a commission to study the misrepresentation of service animals and issue penalties for those who intentionally misrepresent their animal as a service animal.

Massachusetts – AKC issued an alert noting the Joint Committee on Agriculture scheduled a public hearing on SB 491 for May 15. This bill would establish an animal advisory board that meets quarterly to guide the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) on issues relating, but not limited, to shelters, animal control officers, animal inspectors, and training and best practices. AKC is opposed to SB 491 because of its overly broad scope and the limited representation on the proposed board.

Minnesota – AKC supports both House File 831 and Senate File 371, which seek to prohibit certain housing developments from imposing breed-specific or weight-based dog ownership restrictions on tenants.  Under these bills, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency would require each housing development that is financed on or after January 1, 2024, to authorize a resident to own or maintain one or more common household pets within the resident’s dwelling unit, subject to reasonable conditions, including nuisance behaviors, leashing requirements, requirements to carry liability insurance coverage, limits on the number of animals in a unit based on the unit’s size, and prohibitions on dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs.  The bills also limit housing developments from imposing pet breed and weight restrictions, and one-time nonrefundable or monthly maintenance fees, which are explicitly excluded from the definition of “reasonable conditions”.  HF 831 remains pending in the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee.  SF 371 remains pending in the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee.

Minnesota – House File 758 and Senate File 556 would define “declawing” and “devocalizing”, and prohibit landlords from (1) advertising the availability of a property in a manner designed to discourage anyone from applying for occupancy because an applicant’s animal has not been declawed or devocalized, (2) refusing to allow occupancy or otherwise make unavailable a real property because of a person’s refusal to declaw or devocalize an animal, and (3) requiring a tenant or occupant to declaw or devocalize an animal allowed on the premises.  AKC supports both bills.  After conducting a hearing on February 15, HF 758 remains pending in the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee.  SF 556 remains pending in the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee after it considered it on February 16. 

Minnesota – AKC supports House File 1532, which seeks to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against owners of certain breeds.  HF 1532 was considered by the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on March 14, which laid the bill over for possible inclusion in a committee omnibus bill.   

Missouri – HB 630/SB 132 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).  An amendment was added to HB 630 on the House floor to protect pet stores from local regulation prohibiting their operation.  AKC GR and its state federation support these bills.  HB 630 passed the House and was assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committees.  SB 132 had a public hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee and remains pending.

Montana – Currently, Montana does not have state laws regarding the regulation of emotional support animals and rental housing. HB-703 allows a landlord to request certain supporting information regarding a tenant’s need for an emotional support animal.  The bill has passed both houses of the Montana Legislature and was signed by the governor on April 26. AKC will monitor how the legislation is implemented across the state. 

Montana – SB-280 would institute a low-cost licensing system for bird dog training of game birds not raised in captivity. It has overwhelmingly passed the Senate and House and awaits further action by the governor. AKC is monitoring the bill. 

Nebraska – LB 11would make household pets eligible to appear on protection orders. 

Nebraska – LB 296establishes the pet insurance act which defines terms related to pet insurance and requires a pet insurer to provide specific disclosures and protections to the purchaser of pet insurance. AKC has not taken a position on the bill but we continue to closely monitor it.

Nevada – AB-86 revises animal cruelty laws in the state. AKC worked extensively with the sponsor to ensure that the revision protects responsible dog owners. This proposal has advanced out of the Assembly and was considered in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on May 16. AKC supports the bill as currently constructed.

Nevada – SB-190 revises provisions relating to immunity from civil and criminal liability for certain actions taken to protect or remove a child or pet from a car. AKC appreciates certain requirements in the bill (from past bill iterations), but remains concerned and has asked for amendments to protect the owners from liability if there was no wrongdoing. The bill has unanimously passed the Senate and awaits further action in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. 

Nevada –SB 331 This bill would require cities and subdivisions to designate at least one emergency shelter in their jurisdiction that can accommodate people and their pets. People not being able to find a place for their pets during an emergency is one of the biggest barriers preventing people from taking refuge when needed. AKC has testified in support of the proposal. It has passed the Senate and awaits a vote in the House Government Affairs Committee.

New Hampshire – SB 268 would allow for pre-hospital treatment and transportation for police canines injured in the line of duty. The Senate Committee on Judiciary heard testimony from AKC and other supporters on March 7 and immediately voted the bill favorably from committee. The Senate voted it favorably on March 16. AKC and many others testified in support before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on March 29. An amendment was added before favorably releasing the bill to the House. It passed the House on May 4. Learn more in this update. 

