The Boise City Council is requesting public feedback on a number of changes to the city’s animal control ordinance until March 30, 2021.
This “kitchen sink” bill contains over 40 pages of changes, including requiring written permission from neighbors to keep four dogs on your property, allowing private citizens to remove dogs from cars, the potential to lose your dogs during a cruelty or potentially dangerous dog hearing due to inability to pay for long-term boarding – even if later found not guilty, and pet store restrictions.
AKC’s concerns include the following:
- Neighbor Permission, Other Dog Ownership Restrictions – Current law requires a noncommercial kennel license for four dogs or cats (or any combination up to 4 dogs and cats).
This proposal would require a number of new items when applying for this permit, including “the written consent … of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of all the persons in possession of premises within a radius of one hundred feet (100′) of the premises upon which the noncommercial kennel is to be maintained.” The cost of the license will depend on the method used to obtain the signatures (either obtaining an official map and signature form from the city and going door to door, or asking the city to mail out notices to the neighbors).
Dogs under 4 months of age will not be counted when determining the license fee, but the proposal does not allow licensees to have more than 10 animals total on their premises – and it is unclear if the age is included in this limit.
Talking points: AKC does not support ownership limits, as the quantity of animals does not automatically equate to the quality of care or the ability of the owner to be a responsible neighbor. For more talking points and printable handouts, visit AKC’s key issue page at akcgr.org/limit
- Allowing any individual to remove dogs from a private vehicle – No one wants to see an animal kept in a vehicle when its health and safety are at risk. However, there are many concerns with allowing any individual to remove an animal from another person’s private vehicle – including endangering the safety of dogs and individuals.
In addition, there is no recourse for the owner if it turns out the dog was not in danger – and the owner would still be responsible for all expenses for the impoundment and care of the animal.
Talking Points: AKC strongly believes that no dog should be left in a vehicle if its comfort, health, and safety is in danger. In the same way, laws addressing this issue must provide a fair and balanced approach to protect the health of dogs, and also the rights of responsible dog owners. For more talking points and printable handouts, visit AKC’s key issue page at akcgr.org/dogsinvehicles
- Possible Sterilization for Potentially Dangerous Dogs – AKC appreciates that in this proposal, the current law regarding vicious dogs is stricken, and new language is added to differentiate between “potentially dangerous” and “dangerous” dogs. Under this proposal, a dog is considered potentially dangerous if it bites without provocation and does not cause serious injury, or if the dog has previously been designated as “at risk” under state law.
AKC also appreciates that the potentially dangerous dog designation may be removed after 2 years if there are no further incidents. Our concern, however, is that there are many requirements for dogs that are potentially dangerous – including possible sterilization.
Talking Points: We appreciate that the sterilization penalty is not mandatory in all cases. However, it does remain as an optional penalty, and could be used in cases where it is not appropriate, such as a puppy’s one-time minor bite. This is particularly inappropriate since the “potentially dangerous” designation may be removed after two years. Instead, AKC recommends that owners of potentially dangerous dogs be required to go complete a basic manners training course such as AKC Canine Good Citizen (or similar) to correct the behavior before it becomes a significant issue.
- “Bond for Care” for Potentially Dangerous/Dangerous and Cruelty Appeal Hearings – If a dog is declared dangerous or potentially dangerous or signs of abuse have been found, the city may (but is not required to) impound the animal. If no probable cause is found, then the animal must be returned to the owner.
If probable cause is found and a determination is made, then the owner has the right to appeal the decision. However, if the owner chooses to appeal the decision, they must pay the costs of care of the animal during the appeals process. If a payment is missed, then the animal is automatically forfeited to the city.
Talking Points: AKC appreciates that during the initial hearing, the animal must be returned if no probable cause is found. However, we are concerned that animal ownership could be forfeited during an appeals process due to a defendant’s inability to pay long term boarding costs– even if the owner is found not guilty or the potentially dangerous/dangerous dog designation is reversed.
- Retail Sales Ban – This proposal would allow pet stores to only source dogs from shelters and rescues. Even if you would not personally source a dog to a pet store, this section should concern you, as it restricts the freedom of individuals to select the type of pet they wish to own and to obtain the best choice of pet for their lifestyle.
Talking Points: This basically implies that shelters and rescues are the best place for a person to get a dog. It also limits options for those who wish to buy a purebred dog but do not have access to a local breeder or wish to be put on a long waiting list.
Laws that ban retail pet stores from selling purpose-bred pets remove from the market the single most regulated sources of pets and make consumer protection virtually impossible, as pet stores cannot offer the same health histories and guarantees (or even possibly basic information like age or behavior issues) that they can provide when the dog comes from a known, regulated professional breeder.
For more information and talking points on this issue, visit AKC’s key issue page at akcgr.org/petchoice.
AKC encourages Boise residents and those that participate in dog events in the city to use the link provided to give feedback before the March 30 deadline. AKC Government Relations will provide further updates as they are available. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.