This week, the Oklahoma Legislature is considering a number of bills relating to dogs, including:
- House Bill 1620 – Protecting Working Animals – This bill protects “the right to utilize working animals for the mutual benefit and welfare of working animals and those the working animals serve.” As written, HB 1620 would ensure this protection by prohibiting local governments and state agencies from enacting any regulations that would ban, stop, or essentially ban through financial hardship the use of working animals. A “working animal” is defined as any animal “used for the purpose of performing a specific duty or function in commerce or service including but not limited to animals in entertainment, transportation, education, exhibition, ranching or service.” AKC supports this bill, which recognizes the broad variety of essential and important work and service dogs can provide to people, and that this work, when provided humanely, benefits the dogs as well.
- House Bill 1816 – Declaring Rescue Dog as the State Dog – This bill, known as “Cali’s Law” establishes the “rescue dog” as the official state dog of Oklahoma. AKC has concerns about this resolution: In most cases, recognition of a state dog is designated to celebrate a specific breed of dog that has had a positive and important impact on the state and its history. The AKC strongly supports rescue and is proud to be the largest purebred dog rescue network in the United States; however, designating a state dog based on the general transaction or source from which it is obtained ( e.g. pet shop puppy, rescue dog, shelter dog, professionally-bred bred dog etc.) does not offer the historical celebration or educational impact that these bills were designed to recognize.
- House Bill 1581 – Regulating Retail Pet Store Sourcing – This bill states that a retail pet store may source puppies only from a shelter, rescue, or a “qualified breeder” that meets certain requirements. AKC appreciates that a variation of an amendment we requested in a previous session has remained that clarifies that this law will not include instances where dogs are sold, transferred or given away on the premises where they were bred and raised.
Under this bill, pet stores may source from “qualified breeders”. These are breeders in the state or high-volume commercial kennels in other states licensed by USDA and their state (if applicable) who have not had a direct noncompliance violation within three years, or three noncompliance violations of any kind within one year.
AKC supports the right and opportunity for future dog owners to choose a pet that is an appropriate type and breed for their lifestyle. When families can obtain a pet that is a good match for their lifestyle, that animal is less likely to end up in a shelter. Legislation that limits pet seller sourcing to only shelters and rescues restricts those rights and opportunities. It especially harms individuals who do not have the means to obtain a pet from a private breeder and who rely on protections provided by consumer protection laws and the guarantees available with professionally bred pets. Visit AKC’s key issues page akcgr.org/petchoice for more information on AKC’s position on this topic.
What You Can Do:
The following is contact information for the committees considering these bills. If you are a constituent of one of the members of the committee, click the link below and let them know you are a constituent.
All others, use the email addresses provided to reach the committee members:
House Bill 1620 and House Bill 1816 – House Wildlife Committee, February 11, 2021:
Those who wish to express support for working dogs and HB 1620, or to express comments on the rescue dog as the state dog (HB 1816), should contact the House Wildlife Committee prior to their hearing on February 11, 2021
Rep. Ty Burns, Chairman (Creek, Noble, Osage, Pawnee, Payne Counties)
Rep. Eddy Dempsey, Vice Chairman (LeFlore, McCurtain Counties)
Rep. Rusty Cornwell (Craig, Mayes, Rogers Counties)
Rep. Tommy Hardin (Carter, Love, Marshall Counties)
Rep. Eric Roberts (Oklahoma City)
Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (Cleveland County)
Rep. John Talley (Logan, Payne Counties)
Rep. John Waldron (Tulsa, Rogers Counties)
Rep Rick West (LeFlore County)
Rep. Max Wolfley (Oklahoma City)
House Bill 1581 – House Business and Commerce Committee, February 10, 2021:
Those who wish to comment on the retail pet store sourcing proposal (HB 1581) should contact the House Business and Commerce Committee prior to the hearing on February 10, 2021:
Rep. Kevin McDugle, Chairman (Wagoner County)
Rep. Trey Caldwell, Vice Chair (Comanche, Tillman Counties)
Rep. Rhonda Baker ( Caddo, Canadian Counties)
Rep. Steve Bashore (Delaware, Ottawa Counties)
Rep. Meloyde Blancett (Tulsa)
Rep. Rusty Cornwell (Craig, Mayes, Rogers Counties)
Rep. Regina Goodwin (Osage, Tulsa Counties)
Rep. Gerrid Kendrix (Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa Counties)
Rep. Mark McBride (Cleveland County)
Rep. Judd Strom (Nowata, Osage, Washington Counties)
Rep. Tammy Townley (Carter, Garvin, Murray Counties)
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor bills impacting dog owners in Oklahoma. For questions, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.