New Hampshire – HB 258 would establish a certification for animal chiropractors. Amendments were approved and unanimously adopted at an executive session on March 8.  Details are here. The House chamber voted the bill favorably on March 16. It was referred to the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee for consideration on April 13 and voted inexpedient to legislate on May 11. 

New Hampshire – HB 249 would establish regulatory standards for the pet insurance industry. It has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs and a public hearing occurred on January 31. On February 28, the committee held a hearing on an amendment to allow restaurant owners to keep their dog on the premises. The bill was then voted favorably and passed the House chamber on March 22. After an April hearing, the Senate voted for passage of the bill on May 11. 

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 1965 seeks to provide for an advocate in cases involving animals, and is a reintroduction of legislation considered in the 2020-2021 legislative session.  Like its predecessor, A.1965 initially featured troublesome findings, which were removed by the Judiciary Committee. A.1965 was also amended to create a two-year initial term for the program. The bill still fails to explicitly state that animals are to be considered property under New Jersey law. AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey, along with allied animal interest groups, continue to oppose A.1965.  

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 4920 seeks to regulate “residential kennels”, defined as a “residential property owned or rented by a person on or at which the person keeps, houses, or otherwise possesses 15 to 25 dogs.”  It would impose numerous requirements on residential kennels, including municipal licensing and inspection requirements, commercial kennel operation standards, and onerous recordkeeping requirements.  AKC is concerned with S.4920’s impact on breeders, its risk of violation of privacy rights, and its potential to lead to the elimination of “residential kennels” in municipalities that choose not to issue licenses.  The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture and Food Safety Committee. 

New Jersey – As introduced, Senate Bill 333 sought to prohibit persons convicted of criminal animal cruelty offenses from owning domestic companion animals and from working or volunteering at animal-related enterprises.  AKC expressed deep concerns with section 2 of the bill, which would have allowed a court to order (1) the forfeiture of any animal owned by an animal cruelty offender and (2) the transfer of such animal to the custody of an animal shelter. In effect, the section failed to protect the property interests of co-owners not in possession of a dog at the time of the offense.  A significantly amended version of S.333 that addresses AKC’s concerns unanimously passed the Senate.  The bill is now under the cognizance of the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee. 

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 2354 and Senate Bill 981 seek to add troublesome “cost of care” provisions that could be used to erroneously deprive individuals of their property by mandating forfeiture if they fail to pay assessed costs for care of seized animals, regardless of whether the individual is found not guilty. S.981 was approved unamended by the Senate in March 2022.  One year later, the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee considered both bills.  An amendment addressing one of AKC’s concerns was incorporated into the bill text prior to approval and rereferral to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey continue to work with sponsors of the legislation to address ongoing concerns. 

New Jersey – Senate Bill 1803 seeks to prohibit declawing procedures from being performed on cats and other animals unless deemed necessary for a therapeutic purpose by a licensed veterinarian.  AKC opposes this measure because it may prohibit common and accepted animal husbandry practices from being performed on dogs.  The bill was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee on February 16, and has been rereferred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.   

New York – A. 111/S.1659 would allow a court to appoint an advocate to represent the interest of animals in cruelty cases.  AKC is opposing these bills, which are pending in their respective Judiciary Committees.

New York – A. 1149/S. 4163 would prohibit renter’s insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the renter.  AKC supports this legislation, which is pending in their respective Insurance Committees.

New York – A. 3976 and S. 4084 would allow for both compensatory and punitive damages for the wrongful injury or death of an animal.  AKC GR opposes these bills, which are pending in their respective Judiciary Committees.

New York – S. 142 would ban debarking in the state unless necessary to alleviate an illness or injury.  AKC GR expressed concerns with this bill, which has passed the Senate and has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture Committee.  Read more.

Oklahoma – HB 1570 would make it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a service animal.

Oklahoma – SB 349/HB 2059 would repeal the existing commercial dog breeder and animal shelter licensing reporting requirement. AKC has actively supported this bill throughout the legislative process and it has been signed by the Governor and it will go into effect immediately. 

Oklahoma – HB 1992 would establish a “dog and cat bill of rights” that states that dogs and cats have the right to be respected as sentient beings and further requires rescues and shelters to post notice that a dog or cat deserves to be spayed or neutered, deserves to be free from cruelty and deserves mental stimulation and exercise. A similar bill was introduced last year in California but the bill was amended and removed the language asserting that these animals have rights at the request of AKC, veterinarians, animal shelters and numerous other animal welfare groups. This bill has not yet been heard.

