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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 has not yet received a committee assignment.

Arkansas – HB 1420, among other provisions, defines emotional support dogs, establishes requirements for prescribers, establishes requirements for a person or business that sells or provides for use an emotional support dog, and makes misrepresentations related to emotional support animals a violation. It was enacted as Act 268.

Arkansas HB 1519, which seeks to prohibit municipalities from enacting breed-specific regulations for animals, failed in the House. Read AKC alert in support of this legislation.

Arkansas HB 1591, which is supported by AKC, seeks to limit a local government from enacting certain restrictions regarding the acquisition and sales of pets in retail pet stores. It passed in the House and in the Senate City, County & Local Affairs Committee, and is on the Senate Calendar for 3/30/23. This bill conflicts in part with SB 339.

ArkansasSB 339 seeks to provide protections for certain working animals and would allow a county or municipality to establish or alter an ordinance regarding the sale of dogs and cats. The bill, which conflicts in part with HB 1591, passed in the Senate and is referred to the House Agriculture, Forestry & 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 has been referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Revenue and Taxation and AKC is monitoring.

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. The bill is scheduled for an April 12 hearing in the Assembly Insurance Committee. AKC supports this bill.

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. AKC supports this bill, which was heard in the Assembly Emergency Management Committee on March 27.

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.

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. On March 21, the bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee and it was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 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 passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously and has been referred to the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. 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 has been referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee and awaits a hearing on April 11. AKC supports this bill.

California – AB-1518 seeks to expand on previous bills to increase awareness and education about the value of service dogs. It is currently scheduled for an April 25 hearing in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. AKC is working with the author’s office to support the broad intent of the proposal.

Connecticut – The Judiciary Committee raised SB 1060 that would expand the court’s authority to appoint an attorney to represent animals generally. The goal of animal rights activists is to give animals the same rights and privileges as people by changing the legal classification of animals from property to “legal beings”. AKC opposes SB 1060, issued an alert and testified in opposition on March 1 with the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO). Learn more here.

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 is concerned the proposed definition of “sexual contact with an animal” could be interpreted as prohibiting routine canine reproduction procedures, such as artificial insemination. AKC submitted March 1 testimony seeking a clarifying amendment.

Connecticut – Established in Public Act No. 22-54, the Department of Agriculture convened a workgroup to explore a state-wide dog license portal last year. The Department submitted draft legislation raised by the Joint Environment Committee as HB 6611.  An additional benefit of the electronic dog license portal proposed is a flat dog license fee whether a dog is intact or not.  The Department requested the committee make changes to HB 6611 to mirror the working group’s draft and AKC and CFDRDO submitted testimony in support of those changes for the public hearing on February 15.  The platform will allow confidentiality for individuals with privacy protections in place. An amended HB 6611 was voted favorably on March 3, and after final changes were made by the Department, amended HB 6611 was released.

Connecticut – SB 1069 would have made many problematic changes to the domestic animal laws. As introduced, it would have expanded the definition of “animal”, defined “grooming facility” as any vehicle or trailer: and have repealed a definition of “kennel” that allowed for personal, non-commercial kennels. Connecticut dog owners successfully impressed upon the committee their concerns with the provisions. Together with the CFDRDO, AKC has presented a list of recommended amendments for consideration by the Joint Environment Committee.

Connecticut – HB 5450 would prohibit discrimination in insurance underwriting based on the breed of a homeowner’s dog.  Representative Nuccio has filed this bill after successfully getting a model act adopted by the National Council of Insurance Lawmakers last year. AKC sent an alert noting these protections had been raised by committee for a hearing on February 16 as HB 6635.  AKC, multiple dog clubs and members submitted testimony in support with CFDRDO.  The committee voted favorably an amended HB 6635 on March 16 that would impact laws relating to damage by dogs to people or property as described in this update.

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.

Connecticut – SB 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 issued an alert in support on February 3, 2023, and submitted written testimony for the hearing on February 14. On March 16, the committee unanimously voted the bill favorably.

Connecticut – SB 729 would establish the Siberian Husky as the CT state dog. AKC submitted a letter of support to the committee. An omnibus bill including this provision was raised as HB 6822 and heard on March 6. The committee voted the bill favorably on March 22.

Connecticut – SB 53 would require veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal cruelty and neglect to the state. The Joint Committee on Environment held a public hearing on January 30, 2023, and AKC is monitoring the measure.

