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The Washington House Committee on Public Safety will consider HB 2317, legislation concerning animal welfare on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. The bill will positively amend Washington code and is primarily supported by the American Kennel Club, with one request for a clarifying amendment regarding ear cropping and tail docking. The changes to existing law that the bill will make include:

  • not labeling a dog as dangerous solely based on its breed;
  • requiring actual harm to an animal from heat or cold to occur before animal abuse or cruelty charges can be made;
  • specifically exempting veterinary breeding practices from animal sexual abuse charges;
  • removing from existing Washington law the defense of economic hardship for charges of animal abandonment; and
  • allowing tail docking, ear cropping and devocalization to only be performed by licensed veterinarians. As written, it would only allow these procedures to be performed under anesthesia.  AKC and local veterinarians are requesting an amendment to clarify that not all procedures are the same.  While anesthesia should be required in many cases, there are certain procedures that may be done without anesthesia, or with local anesthesia (for example, it is inappropriate and dangerous to put a young puppy under full anesthesia for tail docking).

We would encourage Washington dog owners to contact the committee prior to tomorrow’s hearing, request the clarifying amendment, and support the positive portions of this legislation.

To Contact the House Committee on Public Safety:

Roger Goodman, Chair

Sherry Appleton, Vice Chair

Lauren Davis, Vice Chair
(360) 786-7910

Tina L. Orwall

John Lovick

Mike Pellicotti
(360) 786-7898

Brad Klippert, Ranking Minority Member

Robert Sutherland, Ranking Minority Member

Jenny Graham
(360) 786-7962

Dan Griffey
(360) 786-7966

To contact the bill’s sponsor:

Tina L. Orwall

AKC Government Relations is continuing to closely monitor this proposal.  For questions or more information, contact