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A resolution has just been introduced in the California State Assembly that declares the Assembly’s intention to only support “sensible and humane therapeutic veterinary procedures for companion animals.”  As defined, this could mean the Assembly opposes such procedures as ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, among other veterinary surgical procedures.

It is important to note that resolutions are not the same as laws, and simply state the intent of the legislative body.  However, this is an important opportunity for California dog owners to contact the author and your State Assemblyperson, ask them to oppose HR 61, and let them know why these procedures are humane, safe, and important for your breed.


As introduced, House Resolution 61 states that the State Assembly “is committed to sensible and humane therapeutic veterinary procedures for companion animals.”  It further includes the following declarations:

  • “Companion animal owners and guardians should only be offered humane, therapeutic procedures”
  • Urges veterinarians to work with their clients and offer options to help them “make the most humane decisions.”
  • Declares that companion animals “must not be subjected to surgical procedures except where they provide treatment for physical medical conditions and anatomical pathology, or to prevent overpopulation…”

AKC believes that no animal should ever be treated in an inhumane or cruel manner, and those who mistreat and harm animals should be held accountable.

However, as written in HR 61, a “nontherapeutic purpose” is broadly defined as “any purpose other than to address an existing or recurring illness, disease, injury, birth defect, or abnormal condition that compromises an animal’s health.”  This could be considered to include ear cropping, tail docking, dewclaw removal, surgical insemination, or other procedures that are safe, humane, and important for certain breeds.

What You Can Do:

It is important for California dog owners and clubs to do the following today:

  • Contact the author, Assemblymember Alex Lee, and respectfully express your concerns with HR 61. Let him know that you agree that all animals should be treated in a humane and safe manner, and explain how the broad definitions in HR 61 could encompass procedures that are important for your dogs/breed.  In particular, if you reside or participate in dog events in his district, which includes parts of San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, and Fremont, be sure to mention that when contacting his office.

    Submit comments directly to the author’s office by clicking here and following the instructions to create an account and upload a letter, or visit for more contact information.

  • Contact your State Assemblyperson. Let them know you are constituent and respectfully ask them to oppose HR 61.  Politely educate them about procedures that may be included in this resolution that are important for your dogs/breed. Use the form provided or type in your address at this link to find the name and contact information for your California State Assemblyperson.

AKC Government Relations will continue to provide updates as they are available.  For more information, contact AKC GR at