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Yesterday, the American Kennel Club (AKC) reported that two bills are scheduled for consideration in the Minnesota House of Representatives that seek to protect the rights of tenants who own dogs.  Now, two Senate companion bills have also been scheduled for committee consideration later this week:

  • Senate File 371 seeks to prohibit certain housing developments from imposing breed-specific or weight-based dog ownership restrictions on tenants
  • Senate File 556 would prohibit landlords from encouraging or requiring tenants to declaw or devocalize an animal.

AKC supports both SF 371 and SF 556, and encourages Minnesota residents to contact the members of the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee to express support of both bills.

Under SF 371, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency would require each housing development that is financed on or after January 1, 2024, to authorize a resident to own or otherwise maintain one or more common household pets within the resident’s dwelling unit, subject to applicable state laws and local government ordinances and other reasonable conditions.

SF 371 defines “reasonable conditions” as nuisance behaviors, leashing requirements, requirements to carry liability insurance coverage, limits on the number of animals in a unit based on the unit’s size, and prohibitions on dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs.

SF 371 also limits housing developments from imposing (1) breed restrictions, (2) limits on the weight of a pet, and (3)  onetime nonrefundable or monthly maintenance fees, which are explicitly excluded from the definition of “reasonable conditions”.

AKC strongly endorses the right to own, keep, and breed dogs in a responsible and humane manner.  We believe that responsible dog ownership is compatible with most living arrangements.  AKC opposes laws that limit the number of dogs a responsible owner may own as well as unreasonable limitations on pet ownership, such as the prohibition of dogs for residents of senior citizen and government-subsidized housing facilities.

This bill would define “declawing” and “devocalizing”, and prohibit landlords from:

(1) Advertising the availability of a property in a manner designed to discourage anyone from applying for occupancy because an applicant’s animal has not been declawed or devocalized.

(2) Refusing to allow occupancy or otherwise make unavailable a real property because of a person’s refusal to declaw or devocalize an animal.

(3) Requiring a tenant or occupant to declaw or devocalize an animal allowed on the premises.

AKC believes devocalization (also known as  “bark softening” or “debarking”) is a viable veterinary procedure; and that the decision on whether to have this procedure performed is best left to individual owners and their dog’s veterinarian, not to landlords.  AKC supports SF 556.

Click here for more information about “debarking”.

Minnesota residents are encouraged to contact the members of the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee to express support of both SF 371 and SF 556; and to participate in the hearing either in person or remotely via Zoom.  To sign up to testify either in-person or remotely, to submit written testimony, or to provide handouts, please email Committee Administrator Davin Sokup at by 2PM on Wednesday, February 15.  Please note which bill you want to testify about and whether you want to testify via Zoom.  Each testifier will be limited to three minutes.  If providing handouts, please ensure they are in .pdf format.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 12:30PM in Room 1150 of the Minnesota Senate Building, 95 University Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.

Individual committee members may be contacted as follows:

State Senator Lindsey Port, Chair
651-296-5975, Use This Email Form

State Senator Liz Boldon, Vice Chair
651-296-3903, Use This Email Form

State Senator Eric Lucero, Ranking Member

State Senator Rich Draheim

State Senator Karin Housley

State Senator Zayneb Mohamed
651-296-4274, Use This Email Form

State Senator Susan Pha
651-296-2556, Use This Email Form

State Senator Ann H. Rest
651-296-2889, Use This Email Form

Contact AKC Government Relations at