Connecticut – SB 976 would mandate health insurance coverage for certain conditions, including the need to purchase a trained service animal.  AKC supports the training and use of dogs by humans, whose lives are enriched by dogs’ performing essential services and submitted written testimony in support for the February 14 public hearing.  See the alert for more details.

Delaware – House Bill 84 would prohibit owners from allowing dogs to bark continuously for more than 15 minutes, or intermittently for more than 30 minutes per day.  AKC is expressing concerns with the likelihood for neighbor disputes, and the inability of animal control to be able to consider cases on an individual basis.  AKC is also requesting amendments to exempt dog training, events, and hunting.  The bill is before the House Health and Human Development Committee. Read more.

Florida – Reintroduced in 2023 are bills that seek to exempt records containing certain information pertaining to persons who have adopted an animal from a local animal shelter or animal control agency from public records requirements. AKC GR remains concerned 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 has been referred to the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee and additional committees. SB 518 passed unanimously in both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Community Affairs and Rules Committee. It is next in the Senate Rules Committee.

FloridaHB 719/SB 722 would allow certain out-of-state veterinarians to provide specified services under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed in the state. HB 719 passed in the House. SB 722 passed in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee, and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

Florida – HB 849/SB 800 seek to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats and would allow the enactment and enforcement of more stringent municipal and county ordinances regarding any animal sale. HB 849 is assigned to the House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee, the Civil Justice Committee, and the Commerce Committee. SB 800 is assigned to the Senate Commerce and Tourism, Regulated Industries, and Rules Committees.

Florida – SB 932 is an overreaching bill that, among other provisions, seeks 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 seeks to establish an animal abuser registry that includes restrictions on both the abuser and others. SB 932, which has received media attention and opposition for certain overreaching provisions, is referred to the Senate Regulated Industries, Agriculture, Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice, and Fiscal Policy Committees.

Florida – HB 941/SB 942 seek to authorize public housing authorities to adopt policies related to dogs provided such requirements are not specific to the breed, weight or size, and would set aside existing breed-specific ordinances in the state. AKC supports this legislation as filed. SB 942 passed in two committees and is now in Senate Rules. HB 941 passed two committees and is next in the House State Affairs Committee.

FloridaHB 989/SB1006 are versions of “lawyers for animals” bills that would authorize 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, laid on the table, and re-referred to the House Judiciary Committee. SB 1006 is assigned to the Senate Judiciary, Criminal Justice, and Rules Committees. Read AKC’s alert opposing this legislation.

Florida HB 1047/SB 1300 seek to increase protections for police canines, fire canines, search and rescue canines, and police horses. HB 1047 passed in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and is additionally assigned to the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and Judiciary Committee. SB 1300 passed in the Senate Criminal Justice and is additionally assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committees.

Florida – HB 1581/SB 1492 are unreasonable, punitive, and overreaching dog breeder bills that seek to regulate owners of a single intact female dog. Associated bills HB 1583, HB 1585, SB 1494, and SB 1496 address funding mechanisms for the bills. Rep. Linda Chaney, sponsor of HB 1581/1583/1585 reports that she is withdrawing her bills. S 1492 is assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee, Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment & General Government, and Fiscal Policy Committees  Read AKC’s most recent alert on these bills.

FloridaHB 1117/ SB 554 / SB 1600 address veterinary telemedicine. HB 1117 passed in House committees and has been added to the House Calendar. SB 554 and SB 1600 are both referred to the Senate Agriculture, Regulated Industries, and Rules Committees.

GeorgiaHB 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 use of treadmills and other common dog training, conditioning, and physical therapy “objects” cannot be misinterpreted. The bill is assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

Georgia – HB 423/SB 155 seek to increase protections for law enforcement animals. SB 155 has passed in the Senate and in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.  HB 423 is assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

GeorgiaHB 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.

GeorgiaSB 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.

GeorgiaSR 344 seeks to recognize May 1, 2023, as Purebred Dog Day. It is assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.

Hawaii – AKC opposes House Bill 849, which seeks to limit consumer choice by requiring pet stores to sell dogs obtained only from animal control or a shelter/rescue. The House Committee on Agriculture and Food Systems considered the bill on February 13, and deferred the measure. 

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 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.  It passed the Senate on March 23 and awaits assignment in the Senate.  Read more.

