The American Kennel Club would like to answer some specific concerns that people have raised with regard to the new version of California Assembly Bill 1634. We would also like to encourage people to read the bill closely as it has been changed dramatically in the last few weeks. Please click here to read the latest amended version of AB 1634.
AB 1634 Will NOT:
- Make it illegal to own an intact animal or require owners of intact animals to qualify for and purchase a special permit.
AB 1634 Will NOT:
- Require owners to spay/neuter based on unverified complaints.
AB 1634 Will NOT:
- Require handlers to purchase special permits for out-of-state animals.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the latest version of CA AB 1634 and AKC's neutral position.
1. I don't license my dogs because I am over the limit in my area, how will this bill affect me?
- The American Kennel Club opposes limit laws because they do not solve animal control problems. AKC works to oppose limits and will assist in efforts to repeal these laws. However, we do believe that individuals should be in compliance with local or state laws until or unless they are repealed.
2. Did AKC propose the amendments?
- AKC did not draft or propose amendments. We were able to review amendments drafted by the author and staff members from the Local Government and Judiciary Committees. It is AKC's belief that the amendments protect responsible dog owners by removing the complaint section and instead focusing enforcement efforts on those who fail to comply with existing laws.
3. How will this bill affect the ability of local governments to enact more stringent requirements?
- AB 1634 will not change or enhance the ability of local governments to enact stricter laws. Right now local governments may enact stricter laws and they will continue to be able to do so whether or not AB 1634 becomes law.
- All local laws continue to apply and dog owners can be cited for violations.
- AKC will continue to oppose local ordinances such as those proposed in places like Santa Barbara and Huntington Beach which attempt to require responsible pet owners to spay/neuter their dogs or obtain special, expensive permits.
4. Doesn't AB 1634 allow my neighbor to file a complaint which could lead to me being required to spay/neuter my dog?
- No. The previous version of the bill contained language which would have allowed owners to be fined on the basis of a potentially false complaint. That language was entirely removed from the bill by the August 12th amendments.
5. Does section 30804.8, “A person who owns or possesses within the state any intact dog that is properly licensed, as required by law, but whose dog is at large may be cited, and, if cited, shall pay a civil penalty as provided in this section,” make it illegal to own an intact animal?
- No. This language was inserted at the request of the Judiciary Committee staff to clarify that owners of licensed intact dogs can still be cited if their dog is impounded. It does NOT make it illegal to own an intact animal.
6. If my dog goes to California with a handler would it be subject to these rules?
- No. A dog that is with a handler for the purposes of being shown is considered to be in California for lawful purposes. If proof was requested, a handler could provide a copy of the entry acknowledgment.
7. Will a special permit be necessary for people who live in another state but are visiting California for a show, event or other lawful purpose?
- AB 1634 does not require any sort of permit or license for out-of-state dog owners. In fact, AB 1634 specifically says that the bill does not apply to dogs whose owners are not California residents. The bill will not impact anyone who is in California for a show, training or even a simple vacation.
8. What does “if the owner provides proof, as determined by the local jurisdiction or its authorized local animal control agency, that the dog is temporarily in California for training, showing, or any other lawful reason” mean?
- It allows local jurisdictions to accept many different items as proof of residency in another state or country. For example an out-of-state driver's license, a passport with an address in another country, or state identification cards would be acceptable. It is not possible to list every form of identification a person might present so this section allows local authorities to accept any document they deem valid.
9. If AB 1634 passes couldn't the legislature simply change it later to say that after one impoundment or citation for an animal not being licensed a dog would be required to be spayed/neutered?
- No. Any change would require a whole new bill which would have to proceed through the entire legislative process. AKC would oppose a bill that provided mandatory spay/neuter on a first offense because there is no pattern to prove an owner is irresponsible.
10. Why accept amendments and change the AKC position to Neutral at this time?
- To oppose AB 1634 as it is currently drafted, AKC would be in the position of defending folks who repeatedly break the law. We feel it is AKC's role to defend responsible dog owners who are in compliance with the laws. To maintain credibility we can not continue to oppose AB 1634 in its current form since it only affects those who are breaking the law.
- AKC believes that the most recent version of the bill protects dog owners who act in a responsible and lawful fashion by removing the easily abused complaint language that was included in the August 5th version of the bill.
- While AKC supports responsible dog ownership, we cannot support the bill entirely because we do not believe there is a need for it, and believe that decisions about spaying and neutering should be made by owners and their veterinarians. AKC has adopted a neutral stance because we do not oppose penalties for those who break the laws, but we don't believe this bill will be effective in addressing animal control issues.
11. Does this version of AB 1634 remove owners' right to due process?
- No. Due process provisions exist inherently in the law, it is not necessary for them to be spelled out specifically in the bill.
12. Shouldn't we oppose any version of AB 1634 and anything authored by Assemblyman Levine?
- AKC believes that every bill should be judged solely on the basis of the language of the bill and what impact it would have on responsible dog owners. The latest version of AB 1634 is very narrow in scope, addressing only those individuals who repeatedly break existing laws.
13. What impact will AB 1634 have on dog events in California?
- None. The bill does not affect dog shows or any type of event, nor will it impact those who travel to shows from other states or countries.
The American Kennel Club would like to answer some specific concerns that people have raised with…