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Legislative Successes

Legislative Successes

The following list highlights some of the AKC Government Relations’ (AKC GR) legislative successes through May 22, 2018. These and other victories have been won in cooperation with AKC federations, clubs, and responsible dog owners and breeders around the country who continue to work tirelessly to promote positive canine legislation in their state and community.

To view all Legislative Alerts posted for your state in 2018, as well as the latest information on all bills being tracked by the AKC Government Relations Department, visit the 2018 Legislation Tracking page.


SB 1576 requires certain sheltering organizations to establish procedures to ensure that every reasonable effort is made to quickly and reliably return lost and strayed animals to their owners, authorizes a court to prohibit certain offenders from owning or having contact with animals, and revises penalties.  AKC supported this bill, which was signed by the governor.


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 Senate.  AKC worked closely with the Georgia Canine Coalition to pass this resolution.


SB 460 sought to impose numerical whelping limits and other vague and arbitrary restrictions.  AKC issued a legislative alert and reached out to the committee with concerns.  The bill was ultimately held.

SB 470 sought to prohibit pet shops located in Massachusetts from selling dogs and cats, unless they offer only dogs and cats owned by public or private charitable nonprofit animal shelters, humane societies, or animal rescue organizations for adoption.  AKC issued a legislative alert and reached out to the committee with concerns.  The bill was ultimately held.


House 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 signed into law on April 30.


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 local breeders to express concerns, worked with legislative staff on alternative language, and provided official testimony. The bill was ultimately held in committee.

New Hampshire

Senate Bill 569 as introduced would have imposed potentially unconstitutional bond-for-care requirements for those charged with cruelty and significantly expanded the state’s definition of ‘commercial kennel’ to regulate non-commercial breeders and owners.  AKC and Dog Owners of the Granite State worked closely to get a significantly-amended bill passed that addressed concerns.  The bill ultimately died in conference committee.  Read AKC’s alert for more information and background on this SB 569.

New York

The Onondaga County Legislature had been considering two proposals that would impact a dog owner’s ability to keep their dog outside.  AKC, local clubs, and the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State worked with the legislature on numerous clarifying amendments, many of which were incorporated into one of the proposals.  Neither proposal, however, ultimately passed, as the legislature determined that state law was sufficient to address concerns.  Read more about this victory for local dog owners.

Rhode Island

House Bill 7045 and Senate Bill 2055 sought to repeal an exemption that allows hunting and sled dogs to be tethered outdoors in cold weather.  While the proposal may have been well-intentioned, the one-size-fits-all proposal failed to consider sound animal husbandry practices and the specialized needs of hunting and sled dogs and their owners.  AKC expressed concern with these bills, which were held for further study.

HB 7477 sought to require pet shops to sell only cats or dogs obtained from an animal shelter, dog pound, or animal rescue.   The American Kennel Club (AKC) opposes H7477.  AKC contacted the committee and issued legislative alerts expressing concerns with the bill as introduced.  The bill was held for further study.


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. AKC issued legislative alerts and reached out to the committee with concerns.  HB 1713 was defeated in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

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. AKC reached out to the committee with concerns on certain provisions in the bill, which was amended in part but ultimately held.


Senate Bill 253 would have amended the state’s tethering laws to prohibit any dog from being tethered outside unattended when the temperature falls below 32 degrees or when the dog is exposed to winds of over 40 miles per hour, rain, hail, or snow.  Exceptions are if the dog is provided an approved shelter.  The AKC suggested an amendment that would protect humane tethering and dog events, while still protecting the health and safety of dogs.  The bill failed to pass prior to the end of the legislative session.


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.


House Bill 646 would have expanded the definitions of “adequate shelter” and “adequate space” to include provisions regarding tethering. The bill listed conditions when tethering would not constitute a legal “shelter” and therefore not be permitted. These included when an owner if not on the property where the dog is tethered, when the temperature is at or above 85 or below 32 degrees, when there is heat advisory or when the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning.  AKC expressed concerns that the bill was arbitrary, did not adequately address the needs of all dogs, and did not allow for humane and accepted tethering.  The bill was held in the House Agriculture Committee.

Senate Bill 872 as introduced would have limited the circumstances in which a person may tether a dog outside.  It would only allowed tethering during certain times of day, and within a specific temperature range.  After comments from AKC, its Virginia federation, and other organizations, the bill was amended to remove the time restrictions and to exclude certain hunting activities, but AKC GR and the federation continued to ask for further amendments to protect other AKC events and temporary humane tethering.  The bill was ultimately held in the House Agriculture committee.