Illinois – House Bill 1169 would provide a separate legal advocate (lawyer) for dogs or cats in court cases involving its health, safety, or an injury.  AKC and the Illinois federation have been in contact with the sponsor to request amendments.  On March 10, the bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee, making it unlikely to be considered again this session. Read more.

Illinois – House Bill 3200 would require genetic testing for all dogs owned by dog breeders.  If any “genetic defect or mutation that causes early death or physical impairments” is found, the dog must be immediately sterilized.  AKC GR reached out to the sponsor to discuss concerns with the bill.  On March 10, the bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee, making it unlikely to be considered again this session.  AKC continues to talk with the sponsor to discuss alternative solutions for next session.

Illinois – House Bill 3695 seeks to expand the laws prohibiting exotic animals from being used for exhibition in the state.  However, as introduced, the bill defines “exotic animal” as any animal that does not originate in the United States.  AKC GR has reached out to the sponsor asking for an amendment to clarify that this definition does not apply to domesticated animals, including dogs.  The bill was held in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.  On March 10, the bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee, making it unlikely to be considered again this session.

Illinois – Senate Bill 1372 seeks to require licensing for all dog trainers in the state.  This would include handling, agility, CGC, performance events, and other training classes.  AKC GR, the Illinois federation, and multiple national dog training organizations are expressing significant concerns with this bill, which would only allow for one training philosophy and could result in severely limiting training options in the state.  AKC GR and the Illinois federation have been in meetings with the sponsor to address concerns and he has committed to working with us and not allowing the bill as written to advance.  On March 10, the bill was re-referred to the Assignments Committee, making it unlikely to be considered again this session.  AKC and IFDCO, along with national training organizations, have committed to working with the sponsor in the interim on alternative solutions.

Illinois – Senate Bill 1499 would allow 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.  After meeting with the sponsor and county and state attorneys, an amendment has been added that it must be demonstrated that there was an arrest/seizure because the animals’ health and safety were at risk.  The bill passed the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety on March 23, was amended on the Senate floor, and then re-referred to the special committee.  IFDCO continues to request additional amendments to address concerns.

Illinois – House Bill 2793 creates new requirements for “professional breeders”, defined as those who have more than 5 breeding females, are licensed by USDA, and sell dogs to the public or a pet store in Illinois.  The bill would overturn the retail pet store ban and replace it with specific kennel and animal care guidelines that must be met for professional breeders sourcing to pet stores.  The bill also provides for a person to issue a complaint against a professional breeder for actual damage and a process for reviewing the complaint, allowing for the breeder to correct the violations if possible, and additional actions if violations are not addressed.  AKC was monitoring this bill, which passed the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee on March 7, was held on the House floor, and ultimately re-referred to the Rules Committee, meaning it will mostly likely not advance this year.

Illinois – House Bill 3454 clarifies that theft of companion animals not exceeding $500 in value is a Class 4 felony.  This legislation originated because of a constituent who was a victim of pet theft but could not press charges because of the value of the animal.  The bill retains the legal status of animals as property.  On March 10, the bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee, making it unlikely to be considered again this session.

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 on February 20 and both bills are now pending in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

Iowa – HSB 99 prohibits insurers from refusing to issue, renew or cancel or raise premiums for homeowner’s insurance based solely on breed of dog (or mixed-breed) owned by the policyholder for policies changed, renewed, or issued after the law goes into effect.  AKC is supporting this bill, which is pending in the House Commerce Committee.  Read more.

Kansas – HB 2437 would make 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.  AKC expressed concerns with this bill, which was heard in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee on March 22.

Kentucky HB 103 seeks to amend animal cruelty provisions. AKC recommended certain friendly amendments to clarify this bill. It passed in the House as amended and is now in the Senate Committee on Committees.

KentuckyHB 115 seeks to expand provisions regarding protections for assistance dogs and working K9s. AKC supports this bill, which passed in the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been sent to Rules as a consent bill.

Kentucky – HB 212 addresses dangerous dog law and seeks to expand certain penalties. It has not received a committee assignment.

