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Taking Command May 2018

State Issues May 2018

News from the State Capitols

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 the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

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. 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 the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

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 has passed out of the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

CaliforniaSenate Bill 911 would increase the penalties for intentionally injuring a law enforcement dog or horse. This bill has twice failed to make it out of committee and is likely dead for the session.

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. The bill was placed in the Appropriations Suspense File, but is scheduled for a hearing in late May.

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 – House Bill 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 full House and Senate Agriculture Committee. It is pending on a second reading calendar.  Read more about this legislation.

Illinois – House Bill 4191 would allow private citizens to remove dogs from cars if the person believes that the dog is imminent danger in a locked car.  The person is required to contact first responders either prior to entering the vehicle or as soon as possible thereafter.  As amended in the Senate, the bill also requires first responders to seek immediate veterinary care for the animal if necessary. AKC GR and its Illinois Federation proposed amendments to address some remaining concerns with the bill.  Local animal control officials, veterinarians and sportsmen have also expressed concerns. HB 4191 has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Criminal Law Committee.

LouisianaHouse Bill 121, which seeks to restrict tethering of animals, would require that a dog must be tethered using a restraint no less than ten feet in length or no less than five times the length of the dog’s body from tip of nose to base of tail, whichever is greater, with certain exceptions. HB 121 has passed in the House and in Senate committee and is pending a vote in the Senate.

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 and Senate.

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 has passed in both chambers and sent to the governor for signature.

LouisianaSenate Bill 160 prohibits tying or tethering a dog or cat in a designated emergency area during a declared flood or hurricane emergency. SB 160 has been signed by the governor and becomes law on August 1.

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 – 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 canceling or covering based on the breed of dog kept on the insured premises. SB 2332 has passed the Senate, and has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

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.

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 of Representatives.

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 was signed into law on April 30.

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.

MissouriHouse 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 would 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 on a calendar in the Senate.

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 (DOGS), AKC’s New Hampshire federation, support HB 1309. The bill has passed both the House and Senate and awaits action by Governor Chris Sununu.

New Hampshire –
Senate Bill 569 initially sought to expand the state’s definition of ‘commercial kennel’ and impose bond for care requirements for those charged with cruelty. Both the AKC and DOGS strongly opposed the bill as introduced. An amended version of the bill passed the Senate.   Both AKC and DOGS subsequently supported SB 569 as amended by the House Environment and Agriculture Committee, which was approved by the House on May 2.  A conference committee failed to agree on a final version Sb 569, effectively ending its consideration for the year.  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 YorkAssembly 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 has been pending a vote by the Senate since February.  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. It, along with a similar measure, Senate Bill 182, are pending in the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee. AKC provided the sponsor with a letter of support for SB 182.

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 passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on May 22nd.  Read more about this bill.

OhioHouse Bill 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 has been assigned to the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee.  A companion bill, Senate Bill 2055, was scheduled for consideration by the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee on May 23rd.

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 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 May 23rd 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 sent to study by the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee in April.  A similar bill in the House, House Bill 7477, passed by the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee in early May.

South Carolina   Senate Bill 3/House Bill 3668 would have provided 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 but was not heard in the House Committee on Judiciary prior to adjournment.

South Carolina House Bill 3009 sought 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 deferred action on this legislation for the session.

South Carolina House Bill 3069 sought to regulate and certify “commercial kennel operators” and “certified animal caretakers”, which could have included owners and certain employees of boarding kennels and other pet care businesses. HB 3069 did not receive a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Agriculture prior to adjournment.

South CarolinaHouse Bill 3272, among other provisions, sought 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 did not receive a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture prior to adjournment.

South Carolina – Senate Bill 841, among other provisions, would have provided 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. SB 841 passed in the Senate and was not heard by the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs prior to adjournment.

Senate Bill 123 sought to 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 expressed concerns with unforeseen consequences. An amended version passed the Senate, but failed to gain traction in the House prior to adjournment.

WashingtonHouse Bill 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.