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Taking Command June 2018

State Issues June 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 State Parks to post on its website details of where dogs are allowed within the state park system. The bill has passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

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 removed 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 passed the Senate Health Committee on June 25.

CaliforniaAssembly Bill 1780 would enable the State Public Health Officer to investigate reports of outbreaks of communicable diseases in humans 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. After being amended, this bill passed out of the Assembly and is now in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

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 has passed out of the Assembly and will be considered by the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development on July 2.

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 245 will also require a pet store operator to provide the adoption policies of the organization that supplied each animal. This bill was passed out the Assembly and passed the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development on June 19.  It is now pending a vote by the full Senate.

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 is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Delaware – Senate Bills 216 and 217 would restrict tethering in the state and charge someone with cruelty who keeps their dogs outside when the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit unless an outdoor shelter is provided.  It also prohibits tethering for more than 30 minutes between the hours of 11pm and 6am.  There are no exceptions for humane tethering, hunting, dog events, or other safe and humane activities where someone may temporarily tether a dog.  AKC has provided amendments to address concerns with these bills, which are pending on the Senate floor.

Idaho 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 – SB 2380, 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 full House and Senate. Read more about this legislation.

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, passed in the House and Senate and was presented to the Secretary of State.

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 create 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 – House Bill 4565 (formerly Senate Bills 2347, 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 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 when received in the House.  The House Ways and Means Committee subsequently amended the bill, which was then renumbered again to HB 4565.  HB 4565 passed the House in early June.

Massachusetts – House Bill 3212 seeks to create consumer protections for pet store purchasers, mandates extensive shelter record keeping 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. 

Michigan –
House 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 House.

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 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 A781 be amended to require courts to determine a defendant’s ability to pay.  The bill was subsequently amended in line with AKC’s recommendation and passed the full Assembly on June 21. 

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 2318 and Senate Bill 1860 seek to provide immunity from civil and criminal liability for those who rescue an unattended animal from a motor vehicle under inhumane conditions.  The AKC expressed concerns that the bills failed to provide any recourse for the owner if an animal was not actually in danger or to protect owners from liability if an animal escapes or harms someone as a result of being removed from the vehicle.  An amended version of A2318 was passed by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on May 17.  An original version of S1860 passed the Senate Economic Growth Committee on May 31.  S1860 was subsequently amended twice on the floor of the Senate, where it remains pending.

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 York –
Assembly Bill 284 would have required licensing, inspections, and other regulations for pet grooming facilities. This included 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 have been permitted to allow the groomer to fix the issue before a fine is issued.  It was ultimately held on the Assembly floor.

New York –
Assembly Bill 465 sought to change 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. AKC GR encouraged hobbyists to contact their Assemblyperson to express concerns with this bill, which was ultimately held.

New York – Assembly Bill 4225 would have prohibited insurance providers from refusing or canceling coverage or increasing insurance premiums based solely on the breed of dog owned by the policyholder. AKC supported this bill, which passed committee but was ultimately held on the Assembly floor.

New York – Assembly Bill 4956/Senate Bill 7112, supported by the AKC, allows companion animals to be permitted on public transportation services administered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey when a state of emergency is declared.  Priority will be given to service animals, as all dogs must be on a leash or in an appropriate crate. These bills were approved by both the Assembly and Senate and are expected to be transmitted to the governor soon.  If ultimately signed, these bills will mirror ones passed by the New Jersey Legislature and allow those who use this public transportation between the two states to leave safely with their pets during a state of emergency.

New York – Assembly Bill 8526 as introduced, would have prohibited 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 expressed appreciation for this amendment but requested further clarification on how this is defined. The bill was ultimately held in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

New York – Senate Bill 1256 would have made it a crime to steal a pet from an owner’s or lawful custodian’s private property.  AKC GR supported 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 passed the Senate but was held in the Assembly Rules Committee.

New York – Senate Bill 1902 would have made 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 have required the seller to pay for veterinary costs for the life of the dog.  AKC GR provided recommended amendments to ensure these provisions apply to significant issues that are present at the time of sale. The bill was ultimately held in the Senate Rules Committee. 

Ohio – Constitutional Ballot Initiative. In the fall of 2017, HSUS began to collect 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 sought to make vague and problematic humane standards part of the Ohio constitution. On June 7, HSUS announced they were suspending the campaign in light of the passage of HB 506.  AKC GR also learned that the campaign was struggling to collect the needed number of signatures.  We thank all those who worked to spread the word about the dangers of this measure and encouraged fellow dog owners and exhibitors to not sign the petitions. 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 and was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee on June 26.  A similar measure, Senate Bill 182, passed the Senate on June 6. AKC provided the sponsor with a letter of support for SB 182.  This bill is pending in the House Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee.

OhioHouse Bill 506 makes 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 worked closely with the sponsor and a coalition of interested parties to ensure a reasonable and effective law. The bill passed the General Assembly on June 6 and will soon be pending with the governor.  As a result, efforts by HSUS to place a restrictive and dangerous ballot measure on the November 2018 ballot have been withdrawn, which is a significant success for Ohio dog owners and breeders. 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 passed the House State and Local Government Committee on May 22.

Rhode Island – As introduced, House Bill 7045 would have removed performance-based exceptions for hunting and sled dogs that currently appear in the state’s tethering law. The AKC expressed concerns to the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee that H.7045 was unreasonable and failed 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 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.  The Senate also passed a subsequently amended version of the bill prior to the adjournment of the legislative session.   A companion bill, Senate Bill 2055, has also passed both houses.  Both bills now await action by Governor Raimondo.

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 expressed support of this bill, which passed both the House and Senate and awaits gubernatorial action.

Rhode IslandSenate Bill 2780 sought to 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 opposed SB 2780, which was sent to study by the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee in April.  A similar bill, House Bill 7477, passed by the House, but failed to gain traction in the Senate prior to adjournment.

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.