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Legislative Successes

Legislative Successes

The following list highlights some of the AKC Government Relations’ (AKC GR) legislative successes through October 25, 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.

U.S. Congress

H.R. 4577/H.R. 302 establishes a working group to develop a domestic canine breeding network to produce high-quality explosives detection canines and to modernize behavioral, technical and medical standards for these canines. AKC aided with drafting this measure and is working with members of Congress to advance it. AKC worked with stakeholders to place this measure into the 2018 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill. The measure has passed Congress and was signed into law in early October. AKC GR is monitoring implementation of the breeding network and other aspects of the initiative.

H.R. 2 (the “Farm Bill) authorizes federal funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees implementation of the federal Animal Welfare Act and other federal animal-related regulations programs.  AKC, together with NAIA, successfully advocated for placing language in this measure that would require the government to track the number of dogs and being imported into the U.S. and their health status. AKC also supports the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS – H.R. 909/S. 322), which was has also been added to the measure. PAWS adds federal protections for the pets that are harmed as part of the commission of a crime of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. It also creates a program to provide grants to shelters to allow for certain victims to shelter with their pet.


Alabama House Bill 198, the Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act which was supported by AKC, establishes penalties for the misrepresentation of a service animal.  The bill was signed by Governor Ivey and went into effect on June 1, 2018


SB 216 and SB 217 would have restricted tethering 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 prohibited tethering for more than 30 minutes between the hours of 11pm and 6am.  There were no exceptions for humane tethering, hunting, dog events, or other safe and humane activities where someone may temporarily tether a dog.  AKC spoke with the sponsor and provided amendments to address concerns with these bills, which were ultimately held in the House Appropriations Committee.


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.


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.

Senate Bill 236 establishes the crime of sexual abuse of an animal.  The act includes language supported by AKC GR, which ensures that accepted veterinary practices; artificial insemination for reproductive purposes; accepted animal husbandry practices, including grooming, raising, breeding, or assisting with the birthing process of animals; and generally accepted practices related to the judging of breed conformation are not misinterpreted as sexual abuse.  SB 236 was signed by the governor and took effect on May 25, 2018


Massachusetts – SB 2331 (formerly SB 1155) would have expanded restrictions on dog breeders, established fines for anyone who fails to license their kennel or required them to relinquish ownership of their dogs, and created regulations for those who own eight intact female dogs.  AKC mobilized dog owners and other organizations in opposing to these bills. SB 2331 passed favorably by the Senate, but did not advance.

MassachusettsSB 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 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 is anticipated.

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.


The Howard County Commission sought to prohibit cruel and inhumane tethering in the county, but the initial proposal contained provisions that were not in the best interest of all dogs, or some responsible dog owners.  AKC GR worked closely with commission members and staff to provide amendments, many of which were incorporated into the law that ultimately passed.


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.


The City of Springfield voted to overturn the city’s breed-specific bans in an election on August 7.  AKC GR encouraged local residents to vote “no” on breed-specific policies and continues to work with local dog owners to address remaining concerns in the city’s laws.  Read more about this victory for dogs and dog owners.


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, 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 AKC’s New Hampshire federation, Dog Owners of the Granite State (DOGS) worked closely with legislators 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.

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 its state federation supported HB 1309, which was signed into law and becomes effective August 7, 2018.

New Jersey

The Red Bank Borough Council considered a proposal that would have restricted pet sales in the borough and forced pet stores to only sell pets from shelters or rescues.  AKC sent letters of concern to the council and proposed more effective solutions to address the borough’s concerns.  Local concerned business owners also spoke out in opposition.  The council voted unanimously to table the proposal.

On September 4, the Shamong Township (NJ) Committee unanimously tabled proposed changes to the Township’s animal ordinances, which included future prohibitions on kennels and breeders with five or more intact females, breeding and ownership restrictions, and a ban on retail sales at pet stores.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly opposed the proposal, and continues to work with Shamong residents and leaders and other stakeholder groups to craft reasonable, citizen-driven solutions for the Township

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 reached out to legislators, provided alerts and updates, and encouraged hobbyists to contact their Assemblyperson to express concerns with this bill, which was ultimately held.

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, and 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.

Assembly Bill 8526 as introduced would have prohibited pet stores from selling pets unless they were sourced from shelters and rescues. AKC GR spoke with the sponsor to express concerns.  The bill was amended to also permit sourcing from “licensed breeders”.  AKC GR expressed appreciation for this amendment but requested further clarification on how this would be defined. The bill was ultimately held in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

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.

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.

The Albany County Legislature considered a proposal allowing private citizens to remove animals from vehicles if believed necessary to protect the animal’s health or well-being.  AKC and its New York federation worked with the sponsor to create amendments allowing first responders, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians to enter vehicles, and hopes to use this as a model for other governing bodies seeking to pass this type of legislation.


House Bill 506 makes significant changes to the state’s regulations for high volume breeders, which include, in part, placing many current regulations by the Ohio Department of Agriculture into Ohio code, as well as other reasonable requirements regarding the care of dogs. AKC worked closely with the sponsor and a coalition of interested parties for months to ensure a reasonable and effective law. The bill was signed by the governor on June 29.  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.

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.

Rhode Island

As introduced, House Bill 7045 and Senate Bill 2055 would have removed performance-based exceptions for hunting and sled dogs that currently appear in the state’s tethering law. The AKC expressed concerns 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 amended to allow for such tethering of hunting, herding, and sled dogs if previously approved by law enforcement officials.  HB 7045 passed the House in early April.  The Senate also passed an amended version of the bill prior to the adjournment of the legislative session.  Senate Bill 2055, has also passed both houses.  Both bills now await action by the governor.

House 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.

Senate 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.

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.

South Carolina

House Bill 3009 sought to license and establish arbitrary and overly restrictive regulations for “commercial dog breeders”, defined as a person who owns 20 or more female dogs over the age of 6 months. The measure was deferred in the House Agriculture Committee.


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 282/House Bill 265 sought to require registration as a commercial breeder, inspections, and payment of unspecified fees by owners of 10 or more intact female dogs six months or older that are kept “for the purpose of breeding and selling their offspring as household pets”. AKC expressed concerns that a person who owns 10 intact females and who sells a single puppy could be regulated as a commercial dog breeder.  Further, the bill would have defined a person as a commercial dog breeder based on private property ownership.  HB265 was taken off notice in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.


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.


Senate 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 make it out of committee before the legislature adjourned.

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.