KentuckyHB 294/SB 56 seek to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits, but does not restrict pet stores from “showcasing” pets from animal shelters and nonprofit organizations that “adopt” animals. Showcasing of pets would be prohibited for any entity that is affiliated with a breeder, thereby excluding many club-related volunteer dog rehoming groups. SB 56 is assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee. HB 294 has not received a committee assignment. SB 56 is assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

KentuckyHB 321 is an extremely problematic bill that, among other provisions, seeks to amend vicious dog law; include prohibitions on possession of dogs for certain offenses; expand animal confiscation provisions; establish cost of care requirements for confiscated animals and require forfeiture if not paid; and grant immunity for releasing a dog from a vehicle without consideration of consequences of such action. It has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

KentuckySB 92 has been amended to include provisions regarding the definitions of assistant dog and emotional support animal; provide that a therapeutic relationship with a healthcare provider does not include transactions for documentation of disability in exchange for fee unless there has been a face-to-face in-office consultation with the health care provider; establish certain requirements; and make it a violation to misrepresent a dog as an assistance dog to gain accommodation. SB 92 has passed in the Senate.

Kentucky SB 133 seeks to designate the Treeing Walker Coonhound as the official state dog.  SB 133 is assigned to the Senate State & Local Government Committee.

KentuckySB 230 seeks to create procedure for seizing agencies to petition a court to order payment of animal care costs by owner. SB 230 is assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Maine – LD 1216 would establish an animal cruelty taskforce to provide a coalition of trained professionals to assist with and enhance the enforcement of animal cruelty laws. It was requested by the Maine Animal Control Association and the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee has scheduled a hearing for April 3.

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 has been assigned to the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

Maine – LD 350 prohibits the cancellation or nonrenewal of a property insurance policy solely on the basis of a policyholder’s ownership of certain breeds of dogs. The bill also prohibits an increase in the premium for the policy.  An alert has been issued, and AK GR testified in support at a February 14 hearing.  Opposition to the bill came from the insurance industry and the committee has requested the industry share what evidence they use to determine dog breed risk analysis. At the March 23 committee work session an attorney for the Bureau of Insurance offered to post on the agency website the policy forms of the ten largest insurance groups in Maine, representing 82% of the market, regarding what carriers do with respect to dogs.  With this consumer education, the committee voted to table the bill.

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.  Read more

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. During the March 22 work session, 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. Although LD 888 would authorize use of the dogs from the investigative stage to the actual trial, the committee voted to table it.

Maine – LD 1211 would require that the Commissioner of Public Safety develop programs to train and certify animal control officers rather than the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. It was introduced on March 8. A public hearing is scheduled for April 3.

Maine –Introduced on March 7, LD 1068 would ban the hunting of animals in enclosed areas and repeal the law that permits the establishment, operation and use of commercial large game shooting areas. AKC reviewed the text with the Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation and determined that there is no harm to beagle club training and field trials with hare. AKC will continue to monitor.

Maryland HB 1039 seeks to establish a Task Force on Financial Incentives for Pet-Friendly Housing to study certain matters and make recommendations on how to financially incentivize the expansion of pet-friendly housing.  AKC GR is monitoring this bill and is reaching out to the sponsor and stakeholders to further discuss the legislation and possible inclusion of AKC membership on the Task Force.  The bill was considered by the House Environment and Transportation Committee on March 7, 2023.

Massachusetts – HB 314 would provide consumer protections at dog day care businesses and is supported by multiple animal welfare organizations, including AKC. It has been referred to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

Massachusetts – HB 2019 has been re-filed as “Ollie’s Law” and would impose requirements such as staffing ratios for boarding, training, dog day care, breeding and personal kennels. It also would create a new definition for “personal breeder kennel” as anyone with more than 4 intact female dogs. Personal breeder kennels and commercial breeder kennels would be held to the same future regulations. It has been referred to the Joint Municipalities and Regional Government Committee.

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. It has been referred to Joint Judiciary Committee.

Massachusetts – HB 310 is a re-filed bill that would require pet groomers be licensed by the state and comply with regulations related to the safety, sanitation and operation of a pet grooming business. AKC is concerned that the proposed definition of “pet groomer” does not make an exception for professional dog handlers traveling to Massachusetts to exhibit a dog. It has been referred to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

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 otherwise maintain one or more common household pets within the resident’s dwelling unit, subject to applicable state laws and local government ordinances and other reasonable conditions.  “Reasonable conditions” are defined as 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 (1) breed restrictions, (2) limits on the weight of a pet, and (3) one-time nonrefundable or monthly maintenance fees, which are explicitly excluded from the definition of “reasonable conditions”.  After conducting a hearing February 15, HF 831 remains pending in the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee.  SF 371 remains pending in the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee after it considered the bill in a hearing on February 16.

