The 2023 Kentucky legislative session ended with positive results for dogs, working K9s, and dog owners. The American Kennel Club Government Relations team (AKC GR) thanks AKC club members, dog owners, sportsmen, and every individual who contacted lawmakers about legislation that affects the dogs we love.
Bills Opposed by AKC GR:
HB 321 attempted to problematically amend vicious dog law. It included a prohibition on the possession of dogs for certain offenses; an expansion of animal confiscation provisions; establishing cost of care requirements for confiscated animals and forfeiture of the dogs if not paid by the owner; and granting immunity for releasing a dog from a vehicle without consideration of consequences of such action. HB 321 failed upon adjournment (sine die) in the House Judiciary Committee.
SB 56 sought to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits, but did not restrict pet stores from showcasing pets from animal shelters and nonprofit organizations that “adopt” animals. Showcasing of pets would have been prohibited for any entity affiliated with a breeder, thereby excluding many club-related volunteer dog-rehoming groups. SB 56 failed sine die in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
SB 230 sought to create procedures for seizing agencies to petition a court to order payment of animal care costs by the owner. It failed sine die in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Bills Supported by AKC GR:
HB 115 includes electronics detection dogs in the state’s definition of “service animal” and thereby extends protections under existing law that make assault on a service animal a felony. The bill also includes a definition of and protections for a “police dog.” AKC monitored this bill through its final form, which passed in both chambers and was delivered to the Governor on 3/30/23.
AKC GR Supported Positive Amendments to this Bill:
HB 103 sought to expand Kentucky’s animal cruelty provisions. Although HB 103 contained certain protective provisions, AKC GR joined sportsmen’s groups in expressing concerns about the bill as originally filed. As introduced, HB 103 would have provided that a dog with a parasite, such as a tick or flea, was suffering from “physical infirmity” that could result in a felony charge of “torture” against the owner. The definition of physical infirmity in the bill was amended to read in part, “mange or other skin disease or parasitic infestation that has been refused medical care.” HB 103, as amended, passed in the House, but did not advance in Senate committees and failed sine die.
Bills Monitored by AKC GR:
HB 212 addressed dangerous dog law and sought to expand certain penalties, including prohibitions on owning dogs for five years. The bill did not advance during the 2023 session and failed sine die.
SB 92, as amended, would have included provisions regarding the definitions of assistant dog and emotional support animal; provided that a therapeutic relationship with a healthcare provider does not include transactions for documentation of disability in exchange for fee unless there has been a face-to-face in-office consultation with the health care provider; and made it a violation to misrepresent a dog as an assistance dog to gain accommodation. AKC GR supported the bill in principle, but was concerned that, as introduced, it contained certain provisions potentially in violation of federal law. A corrected committee substitute bill passed in the Senate, but did not advance in the House.
Stay Involved! Both positive and problematic bills could be refiled for the 2024 session. Take time now to meet with your state senator and representative in their home districts. Let them know that you, your AKC club, and the AKC Government Relations Department are reliable and knowledgeable resources on dog issues.
Stay Informed. If you are not directly receiving AKC’s legislative alerts by email, click here and scroll down to “Sign Up for Alerts.” By working together, we can support good bills, oppose bad bills, and protect our rights to own, breed, exhibit, work with, and enjoy our dogs.
For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.