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Taking Command April 2018

State Issues April 2018

Here are some highlights of state-level issues AKC GR is currently tracking. Visit the 2018 Legislation Tracking page and click on your state to get the latest updates on state bills monitored by the AKC.

Assembly Bill 1762 would allow visitors to all California state parks to bring animals when they visit the parks. Animals would be permitted in the parks and recreational areas within the parks, including hiking trails, unless the animal’s presence causes a threat to health and safety, public nuisance or a threat to natural or cultural resources or improvements in the park. The bill died in the Appropriations Committee.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 1776 would authorize specified emergency medical personnel to transport a police dog injured in the line of duty to an appropriate veterinary care facility. The bill also includes search and rescue dogs, passive alert dogs, and service dogs in its definition of injured dogs that can be transported. The bill also removed most civil liabilities from both emergency medical personnel and their agencies for harm incurred during transport.  The bill has passed out of committee and is making its way through the Assembly.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 1780 would require the State Public Health Officer to investigate reports of outbreaks of communicable diseases caused by, or purported to be caused by, contact with dogs or cats that have been imported from out of state. It authorizes the officer to prohibit the importation of animals that pose a risk of any communicable disease. The bill would impose a civil penalty for violators.  Unfortunately, this bill died in the Appropriations Committee.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 2362 would establish health and safety standards for mobile dog and cat transportation facilities by requiring transporters to meet certain conditions as to heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting in their transportation facilities. The bill would be applicable to public animal control agencies or shelter, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animal shelters, humane society shelters, or rescue groups that works with at least one private or public shelter, and to a public or private for-profit entity that uses mobile or traveling housing facilities for dogs and cats. This bill was passed out of committee and is now on the Assembly floor.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 2445 would require a pet store operator to maintain records documenting the health, status, and disposition of each animal for at least one year after the animal is sold, and make these records available to individuals. This bill is something of an extension of Assembly Member O’Donnell’s AB 485, a 2017 bill that required pet shops to only sell pets from unregulated and uninspected sources (i.e., shelters, rescues, and other similar organizations). AB 245 will also require a pet store operator to provide the adoption policies of the organization that supplied each animal.

CaliforniaSenate Bill 911 would increase the penalties for intentionally injuring a law enforcement dog or horse. The bill is set for a committee hearing in early April. This bill has twice failed to make it out of committee.

California – Senate Bill 1024 would require anyone convicted of certain animal abuse crimes to undergo a mandatory mental health evaluation. If the mental health professional who conducts the evaluation deems it necessary, the person convicted of the animal abuse crime would be required to undergo mandatory mental health counseling. At this point, the bill is set for a hearing in the Public Safety Committee.

Georgia  – HR 638, a resolution commending the benefits and contributions of purebred dogs to the State of Georgia and recognizing May 1 as Georgia Purebred Dog Day at the state capitol; and for other purposes, was adopted by the House.

Hawaii –
House Bill 1823 seeks to create a misdemeanor or those found to have knowingly misrepresented themselves, through conduct or verbal or written notice, as being disabled in an attempt to receive the benefits and protections afforded under federal or State law for the use of service dog or emotional support animal. The House Health and Human Services Committee deferred consideration of the bill.

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

Illinois – HB 5477, initiated by AKC’s Illinois federation and being supported by the AKC, would create shelter reporting requirements for the state that will provide essential data on exactly where and why animals are coming into Illinois shelters, and what happens to them once they are there.  It has unanimously passed the House and is pending committee assignment in the Senate.  Read more about this legislation.

Illinois – House Bill 4191 / Senate Bill 2277 would allow private citizens to remove dogs from cars if the person believes that the dog is imminent danger in a locked car. AKC GR and its Illinois Federation proposed amendments to address concerns with these bills.  Local animal control officials, veterinarians and sportsmen have also expressed concerns.  HB 4191 passed the House on April 26. Read more about this legislation.