MinnesotaHouse File 758 and Senate File 566 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 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.  Click here for more information.  

Minnesota – AKC opposes House File 1276 and Senate File 1317, which seek to limit consumer choice by requiring pet stores to sell dogs obtained only from animal control or a shelter/rescue.  The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee pulled HF 1276 from its March 15 agenda.  The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee considered the bill on March 9, during which the sponsor moved to table its consideration.  Click here for more information. 

Mississippi – HB 530 was an overreaching dangerous dog bill that sought to authorize confiscation of a dog following certain complaints. It also would have allowed a dog to be declared dangerous under loosely stated provisions. The bill included broad requirements regarding euthanasia of dogs declared dangerous and other problematic provisions. It died in the House Judiciary B Committee.

MississippiHB 548 sought to require certification of K-9 teams. It died in the House Judiciary B Committee.

MississippiHB 932 sought to clarify the crime and penalties for taking another person’s animal. It died in the House Judiciary B Committee.

Mississippi SB 2084 sought to allow the inclusion of pets in a protective order, and was supported by AKC as introduced. It died in the Senate Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi SB 2123 sought to increase penalties for harming a service animal and was supported by AKC as introduced. The bill died in the Senate Judiciary B Committee.

MississippiSB 2228, which establishes provisions for the sale and renewal of pet insurance policies was approved by the Governor on March 10.

Missouri – HB 296 would prohibit localities from enacting breed-specific laws.  AKC and its state federation support this bill, which is pending in the House Local Government Committee.

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 on March 8 and is pending committee assignment in the Senate.  SB 132 was considered in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee on March 7.

Montana – HB-623 seeks to define and establish penalties for the harassment or harm of service animals. It does not seek to include penalties or financial compensation for emotional damages. The bill was tabled in the House Human Services Committee and will not move forward.

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 passed the House and had a hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee on March 27. AKC is monitoring this proposal.

Montana – HB-677 would have put date limitations on when bird dog training could be conducted by professional dog handlers on public lands. It was tabled in the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, and will not move forward.

Montana – SB-280 would institute a low-cost licensing system for bird dog training of game birds not raised in captivity. It has overwhelming passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, scheduled for a March 28 hearing. AKC is monitoring the bill.

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 after expanding the protections to working dogs at other state agencies, immediately voted the bill favorably from committee. Details are in this alert. The Senate chamber voted it favorably on March 16. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has scheduled a hearing for March 29 as noted in this update.

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

Nebraska LB 296 establishes 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.

Nevada – AB-86 revises animal cruelty laws in the state. AKC is working with the sponsor to ensure that the revision protects responsible dog owners. This proposal has been referred to the Natural Resources Committee where it is scheduled for an April 3 hearing. AKC supports the bill as currently constructed.

Nevada – AB-87 seeks to clarify rules surrounding owners and their service animals when in public places. The proposal has been referred to the Commerce and Labor Committee where it awaits a first hearing. As the bill is currently constructed, AKC has concerns that service dog owners may be adversely impacted. AKC is currently working with the sponsor to ensure that service dog owners are treated with fairness and respect.

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, however, remains concerned and has asked for amendments to protect the owners from liability if there was no wrongdoing. The bill was heard in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on March 16 and awaits further action.

New Hampshire – HB 37 is a re-filed bill that would establish a study on best practices for companion animal groomers. At the February 7 public hearing, lawmakers expressed a desire to ensure animals’ safety and groomer compliance with best practices without having to create a state occupational license. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee retained the bill and requested the Department of Agriculture post an educational bulletin on how to find a responsible groomer.

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 has been referred to the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee.

New Hampshire – HB 230 would direct the Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food to employ an electronic data processing system for all registrations under its purview. It appears this would result in an expansion to the state pet vendor license database that is out for bid. It was voted ought to pass by the Executive Departments and Administration Committee and was held in the Finance Committee.

New Hampshire – HB 141 would authorize dogs off leash on certain hiking trails and state parks so long as the owner has leash and dog in voice or physical control at all times. The Resources, Recreation and Development Committee held a public hearing on January 18.  It was voted inexpedient to legislate on March 14.

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. AKC is monitoring the bill.

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. Click here for more information.

