City Councilor Sally Mayer is again proposing sweeping changes that would drastically limit fanciers' ability to breed and own dogs, while doing little to address the city's problems with irresponsible ownership. The proposal is currently set for a vote at the May 1st city council meeting. Fanciers are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will be held in the Council Chambers on the basement level of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center building at One Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque. The meeting beings at 5pm.
The proposal, known as the HEART ordinance (Humane and Ethical Animal Regulations and Treatment), contains draconian regulations, oppressive fees, and allows the government unfettered access to animal owner's homes and personal information. Worse, the measure was put forth based on “findings” that were established without any studies being conducted and without any input from responsible dog owners and breeders.
The measure's restrictive provisions include:
- An annual $150 permit for each unaltered dog or cat over six months old.
- A $150 litter permit, which expires six months after the date of issue. Breeders would be limited to four litters per year.
- A limit of four dogs and two cats per household (or six cats) unless residents purchase a $50 multiple companion animal site permit.
- Allows one adjoining property owner to petition for the revocation of a multiple companion animal site permit.
- Prohibits anyone with an intact animal permit from having a multiple companion animal site permit.
- Requirements that owners microchip or tattoo their dogs and cats.
- Prohibiting crating of dogs outdoors and tethering for more than 1 hour per day.
- Mandates owners provide “environmental enrichment” defined as “toys and other safe products…that will stimulate mental, physical and grooming activities.”
- Requires any animal that is picked up by animal control to be spayed/neutered, even if the owner has an intact animal permit and immediately reclaims the animal.
In applying for any permit, dog owners would be forced to comply with a long list of provisions, including submitting to property and record-keeping inspections.
The proposal would also put severe restrictions on animal service businesses such as dog groomers and doggie daycares. Of interest to all dog owners, these businesses would be required to provide a list of all their clients and their contact information to the city. Generally the government must get a subpoena from a judge for client lists and company records.
The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs, and we believe that dog owners should be responsible for their animals. We further encourage pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental breedings resulting in unwanted puppies. However, we believe that the key to solving pet population concerns lies not in creating overly-restrictive breeding regulations, but rather in educating the public about responsible dog ownership and responsible breeding practices. Strong enforcement of leash laws would also help prevent accidental breedings and lost dogs – both of which contribute to animal population concerns. Furthermore, if pet population is indeed a concern for the City of Albuquerque, then an objective study group should be formed to address this issue with input from members of various animal organizations, including purebred dog breeders.
It is critical that local fanciers immediately contact Albuquerque's city officials and convey their strong opposition to this ordinance. Area purebred dog owners, including members of the Rio Grande Kennel Club, are working to oppose the ordinance and to support fair and reasonable animal control legislation that does not penalize responsible owners and breeders. However, more help is urgently needed!
What You Can Do:
AKC encourages dog owners to contact their city council member and express your opposition. It is extremely important that council members hear from their constituents!
For more information, contact:
Rio Grande Kennel Club
AKC's Canine Legislation department
City Councilor Sally Mayer is again proposing sweeping changes that would drastically limit…