Oregon  SB-696 appropriates money to the Department of Justice out of General Fund to fund animal cruelty focused attorneys within the department’s Criminal Justice Division. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Although the AKC supports strong animal cruelty laws, concerns remain about the intent of this bill.

Oregon – HB-2915 would end the sale of dogs and cats while exempting stores that currently sell such pets. The bill passed out of the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a vote on May 15. AKC has concerns over the erosion of consumer protections with the limitation of pet store sales of dogs and cats.

Oregon  HB-3571 establishes immunity from prosecution for theft and civil liability for nonprofit animal rescue entity that takes possession of, keeps and disposes of a cat or dog if the person who transfers the cat or dog to the animal holding agency believes the cat or dog to be lost, stray or abandoned. The bill was heard in the House Judiciary Committee (with proposed amendments) but will not advance this year. AKC continues to monitor this issue. 

Pennsylvania – The “Dog Law Modernization Act” is soon to be introduced legislation seeking to increase dog licensing fees, kennel licensing fees, eliminate “non-profit” kennel definition by defining shelters and rescues, improve sharing of information provided to consumers obtaining a dog from all licensed sources, and clarify language related to dangerous dogs.  AKC participated in a stakeholder meeting ahead of the final drafting of the legislation and will continue to provide input as appropriate.   

Rhode Island – HB 5918 is a refiled measure that would create an ownership procedure for pets in divorce and separation proceedings based on the best interests of the animal. This act would not apply to assistance/service animals. AKC worked with the bill sponsor to substitute “ownership” for the word “custody” and submitted House Judiciary Committee testimony consistent with that request for the March 22 public hearing. It is being held for study.

Rhode Island – HB 5864 would define and prohibit “captive hunting” for domestic or wild animals in enclosed areas.  AKC is working with the bill proponent to clarify the text and ensure no negative consequences for legal field trial activities.  Testimony seeking an amendment has been submitted for the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources for a March 9 public hearing. The Senate filed a mirror bill, SB 607, that was heard on May 17. The committee recommended the measure be held for further study.

Rhode Island – HB 5114 would permit the family court to award custody of household pets to the plaintiff in a domestic abuse complaint, including the enforcement remedy of a restraining order or other injunctive relief. AKC expressed concerns about using the legal term “custody”, given the three types of child custody at the February 14 hearing. It is being held for study.

Rhode Island – HB 5207 is a re-filed bill that would establish an animal abuser registry and require pet sellers to check the registry before transferring an animal to avoid fines.  Everyone can agree that animals deserve a life in a safe, caring, and healthy environment. However, registries can be easily evaded and no evidence suggests they are effective at reducing the rate of subsequent offenses.  AKC believes a better use of the State’s resources would be to focus on and utilize enforcement activities that are proven effective and provided this testimony on February 14 before the House Judiciary Committee with other stakeholders. The bill is being studied.

Rhode Island – Elimination of the sales tax for taxi and pet services, such as grooming and boarding, would occur if SB 83 were enacted. AKC supports the bill, and it has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  

South Carolina – H 3238, among other provisions, seeks to require a person, on a second conviction for certain 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. This bill 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 and Natural Resources positively amended H 3682; however, significant concerns remain with the bill as last amended. H 3682 is pending a second vote in the Senate. 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.

Tennessee – HB 165/SB 451 revise certain provisions for a “guide dog” in training and the penalties for misrepresentation of service or support animal. SB 451 was signed by the Governor as Public Chapter 194 and takes effect July 1, 2023. 

Tennessee – HB 398/SB 183 seek to require mental health evaluation and treatment for juveniles who commit aggravated animal cruelty under certain circumstances. SB 183 was signed by the Governor and takes effect July 1, 2023.

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 472/SB 195, as originally filed, would have established overreaching requirements and engineering standards for “necessary shelter” for a dog. At the request of committee members, AKC submitted recommended amendments that would provide protection for dogs without enacting unreasonable sheltering requirements that could result in confiscation and forfeiture of animals if a dog owner does not strictly comply. Both bills were favorably amended. SB 195 was signed by the Governor and takes effect July 1, 2023.  

Tennessee – HB 991/SB 836 seek to prohibit an insurer of homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, or insurance that covers a manufactured or mobile home from making certain changes to or refusing to issue a policy based solely on the specific breed or mixture of breeds of a dog that lives or is cared for on the property. AKC supports breed-neutral legislation. HB 991 is assigned to the House Insurance Subcommittee. SB 836 is assigned to the General Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. These bills carry over to year 2 of the 2023-2024 session. 