Illinois – House Bill 4380 as introduced, states that no animal may be kept outside in temperatures below 20 degrees or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for any reason. AKC expressed concern that this could restrict those who may participate in humane winter activities with their dogs, and that it also would allow dogs to be left outside in temperatures that are too extreme for their breed or age. Illinois law already states that a dog may not be left outside in life-threatening conditions of extreme heat or cold, making this bill unnecessary. Amendments have been proposed that remove the specific temperatures from the bill and instead provide for the protection of animals kept outside in conditions that could be life-threatening. The bill is pending in the House.

Illinois –
House Bill 5807 would prohibit pet stores from selling animals unless the animals are sourced from a shelter or rescue organization.  AKC is opposing this bill, which removes consumer protection and limits consumer choice. In 2017, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Safe Pets Act, which regulates pet stores and ensures that dogs being sold in pet stores are being raised in a humane manner, making this bill unnecessary. The bill has been pending in the Rules Committee since February.

Illinois – Senate Bill 2601 states that an approved humane investigator may not be held liable for any act or omission that occurs during an investigation unless there is willful or wanton misconduct.  The Illinois Federation has expressed concerns with this bill, which was considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 20. At this time, it does not appear that this bill will advance in 2018.

Iowa – HF 2001 provides circumstances where a landlord may require a person with a disability to remove the person’s service or assistance animal from the premises. AKC is supporting the portion of the bill that makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly misrepresent an animal as a service or assistance animals by creating a false document, falsely stating the animal is a service or assistance animal, and fitting the animal with a service dog vest/sign/harness when it is not a service animal. The bill was amended in subcommittee and is pending in the House Commerce Committee.

Kansas – HB 2477 originally increased fees for all licensees under the Kansas Pet Animal Act. The bill was amended to allow for unannounced inspections, which would include hobby breeders.  AKC expressed concern with this portion of the bill, which was signed by the governor.

LouisianaHouse Bill 121 seeks to restrict tethering of animals. It was amended to remove certain problematic provisions; however, such provisions could be reestablished by Senate action. HB 121 has passed in the House and has been recommitted to the Senate Committee on Judiciary B.

Louisiana House Concurrent Resolution 44, which urges local governmental subdivisions to adopt ordinances to provide definitions for what constitutes proper shelters for animals and provide for penalties for leaving animals outside without proper shelter, has passed in the House.

LouisianaSenate Bill 156 among other provisions would provide immunity to a person who damages a vehicle to provide care to a domestic animal locked in the vehicle and in danger of imminent death, provided the person complies with certain provisions. SB 156 passed in the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure.

LouisianaSB 160 seeks to prohibit tying or tethering a dog or cat in a designated emergency area during a declared flood or hurricane emergency. SB 160 passed in the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development.

Maryland – House Bill 1662, titled the “No More Puppy Mill Pups Act of 2018”, would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs or cats unless they are from an animal welfare organization or animal control unit. AKC opposed this bill and proposed a more effective and positive alternative to both the legislature and the governor.  The governor signed the bill on April 24.

Massachusetts Senate Bill 2331 (formerly Senate Bill 1155) seeks to expand restrictions on dog breeders, establish fines for anyone who fails to license their kennel or require them to relinquish ownership of their dogs, and creates regulations for those who own eight intact female dogs. The AKC has joined local dog owners and other organizations in testifying in opposition to these bills.  SB 2331 was passed by the Massachusetts Senate on March 15. Read AKC’s legislative alert for more information on these bills.

Massachusetts – Senate Bill 2347 (formerly Senate Bills 2332 and 1159) features many provisions, including increases in fines for violations of dog control laws and licensing and sales requirements. They also contain provisions that restrict insurance companies from canceling or covering based on the breed of dog kept on the insured premises. SB 2332 has passed the Senate and awaits committee assignment in the House.

Massachusetts – House Bill 3212 seeks to create consumer protections for pet store purchasers, mandates extensive shelter recordkeeping requirements, and prohibits local pet store sales bans. AKC GR testified in support of this bill, which is currently under the cognizance of the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Michigan –
Senate Bill 741 would prohibit local governments from enacting or enforcing policies that regulate dogs based upon its breed or perceived breed. AKC supports this bill, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the House Local Government Committee.

