The American Kennel Club’s Government Relations Department (AKC GR) just learned that a proposed animal ordinance is scheduled for a vote by the Montgomery City Council on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
At the time of this alert, AKC has received information about certain provisions of the proposed ordinance. An official copy of the proposed ordinance is scheduled to be available on the city website on the afternoon of 4/1/22.
Among numerous overreaching and problematic provisions in the proposed ordinance:
- It would be unlawful to engage in the business of breeding, buying, selling, training, raising, or boarding animals without obtaining a special permit issued by the Montgomery Humane Society at cost of $150 per year. To obtain a permit, the applicant must have a valid business license issued by the city; provide proof of liability insurance for animal bites, injury, or death caused by an animal; and provide veterinary records for all animals that enter or leave their care within the 12 months prior to the date of application. Inspections of premises would be authorized prior to issuance of a permit, on any renewal, and on any complaint. “Animal Business” and “business venture” are undefined, so it is assumed that all of these activities would require a permit, such as the sale of a single animal or conducting animal training on a volunteer basis.
- An amended section of the proposed ordinance appears to be intended to address animal fighting. However, as written, it would make it unlawful to promote, hold, or attend a game, exhibition, . . . or contest involving one or more animals or involving animals and humans. This could serve to outlaw dog shows, 4-H events, and other events involving animals. This section also does not conform with a separate section that allows tethering of dogs in conjunction with certain events. Therefore, it is unclear which provision would prevail.
- Both reasonable and overreaching/vague animal care provisions are proposed. For example, it would be an animal cruelty crime to fail to provide medical treatment to “any” animal that is sick, diseased, injured, or suffering from any type of parasitic infestation. It is unclear if an owner, rather than a veterinarian, would be permitted to provide appropriate care for an animal.
- It would be a crime to fail to “properly groom” an animal, which specifically would include “cutting or maintaining the animal’s hair to an optimum length and condition appropriate to the animals’ breed.” The proposed ordinance does not define “optimum length” or “appropriate condition.”
Enforcement of these and other problematic requirements would no longer be conducted by the city police department. The Montgomery Humane Society would be responsible for enforcement of Chapter 4, Animals of the Code of Ordinances; all existing, amended, proposed, and future provisions of the chapter; and would be empowered to confiscate animals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Animal owners in Montgomery are urged to:
- Review the entire proposed ordinance after it is posted to the city website.
- Immediately contact City Council members to express your concerns.
- Attend the city council meeting to voice opposition to problematic sections of the proposed ordinance. For additional meeting information and to learn how to sign up to be recognized to speak at the meeting, contact the City Clerk’s office at 334-625-2195.
Montgomery City Council Meeting
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
103 North Perry Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-816-3720.