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Issues at the City, County, and Metropolitan Levels, and in US Territories

The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to assist dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can’t help unless we are aware of the proposal. Please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or when new laws are discussed or introduced in your city or county. We will provide you with resources and tools to help defend the rights of dog owners and support responsible dog ownership in your community.

Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:

FL, Manatee County – The county Board of Commissioners enacted an ordinance that prohibits a “commercial establishment,” defined as a business that is open to the public, whether by appointment or during reoccurring business hours, from engaging in the sale of a dog or cat. This bans sales of dogs and cats in pet stores and potentially bans pet sales by any entity that currently or in the future is required to obtain a business license. The ordinance also prohibits the “display” of any live dog or cat on an outdoor area open to the public, such as parks or recreation areas, and on public common areas. It is unclear if this could be enforced to prohibit AKC events and public education activities with dogs in certain locations. AKC GR issued legislative alerts, submitted a letter of opposition, and testified remotely.

IA, Muscatine – The city of Muscatine, Iowa is considering changes to an existing ban on the keeping of pit bulls. The city council directed staff during a March 5 meeting to prepare changes to the cities ‘Keeping of Pit Bulls’ ordinance. The city council heard that report at the October 14 council meeting and will take public comment at an October 28 meeting at 7:00pm. AKC is urging city council to repeal the ban on the keeping of certain dog breeds that has been in effect since 2003. Dog owners and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting and encourage city council to repeal the breed ban.  Read more.

KY, Henderson County – Amendments to the county animal ordinance were discussed at a special called meeting of the Henderson County (KY) Fiscal Court on August 9, 2021. Among other expected provisions, the proposed ordinance will address dangerous animals and the safety of dogs left enclosed in hot cars. AKC GR issued a legislative alert urging residents to participate in the legislative process.  

LA, St. Landry Parish – A proposed animal ordinance, among other provisions, would have negated the privacy rights of animal owners and animal-related businesses; defined any owner of two intact animals of the same species as a “breeder” and defined any person who sells, donates, or exchanges a single animal as a “dealer/dealer breeder” subject to restrictions, regulations, and permitting costs of up to $5,000 a year; established certain overreaching definitions and requirements regarding animal care; and enacted a problematic definition of and requirements for “potentially dangerous animals.” AKC GR sent a letter of concern and issued a legislative alert. The ordinance was tabled at the June 16 Parish Council meeting, and as of publication, has not been brought back up.

ME, Yarmouth – AKC GR posted an alert regarding proposed changes to the town of Yarmouth’s dog ordinances.  A letter with recommendations was submitted to the town council by AKC GR.  One issue identified is original draft only required an officer to make a reasonable effort, “if possible” to notify the owner of an impounded dog.  AKC GR has requested striking the phrase “if possible” and adding the following, “Where an owner is not known, all animal shelter facilities shall inspect for tattoos, ear tags, or other permanent forms of positive identification and shall scan for a microchip upon admission and prior to transferring ownership of an unclaimed or abandoned animal.” The draft proposal inserted AKC GR’s recommendations and public hearings to review and vote upon the draft is taking place at the council’s October 7, and 21, meetings.

Conshohocken, PA – The Conshohocken Borough Council will be considering an amendment to their animal control ordinance that will prohibit off-leash animals within the Borough except on the private property of the person in possession of said animal or where specific permission has otherwise been granted to be on the private property of another.  AKC GR has sent a letter asking Council to consider less restrictive language that allows for dogs to not be considered running at large if they are under verbal command, at heel, or beside and under control by a responsible person. 

SC, Horry County The Horry County Council considered proposed amendments to the animal control law on August 17. As introduced, the proposal included problematic animal care and shelter requirements, a ban on sales of dogs and cats in pet stores, vague language that could ban sales of dogs and cats by certain individuals and breeders, unlimited inspections of breeders based on an allegation of a violation absent probable cause, a definition of “animal rescue organization” that would exclude rescues affiliated with AKC clubs, and other problematic sections. According to county staff, the proposal was authored in part by representatives of HSUS and Best Friends Animal Society. AKC GR submitted a letter of concern and issued a legislative alert. Based on stakeholder comments, the proposal was returned to the public safety committee for additional consideration. Subsequently, AKC GR discussed numerous problematic sections of the proposal with county personnel, expressed support for certain positive provisions, and submitted recommended revisions.