MinnesotaHouse File 2815, House File 3157, and Senate File 2646 all seek to prohibit the misrepresentation of an animal as a service animal. The AKC expressed support of these bills prior to their respective committee hearings on March 7 and March 8.  SF 2646 was substituted by HR 3157, which has passed both the House and Senate.  HF 2815 was passed by the Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee on March 12. 

Mississippi SB 2474 would require the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation to post a publicly accessible list on its website of any person convicted of an animal abuse offense on or after January 1, 2019. SB 2474 died in committee.

MississippiHB 386 and similar bill SB 2091 would authorize emergency medical technicians to transport law enforcement dogs injured in the line of duty to a veterinarian.  HB 386 has been referred to the House Judiciary B Committee.  These bills died in committee.

MississippiSB 2172 would establish a first offense felony of aggravated abuse of a dog or cat, increase penalties, limit the number of counts that can be charged from a single incident, and establish reporting requirements. SB 2172 died in committee.

MississippiSB 2185 would require a license from the Commissioner of Agriculture to operate as a pet dealer, kennel, stable, or animal shelter; establish annual fees of between $50 and $400 dollars; provide for inspections; and provide for the promulgation of rules and regulations.  SB 2185 died in committee.

Mississippi – SB 2232 would revise definitions in the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act and authorize a court to include the protection of pets in protection orders. SB 2232 died in committee.

Missouri –
House Bill 1398 would prohibit municipalities from enacting breed-specific laws, and nullify any current breed-specific laws in the state.  AKC GR supports this bill, which has passed the House Local Government Committee.

Missouri House Bill 1945 amends the law regarding the care of animals seized when cruelty or neglect is suspected.  AKC supports this bill, on which MoFed has been very active.  It passed the House and is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee.

Missouri – House Bill 2031 creates penalties for those who misrepresent a service animal, assistance animal, or emotional support animal.  AKC supports this bill as currently written, which has passed the House and is pending in the Senate General Laws Committee.

Nebraska –
Legislative Bill 893 as introduced, would have allowed pet stores to sell only animals obtained from an animal control facility, animal shelter, or animal rescue.  AKC GR worked with local breeders to express concerns and also provided alternative language to committee staff. The bill was ultimately held in committee.

New Hampshire –
House Bill 1309 requires animal shelter facilities to have a microchip scanner on premises, to maintain a file of recognized pet retrieval agencies, and to scan animals for microchips upon admission if their owners are not known.  The American Kennel Club and the Dog Owners of the Granite State, AKC’s New Hampshire federation, support HB 1309. The bill has passed the House and has been considered by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

New Hampshire –
Senate Bill 569 seeks to expand the state’s definition of ‘commercial kennel’ and impose bond for care requirements for those charged with cruelty.  An amended version of the bill passed the Senate, and was further amended by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee on April 24.  AKC and its New Hampshire federation are advocating for passage of SB 569 as most recently amended. Click here to read AKC’s most recent alert on SB 569.

New York –
Assembly Bill 284 would require licensing, inspections and other regulations for pet grooming facilities.  This includes complying with standards of care, record keeping, completing a training course, and consenting to inspections.  For violations that would not impact a dog’s health and safety, a “cure period” may be permitted to allow the groomer to fix the issue before a fine is issued.  It has been pending on the Assembly floor since January.

New York – Assembly Bill 465 changes the definition of pet dealer from someone who sells 25 dogs/year to someone who just sells 15, thereby subjecting many hobbyists to the same regulations as commercial kennels.  The bill is pending a vote in the Assembly, and AKC GR is encouraging hobbyists to contact their Assemblyperson to express concerns. Read more about this legislation.

New York – Assembly Bill 4225 prohibits insurance providers from refusing or canceling coverage or increasing insurance premiums based solely on the breed of dog owned by the policy holder. AKC supports this bill, which is pending on the Assembly floor.

