Early this morning, the New York Legislature wrapped up its 2021 session with numerous significant successes for New York dog owners.
We thank the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State and the many New York club members who joined AKC Government Relations in reaching out to lawmakers. The joint efforts led to the following important achievements:
- 4075/S. 4254: Ban on Insurance Breed Discrimination – Passed Legislature, will go to Governor
After years of effort, the New York Legislature has finally passed a prohibition on insurance breed discrimination. These bills, supported by the AKC, prohibit insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew, or from canceling or raising premiums for, homeowner’s insurance based on breed of dog (or mixed-breed) owned by the policyholder. It does allow for insurance companies to take these actions if any dog (regardless of breed) has been declared dangerous based on current law, so long as these actions are based on “sound underwriting and actuarial principles” that are reasonably related to actual or anticipated loss.
AKC GR thanks the club members who took the time to contact their legislators in support. We will be sending information soon on how to ask the governor to sign this important legislation.
- 6027- Non-Economic Damages for Loss of Pet – Re-assigned to Senate Rules, did not advance
This bill would allow a person to receive damages for mental distress or emotional harm caused by the injury or death of a companion animal.
AKC GR opposes this bill. Although such concepts may sound benign, they represent a potential change in the legal status of animals (animal rights) and would increase the cost of care significantly. This would ultimately undermine the ability of pet owners to care for their pets.
This bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was ultimately held and did not advance. It could be reconsidered in the 2022 session.
- 4283/S. 1130 – Restrictions on Pet Choice, Breed Rescue – Held in Assembly Rules, did not advance
These bills, opposed by AKC, would prohibit retail pet stores from selling any dogs or cats. Instead, they would only be allowed to “showcase” animals available for adoption from a shelter, rescue, or adoption agency that has no affiliation with breeders. As such, they would no longer be required to provide background information on the dogs or provide consumer protection for sales.
The bills also imply that reputable breeders should not be involved in rescue work. This undermines the dedicated volunteer efforts of breed experts and breeders who are part of AKC clubs and who regularly help dogs in need get appropriate assessments, care, and rehoming.
The bills passed the Senate and two Assembly Committees, but were ultimately held in the Assembly Rules Committee. The bills could be considered again in 2022.
AKC Government Relations again thanks all those who took the time to contact their legislators this year on the many bills impacting dog owners. We will continue to provide updates in the coming months how you can continue working with AKC GR to protect the rights of dog owners in New York. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.