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. Despite conflicts with provisions in amended S.333, 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 JerseySenate 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.  Click here for more information.

New Mexico HB 239 prohibits animal shelters from euthanizing animals unless the animal has an untreatable illness or it has caused serious injury to a person or domestic animal. The bill would also establish a database for missing pets and would allocate $3.3 million for low cost spay and neuter programs. AKC was monitoring this legislation.

New Mexico SB 429 would prohibit tethering a dog outside for longer than 3 hours during a 24 hour period. The bill includes some exemptions for working dogs, dogs engaged in legal dog sports, research and for veterinary care. The bill was substituted and passed from its first committee this week but there are still some concerns the bill would prohibit tethering for commonly accepted training practices and it would prohibit tethering while a dog is hunting or preparing to hunt. AKC and affiliated New Mexico clubs have requested an opportunity to meet with the sponsor to raise our concerns and to recommend more appropriate language for the bill. The bill died in committee when the legislature adjourned on March 20.

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/A. 3569 would ban debarking in the state unless necessary to alleviate an illness or injury.  AKC GR is expressing concerns with these bills, which are pending in their respective Agriculture Committees.

North Dakota House Bill 1364 would clarify when a dog may be considered a public nuisance.  As currently worded, any dog outside the property of the dog’s owner which enters the property of another without the permission of the property owner, and subsequently harasses individuals who are lawful entrants on the property, may be considered a public nuisance. If a dog enters a property and the dog’s owner is unknown, it is presumed to have entered that property without permission of the property’s owner.  HB 1364 has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Oklahoma HB 1570 would make it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a  pet as 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 passed in both the House and the Senate.  However, one bill will need to pass the other chamber before it can be transmitted to the governor.

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-496 would amend state Emergency Housing Account to include funding to be used for 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. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Housing and Development Committee and referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. AKC supports this bill.

Oregon SB-696 appropriates money to Department of Justice out of General Fund to fund animal cruelty focused attorney within department’s Criminal Justice Division. It is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee where a hearing was held on March 6. 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. 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 cat or dog by if that 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 is before the House Judiciary Committee and scheduled for a vote on March 29. AKC is monitoring this bill.

Oregon Animal rights activists are collecting signatures to put a measure on the ballot that would essentially ban all hunting, prohibit certain breeding practices including artificial insemination, and restrict training practices. Other provisions would dramatically impact farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and even pest control. The initiative was pulled for 2022 and is now being put forward for the 2024 ballot as Initiative Petition (IP) 3.  AKC is working with two broad coalitions to oppose the measure. This initiative is under renewed focus as a large donation was made allowing for paid signature gatherers.

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. 

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. 

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. 

South CarolinaH 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 CarolinaH 3682 and similar S 456 seek to eliminate necessary protections under current law regarding the award of costs of care for a confiscated animal. It provides that a hearing would only determine if confiscation was authorized, thereby trampling due process rights of the accused. H 3682 was minimally amended and passed in the House. The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources referred S 456 back to subcommittee for additional discussion, and legislative staff indicated that “extensive” amendments are recommended. S 456 will next be heard again by the full Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. View AKC’s most recent alert on S 456.

South CarolinaH 3247 seeks to increase penalties for maltreating a police K9. It is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Tennessee – HB 45 has been withdrawn. The bill sought to add to a defense to a claim for civil damages based on killing or injuring a dog that the dog had been or was killing or worrying a person or wildlife.

TennesseeHB 165/SB 451 seek to revise certain provisions for a “guide dog” in training and the penalties for misrepresentation of service or support animal. HB 165 was amended to address only situations under which a place public accommodation may ask a person to remove a guide dog or guide dog in training and has passed in the House. SB 451 has passed in the Senate and the House amendment was adopted.

TennesseeHB 398/SB 183 seek to require mental health evaluation and treatment for juveniles who commit aggravated animal cruelty under certain circumstances. HB 398 is on the calendar of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 183 passed in the Senate.

TennesseeHB 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 has passed in the Senate.

TennesseeHB 472/SB 195 seek to establish 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. HB 472 is on the calendar of the House Criminal Justice  Subcommittee. SB 195 initially failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but via procedural action has been returned to the committee calendar. View AKC’s most recent alert on these bills. 

TennesseeHB 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.

