This week, the Delaware General Assembly continued to advance legislation seeking to regulate barking dogs and provide immunity for animal cruelty reporting. Below is the latest information, as well as action you can take today on these bills:
House Bill 124 – Regulating Barking Dogs
House Bill 124 would prohibit dogs from barking continuously for more than 15 minutes, or more than 30 minutes total in a day.
This version contains a number of exemptions requested by AKC to protect all dogs and their responsible owners, but concerns remain. Further, Delaware’s Office of Animal Welfare, whose officers would be tasked with enforcing the law, opposes the bill (See previous alert)
What You Can Do:
Contact the House Appropriations Committee and your State Representative. Let them know that you believe that this bill seeks to make barking dogs, a local nuisance issue not an animal control issue, and does little to protect dogs as it has the real potential of tying up Animal Control on trivial matters because someone is annoyed that their neighbor’s dog barks instead of pursing real animal abuse.
- Contact the members of the House Appropriations Committee (click on members’ names for contact information) and ask that given the Office of Animal Control opposes the bill it should not be advanced to the full House.
- Contact your State Representative and ask them to encourage the Appropriations Committee to hold the bill, and also to oppose House Bill 124 should it appear on a House voting agenda.
To find the contact information, click here and then on your Representative’s name. You can also find the contact information by typing your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box on the home page of the AKC Legislative Action Center and view the name and information for your State Representative.
Senate Bill 71- Immunity for Animal Cruelty Reporting
Senate Bill 71 passed the full House of Representatives and now goes to Governor John Carney for his signature. This bill would provide immunity to people who, in good faith, report suspected animal cruelty from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise exist as a result of making the report.
The bill would also require law-enforcement agencies, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and the Department of Justice to report suspected animal cruelty to the Office of Animal Welfare if it is discovered while performing their responsibilities in child welfare cases.
While AKC certainly appreciates the intentions of the bill, and strongly believes that those who treat animals in a cruel manner should be held accountable and punished accordingly, we remain concerned that this bill could provide an avenue for excessive, frivolous, or even persecutorial reporting by – punishing responsible owners and creating significant burdens on the state. Additionally, the reporting requirement placed on official agents not qualified to do so could serve to either cause abuse to be reported where it does not exist, or the failure to report abuse where it does exist.
Contact the Governor: Those wishing to contact Governor Carney’s office to comment on the bill are encouraged to do so by using any of the contact methods listed at this link.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor legislation in Delaware impacting dog owners. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.