New York – Assembly Bill 8526 as introduced would prohibit pet stores from selling pets unless they were sourced from shelters and rescues.  The bill was amended to also permit sourcing from “licensed breeders”.  AKC has expressed appreciation for this amendment but is requesting further clarification on how this is defined.  The bill is pending in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

New York – Senate Bill 1256 would make it a crime to steal a pet from an owner’s or lawful custodian’s private property.  AKC GR supports this bill, which ensures that criminals who steal pets would be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, which is consistent with other property theft.  The bill is pending in the Codes Committee.  Read AKC’s Legislative Alert on this bill.

New York – Senate Bill 1902 would make significant changes to the state’s consumer protection laws, including allowing a dog to be declared “unfit for purchase” for any illness or injury within the first 30 days following the sale.  It could also require the seller to pay for veterinary costs for the life of the dog.  AKC GR has provided recommended amendments to ensure these provisions apply to significant issues that are present at the time of sale. The bill awaits action by the full Senate.  Read AKC’s Legislative Alert for more information. 

Ohio – Constitutional Ballot Initiative. HSUS is seeking signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2018 that would place constitutional regulations on anyone who has 8 or more intact female dogs of any age. The measure also seeks to make vague and problematic humane standards part of the Ohio constitution. AKC is closely monitoring this.  Read AKC’s blog for more information.

Ohio – House Bill 263 would allow dogs in outdoor eating establishments, with permission from the business owner.  AKC is supporting this bill, which would allow responsible dog owners more opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities with their well-behaved pets.  The bill was amended by the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee to provide reasonable clarifications and regulations for outdoor eating establishments that choose to allow dogs.  The bill has passed the House. A similar measure, Senate Bill 182, is pending in the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee.  AKC provided the sponsor with a letter of support for this bill.

OhioHouse Bill 506 seeks to make significant changes to the state’s regulations for high volume breeders, which include, in part, placing current regulations by the Ohio Department of Agriculture into Ohio code.  AKC is working with the sponsor and a coalition of interested parties to ensure a reasonable and effective law.  The bill passed the House on March 21 and is pending in the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Read more about this bill.

OhioHB 539 would declare the Labrador Retriever the State Dog.  AKC is working with the sponsor and provided written testimony in support of this measure, which is pending in the House State and Local Government Committee.

Rhode Island House Bill 7045 would remove performance-based exceptions for hunting and sled dogs that currently appear in the state’s tethering law. The AKC believes H.7045 is unreasonable and fails to respect the purposes for which hunting and sledding breeds are kept and how they may be humanely acclimated to environmental conditions prior to doing the work for which they were bred. The AKC expressed opposition to House Bill 7045 prior to the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee’s consideration of the bill on March 28.  The bill was subsequently amended to allow for such tethering of hunting, herding, and sled dogs if previously approved by law enforcement officials.  The bill passed the House in early April and is pending committee assignment in the Senate.

Rhode IslandHouse Bill 7609 would establish registration requirements for pet groomers and pet grooming facilities.  AKC GR proposed amendments including changes to definitions that would otherwise unintentionally regulate show dog handlers as professional groomers. This bill was held for further study by the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee on March 28.

Rhode IslandHouse Bill 7612 would prohibit the misrepresentation of a pet dog as a service dog to acquire any right or privilege afforded to disabled persons. AKC supports this bill, which was held for further study by the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee on March 28.

Rhode IslandHouse Bill 7167 seeks to allow domestic protection orders issued in the state to also order for the safety and welfare of all household animals and pets.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) supports H7167’s amendments to the state’s domestic violence statutes allowing for the issuance of protective orders that seek to guard pets from harm, risk of harm, or alienation.  These provisions should not impact the legal status of animals as property. The bill was considered by the House Judiciary in February, which held the bill for further study.

Rhode IslandHouse Bill 7615 would protect homeless persons in possession of a service animal, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), from being denied access to any homeless shelter in violation of the ADA or the state or federal Fair Housing Practices Act. AKC supports this bill, which was held for further study by the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee on March 28.

Rhode IslandSenate Bill 2778 would establish expanded bond for care requirements in Rhode Island.  The AKC expressed concerns to the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee prior to its April 25th hearing.  A companion bill in the House, House Bill 7973, was previously sent to study.