TennesseeHB 1126/SB 1320 seek to 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. This would eliminate judicial discretion, including consideration of the nature and scope of the circumstances and contributory factors. SB 1320 passed in the Senate. HB 1126 is on the calendar of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

TennesseeHB 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 this year. 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. HB 2238 and SB 876 have had public hearings, where there was strong opposition raised by the AKC and local clubs.  AKC continues to communicate with the sponsors and committee members to offer more effective solutions to their concerns.  

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 and will continue to work to educate the legislature about our position on pet choice.

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 it is a better alternative to HB 870. 

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. 

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.

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. AKC has reached out to the sponsor to further discuss this legislation.

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.

Vermont – Act 147 Report, Section 38 was filed by the Vermont Department of Public Safety with the House Government Operations, as required by passage of H. 729 last session.  The report outlines a plan, and draft legislation, to unify domestic animal welfare and related public safety functions across state government.  AKC and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs are currently discussing the report details and next steps with the Vermont Traditions Coalition. The Senate Agriculture Committee heard from members of the Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board regarding the report on March 3 and is requesting the state veterinarian appear before the committee the week of March 27.

Vermont – HB 234 was introduced on February 14 to the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs. It seeks to create an animal control program that would establish regional offices to: support municipalities with control programs and services primarily directed at domestic pets; provide free or low-cost vaccination, spay, and neuter programs; and investigate potential locations, resources, and personnel to establish regional pound and shelter facilities.

Vermont – HB 407 was introduced on February 28 and sent to House Committee on Judiciary. It is a re-file that would allow courts the discretion to place restrictions on people convicted of animal cruelty offenses regarding their future ownership interest in animals.

Vermont – HB 410 would require veterinarians and domestic pet owners to send copies of the current rabies vaccine certificate for animal licensure to the municipal clerk. It was introduced on February 28 and sent to the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

Vermont – HB 57 is a re-filed measure that was introduced to the House Committee on Government Operations and Military Affairs on January 27.  The bill would require a dog trainer to inform a client of the methods and equipment that would be used to train a client’s dog and of the risks and benefits of those methods and equipment before obtaining the client’s consent to move forward.  AKC is monitoring the bill closely.

Virginia – HB 1984 as introduced seeks to amend the definition of “adequate water” in the Commonwealth Code to align with the federal Animal Welfare Act by specifying that for dogs, “adequate water” means water that is continuously available, unless restricted by a veterinarian, in a receptacle that is cleaned and sanitized before being used to provide water to a different dog or a different social grouping of dogs.  In conversations with the sponsor office, AKC GR has been informed that a substitute will be offered that eliminates the word “sanitized”, seeks to make it applicable only to commercial settings, and only requires “continuous access” when the dog is in its primary enclosure.  This bill was left in Committee.  Session ended on February 25, 2023. 

Virginia – HB 1985 seeks to codify regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services governing the keeping of dogs and cats by pet shops and pet shops to register and pay a $250 annual registration fee to the Department.  The bill also provides for the State Animal Welfare Inspector to conduct at least one unannounced, annual inspection of each pet shop and provides certain standards for the Inspector and pet shop owner in order to address any violations.  This bill was left in Committee.  Session ended on February 25, 2023. 

Virginia – HB 1451 provides for the assessment of a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation when a pet shop does not maintain a written record for each dog in its possession containing certain information or fails to post a notice stating that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspection reports are available prior to purchase. Currently, such violations are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.  This bill was left in Committee.  Session ended on February 25, 2023. 

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 has passed overwhelming out of the House and has been referred to the Senate State Government and Elections Committee. On March 24, House Bill 1012 passed out of committee was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The AKC strongly supports this bill.

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 passed by the House, passed by the Senate Law and Justice Committee and has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

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 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 the House and has been referred to the Senate Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade Committee where it is scheduled for a vote on March 28..

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.

Washington – HB-1635 This bill would serve to develop model standards for the training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl. Further, beginning January 1, 2025, a state or local government, law enforcement agency, or any employee of a state or local government or law enforcement agency would be immune from civil damages arising from the use of a canine to detect fentanyl if following proper rules and procedures. This bill is currently before the House Rules Committee. AKC supports this bill.

Washington – HB-1077 Currently, courthouse facility (therapy) dogs are permitted in courthouses. This bill would authorize expanded access for courthouse facility dogs and their handlers to locations outside courthouses and to modes of public transportation to provide this service. This bill has passed the House, passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee, and has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee. AKC supports courthouse facility dogs and this bill.