Tennessee – HB 1126/SB 1320 require a judge to order payment of restitution by an owner who is convicted of allowing their dog to run loose and the dog causes bodily injury or death to another person, or damages another person’s property, including the award of incidental and consequential damages. SB 1320 was signed by the Governor, became Public Chapter 226, and takes effect July 1, 2023. 

Tennessee – HB 1320/SB 835 seek to criminalize restraining a dog with a chain, cord, tether, cable, or similar device under certain weather forecasts and during evacuation orders. A person would not be subject to prosecution unless the person previously received a warning citation. The bills do not consider that forecasted conditions may not occur where the dog is kept, or that tethers can be used to safely restrain a dog prior to or during an evacuation. HB 1320 is referred to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 835 was referred by the Senate Judiciary Committee to the General Subcommittee of Senate Judiciary Committee and is unlikely to be considered in 2023. Both bills carry over to 2024. View AKC’s most recent alert on these bills.  

Texas HB 66 would require anyone who operates a kennel and engages in business related to boarding, breeding, training and hunting in exchange for compensation must install a fire system in the kennel that includes a sprinkler system and must retain an employee on site at all times if they house more than three dogs. The bill has not yet been heard in committee. 

Texas –  HB 80 would allow municipal animal control officers to manage aggressive dogs outside their municipal jurisdiction if an affidavit is signed by two residents of separate households requesting assistance and alleging that a dog has repeatedly attacked humans, or other animals or asserting that due to the presence of a dangerous or aggressive dog the jurisdiction is unsafe. 

Texas HB 274/SB 876/HB 2238 would amend the cat and dog breeder act and require anyone who possesses 5 or more intact females to become licensed and regulated as a dog breeder. Current law requires licensure if a person owns 11 or more intact females and sells more than 20 animals in a calendar year. Similar legislation was introduced during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session but did not receive any committee hearings. AKC has expressed these concerns to the bill sponsor and will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide updates as necessary. Both bills were substituted last week in committee and now include exemptions for those that breed dogs for participating in conformation shows. While AKC appreciates the amendment we remain concerned that this legislation will impact home-based hobbyists and dog owners that do not compete in AKC events. SB 876 has passed both houses.  Hobbyists are encouraged to contact the governor.  Read more. 

Texas HB 309 would require rescues and shelters to collect a refundable $75 fee for any dog or cat purchased. The fee would be reimbursed to individuals that show proof of sterilization. 

Texas HB 598 creates an offense for the possession of an animal by a person convicted of animal cruelty. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for those who have been convicted of animal cruelty to exercise control of any animal or to reside in a household with an animal present. 

Texas HB 674 would require licensed breeders to provide a bill of sale to the purchaser of any animal sold. The bill of sale must include the name of the breeder and license number, a description of the animal sold, and the amount paid for the animal. AKC is currently monitoring this legislation. 

Texas HB 870/SB 1989 would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs sourced from breeders and would only allow pet stores to sell dogs sourced from rescues and shelters. A similar bill went through both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate in 2021 but the bill did not receive final approval from the legislature due to some last-minute changes. AKC has expressed concerns with this legislation to the sponsor. HB 870 is pending consideration by the full House of Representatives. 

Texas HB 1014/HB 1159/SB 2349 requires a housing authority that allows tenant ownership of a pet to comply with county or municipal laws related to dangerous dogs. HB 1159 has been voted out of committee and is pending a vote on the House floor.

 Texas HB 1348 would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations that regulate the practice of veterinary medicine or that prohibits a veterinarian from performing a procedure that is not already prohibited by state law. This bill has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.

 Texas HB 3081 would repeal the Texas Dog and Cat Breeder Act in its entirety which requires state licensing for certain dog breeders. The bill would repeal all the recommended licenses that the Texas Sunset Commission voted to sunset in 2020 but did not ultimately sunset because a few legislators moved to sever the sunsets. The Commission found that Dog and Cat Breeder Act has not remained revenue neutral and most Texans rely on laws that predate the Dog and Cat Breeder Act to protect dogs.

 Texas HB 3587 would require mandatory sterilization for an at large dog after it has been caught by an agency a second time. The bill would apply to the entire lifetime of a dog and includes some exemptions for members of breed clubs, all breed clubs and national clubs but AKC is concerned about this bill as written and will oppose the measure.  The bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Texas HB 4280 would prohibit local governments from regulating the sales of dogs and cats at for profit businesses. This legislation would protect both pet stores and breeders. AKC has met with the bill sponsor to offer our support for his legislation. 

Texas SB 2226/HB 4909 are identical bills that will allow animal control officers to observe a dog and determine it to be dangerous. Existing state law requires a witness to a dangerous dog to file a sworn affidavit in order for a dog to be deemed dangerous. This bill further provides disclosure protections for individuals that file an affidavit that determines a dog to be dangerous. 