Rhode IslandSenate Bill 2780 would prohibit pet shops from offering to sell dogs or cats unless they were sourced from, or are displayed in cooperation with, animal shelters, dog pounds, or rescues. The AKC opposes SB 2780, which was scheduled to be considered by the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee on April 25.  A similar bill in the House, House Bill 7477, was sent to study earlier this year.

South Carolina – SB 841, among other provisions, would provide for awarding costs of care when a person is found guilty of animal cruelty; limit tethering with certain exceptions; make cruel tethering an animal cruelty violation; provide that an animal shelter may immediately turn over a litter of unidentifiable puppies or kittens four months of age or younger to any organization established for the purpose of caring for animals, so long as the litter is turned over for life-saving purposes; require magistrates to complete two hours of continuing education on animal cruelty; and provide for standards of care and inspections of animal shelters.

South Carolina   Senate Bill 3 /House Bill 3668 would provide that a person found guilty of animal cruelty may be required to pay the costs of care of an impounded animal. S 3 passed in the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

South Carolina House Bill 3009 seeks to license and regulate as a “commercial dog breeder” any person who owns 20 or more female dogs over the age of six months that are capable of reproduction and kept primarily for the purpose of breeding and selling the offspring, with certain exemptions.  The House Subcommittee on Agriculture has deferred action on this legislation.

South Carolina House Bill 3069 seeks to regulate and certify “commercial kennel operators” and “certified animal caretakers”, which could include owners and certain employees of boarding kennels and other pet care businesses.  HB 3069 has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Agriculture.

South CarolinaHouse Bill 3272,  among other provisions, seeks to make it unlawful to hunt deer with a dog unless on a fenced property of more than 1,000 acres and subject to certain provisions protecting the landowner property from damages.  H 3272 has been referred to House Committee on Agriculture.

South CarolinaSenate Bill 841, among other provisions, would: provide for awarding costs of care when a person is found guilty of animal cruelty; limit tethering with certain exceptions; make cruel tethering an animal cruelty violation; require magistrates to complete two hours of continuing education on animal cruelty; and provide for standards of care and inspections of animal shelters. S 841 passed in the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs.

Tennessee House Bill 1713 / Senate Bill 1698 would define any person who sells 25 or more dogs or cats a year as a “dealer”.  Under current law, a dealer must be licensed and is subject to regulations based on federal USDA/APHIS requirements for commercial kennels. HB 1713 was defeated in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

Tennessee –  House Bill 1909 / Senate Bill 1689 would make it an animal cruelty violation to restrain a dog with a chain, cord, tether, cable, or similar device while a natural or manmade disaster is imminent or occurring or an evacuation order is in effect. HB 1909 has been amended to add the provision that the dog must also suffer “bodily injury”, defined as “a cut, abrasion, bruise, burn or disfigurement, and physical pain or temporary illness or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.” HB 1909 has passed in House committee, and is held on the desk in Rules. SB 1689 failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 2080, which regulates certain practitioners of animal massage therapy, was enacted as Public Chapter 679.

Senate Bill 123 would provide animal shelter or rescue organizations that assist law enforcement in animal cruelty investigations or seizures with immunity from liability for civil damages by owners of animals unless their care and treatment constitutes gross negligence.  As an advocate that also seeks to protect the rights of all dog owners, the AKC is concerned with unforeseen consequences.  An amended version passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

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

WashingtonSenate Bill 6076 would specifically define behaviors that constitute animal abuse and animal sexual abuse. AKC GR is aware of the legislation and tracking it.

WashingtonSenate Bill 6623 requires pet shops to sell only cats or dogs obtained from an animal shelter, dog pound, or rescue. It also requires pet shop to spay or neuter all dogs sold and to maintain for records documenting the source of the dog or cat sold.  The bill did not make it out of committee before the legislature adjourned.

Washington Senate Bill 6624 requires any facility that uses dogs for research and receives public funding or has a tax-exempt status to offer any research animal slated for euthanasia to a rescue organization.  AKC has recommended changes that recognize that the owners of the animals and their current adoption partners should have first refusal to make re-homing decisions for any animals they are working with. This bill did not make it out of committee before the legislature adjourned.