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Taking Command August 2018

State Issues August 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 require California State Parks to post on its website details of where dogs are allowed within the state park system. AKC GR sent a letter in support of this measure, which has passed the Assembly and was amended and passed in the Senate. The bill was returned to the Assembly for reconsideration.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 1776 is a pilot project for San Bernardino County that will 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 removes most civil liabilities from both emergency medical personnel and their agencies for harm incurred during transport. The bill has passed out of the Assembly and the Senate and has been enrolled.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 1780 would give the State Public Health Officer the option to monitor reports of outbreaks of communicable diseases affecting only humans in other states that were caused by imported dogs or cats, and prohibit those animals from being imported into California. The bill passed the Assembly and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file.

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 shelters, 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 has passed out of the Assembly and the Senate and has been enrolled.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 2445 would require a pet store operator to maintain records documenting the health, status, and disposition of each animal for at least two years 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 2445 will also require a pet store operator to provide the adoption policies of the organization that supplied each animal. This bill was signed by the governor. The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

California – Senate Bill 1024 would allow the court to order anyone convicted of certain animal abuse crimes to undergo a mental health evaluation. After the mental health evaluation, the court could then mandatory mental health counseling. Those convicted of animal abuse and ordered to undergo counseling would be required to pay for the counseling on a sliding scale. After being amended, the bill passed out of the Assembly and was sent to the Senate where it has been placed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file.

Idaho Senate Bill 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 – Public Act 100-0870, initiated by AKC’s Illinois federation and 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 unanimously passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor in August 2018.

Massachusetts Senate Bill 2331 (formerly Senate Bill 1155) would have expanded restrictions on dog breeders, establish fines for anyone who fails to license their kennel or require them to relinquish ownership of their dogs, and created regulations for those who own eight intact female dogs. The AKC 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, but did not advance further. Read AKC’s legislative alert for more information on these bills.

Massachusetts – Senate Bill 2347 (formerly Senate Bills 2332 and 1159) featured many provisions, including increases in fines for violations of dog control laws and licensing and sales requirements. It also contains provisions that restrict insurance companies from canceling or covering based on the breed of dog kept on the insured premises. As SB 2332, the bill passed the Senate. The bill was renumbered as SB 2347 and the House Ways and Means Committee amended the bill in the form of House Bill 4565.  HB 4565 passed the House in early June, but the Senate failed to concern in the House amendments.  On July 31, a conference committee substituted a new draft.

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. 

Massachusetts – House Bill 4647 sought to provide tax credits for individuals who adopt certain dogs from a shelter.  While appreciating the bill’s intent, AKC expressed concerns that H.4647 would result in unintended consequences, including incentivizing a larger number of out-of-state dog imports into Massachusetts for the express purpose of supplying shelters with animals.  The Joint Revenue Committee considered HB 4647 on July 17.  The bill was sent to study and no further action was taken.

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.

MichiganHouse Bills 5916 and 5917 would regulate pet stores and allow them only to source animals from shelters, rescues, or qualified breeders. AKC GR and its Michigan federation are working with stakeholders on clarifying amendments. The bills have passed the House Agriculture Committee and are pending a vote by the full House.

Montana –The Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council considered a proposal that would have banned the use of all state lands for dog field trials and testing. The legislators heard the many voices of dog people who explained how such a move would harm their activities. Those who participate in Montana field trials also explained how they intentionally avoid areas where animals are nesting, etc.  AKC worked with local clubs and communicated to the council our concerns and alternative solutions.  The council tabled the proposal and it will not move forward.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 781 would establish a process for recovering the cost of caring for domestic companion animals involved in animal cruelty investigations. The AKC is concerned that A781 does not require courts to consider whether the defendant is able to pay, and also that costs are a lien against the animal until all payments have been made. To ensure that individuals are not erroneously deprived of their property, the AKC recommended that A 781 be amended to require courts to determine a defendant’s ability to pay.  The bill was amended in line with AKC’s recommendation. It passed the Assembly on June 21 and is pending in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

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

New Jersey – Senate Bill 1209 would prohibit a person from performing, or causing to be performed, the declawing or flexor tendonectomy procedure by any means on a cat or other animal, unless the procedure is deemed necessary for a therapeutic purpose by a licensed veterinarian. Those found to violate this provision would be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, a term of imprisonment of up to six months, or both.  A violator would also be subject to a civil penalty of between $500 and $2,000.  The AKC expressed concerns to the Senate Economic Growth Committee that S.1209 may impact the valid, humane, and common veterinary procedure of dewclaw removal on dogs, and requested the bill be amended to specifically provide an exception for that procedure. The bill passed that committee and was re-referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. 

New Jersey – S 2820 seeks to direct the New Jersey Department of Health to develop standards and to adopt rules and regulations for the “appropriate” breeding of dogs in both commercial and residential settings. The bill also seeks to prohibit the breeding of dogs if a person does not have a current USDA license for dog breeding.  Violations would result in the forfeiture of any dog and its offspring in the person’s possession and civil penalties of up to $2,000. The AKC is deeply concerned with this bill’s extremist provisions and its lack of understanding of the practical availability and necessity of federal licensing.  AKC GR has reached out to the sponsor and is working with grassroots leaders and key contacts to oppose S 2820 should it gain any traction. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. It is not scheduled for a hearing.

Ohio – House Bill 263 and Senate Bill 182 allow dogs in outdoor eating establishments with permission from the business owner. AKC supported these bills, which allow responsible dog owners more opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities with their well-behaved pets. HB 263 was signed by the governor in August 2018.

Ohio – HB 539 would declare the Labrador Retriever the State Dog.  AKC GR is working with the sponsor in support of this measure, which has passed the House State and Local Government 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 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.  AKC GR expressed concerns with the bill as introduced and provided more reasonable alternatives.  The bill did not advance 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 advance before the legislature adjourned.