Texas HB 3563 would also regulate the sales of dogs at pet stores but it would still allow stores to sell dogs sourced from qualified breeders that are regulated by the USDA, TDLR or another state. AKC is neutral on this legislation but believes it is a better alternative to HB 870. 

Texas HB 2127 would prohibit local control of industries that are already state and/or federally regulated. An amendment was accepted into the bill that would prohibit local governments from regulating the retail sales of dogs and cats but all local laws related to the sales of dogs and cats made prior to April 1, 2023 will remain until the state passes statewide pet store regulations. The bill has passed both chambers. 

Texas HB 3397 would allow dog chiropractors to provide chiropractic services without the supervision of a veterinarian. 

Texas HB 2063 would require a kennel facility that houses dogs in exchange for pay or consideration to provide informed consent if dogs will be left unattended and if there is no fire sprinkler system installed. AKC has met with the sponsor to clarify who the bill applies to and to ensure the bill does not require private homes to sign informed consent. The bill has passed both chambers.   

Texas HB 3756 and SB 2421 would provide immunity to someone that removes an animal from a vehicle. The immunity is dependent on a person determining there is no reasonable way for the animal to exit the vehicle and a belief that removing the animal is necessary to prevent imminent harm. The person must alert law enforcement and must remain nearby the vehicle until law enforcement arrives.  A person must further leave a note on the vehicle that includes their contact information, and the person must inform the owner where the animal is located on this note. A person will not qualify for this immunity if they are directed by law enforcement not to enter the vehicle. AKC has some concerns with the language and has requested additional amendments. HB 3756 was voted out of the House and SB 2421 remains pending in committee. 

Texas HB 5206 and HB 4164, supported by AKC, would make it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a service animal. Both bills received hearings this month and remain pending in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. TX HB 5206 was voted out of committee on May 2. 

Texas HB 1166, which would limit apartment housing authorities from collecting both a pet deposit and a monthly pet rent fee. The bill allows a housing authority to collect either one or the other but not both. The bill only applies to apartments that allow pets and it does not require apartment housing authorities to allow pets. AKC is monitoring this bill, which remains pending in committee for now. 

Texas HB 4759 would make changes to the state’s dangerous dog laws in response to a tragic, fatal dog attack in San Antonio. This bill will deem a dog dangerous if it causes serious bodily injury, leads to transport of a person to a hospital, if a police report is filed or if the owner is arrested. The bill additionally protects the identity of those that make sworn statements that a dog is dangerous. It has passed the House with additional amendments and is pending in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Texas HB 1653 would increase the penalty for dangerous dog attacks from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor in the case of second offense. The bill was scheduled for a hearing this week but was removed from the committee agenda. This bill remains pending in committee.

Vermont – HB 472 would make a variety of changes to agricultural programs. AKC and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs testified before the Senate Finance Committee on May 2 requesting an amendment that would provide an accounting of what is expended by 13 state agencies each year to fulfill their animal welfare responsibilities. Gathering this data would inform future policy considerations on centralizing animal welfare functions. The Senate Agriculture Committee was consulted and instead of adopting an amendment, has decided to request the research be performed by the University of Vermont.

Washington – HB1012 provides state funding to localities for warming and cooling centers so people and their pets will be safe during extreme weather events. The bill passed overwhelmingly out of the House but stalled before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The AKC strongly supports the intent of this bill and looks forward to supporting similar legislation in the future.

Washington – HB-1234 lowers the threshold for an owner’s animals to be seized due to animal cruelty accusations. As currently constructed, the bill does not guarantee the return of animals in the event an owner is found free of any animal cruelty. AKC does appreciate the bill amendments that could return money paid for boarding an animal during judicial proceedings and attorney’s fees if the owner is found innocent. The bill was unanimously passed by the House and Senate, and has been signed by the governor. 

Washington – HB-1424 originally ended dog and cat sales at all pet stores in the state; the bill has now been amended to allow pet stores to continue to sell dogs and cats if they source animals from USDA licensed breeders and adhere to state and local regulations. AKC appreciates these amendments; however, AKC is concerned with another amendment that would remove the exemption for a number of intact dogs allowed if a breeder was USDA licensed before January 1, 2010, thereby subjecting them to the state’s ownership limit law. The amended bill has passed both chambers and was signed by the governor on May 1. 

Washington – HB-1634 would end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against specific breeds of dog when writing insurance policies. The bill did not make it out of its house of origin by the March 8 deadline and will not advance this year. AKC supports this bill and looks forward to working on a future version.