The Washington State House Consumer Protection and Business Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on Wednesday, February 10, that would further restrict dog ownership limits in the state and regulate the sourcing of pet stores.
AKC encourages State of Washington residents to contact the committee prior to the hearing to comment on this legislation (Scroll down for contact information)
House Bill 1424 makes the following changes to state law:
- Further restriction of animal ownership – Current law states that a person may not own, possess, control, or have custody or charge of more than fifty intact dogs over the age of six months at any time. However, those with a USDA license were exempt from this limit. HB 1424 would further tighten this limit by only exempting those who have maintained a USDA license without interruption since January 1, 2010. AKC opposes dog ownership limits, as the quantity of dogs owned or on a premise does not automatically relate to the level of care those dogs receive. Instead, AKC urges the state to remove the ownership limit and to fully enforce current state laws regarding the treatment of animals irrespective of the number of dogs owned/ maintained. For more information on AKC’s position on this issue, view our key issues page at akcgr.org/limit
- Regulation of pet store sourcing – HB 1424 also creates a new section of law that would regulate the sourcing of pets by pet stores in operation by the bill’s effective date. This appears to prevent new pet stores from opening in the state in the future. It also stipulates that all dogs sold by Washington pet stores come from shelters, rescues or qualified breeders who meet the Washington state law regarding housing and other kennel standards and the 50-dog ownership limit. The bill clarifies that a person who offers for sale, directly to the public, only animals they have bred and raised will not be considered a retail pet store.
AKC appreciates this clarification to protect hobbyists and home-based breeders. However, we are concerned about this limit on pet choice. Retail pet store restrictions limit consumer protections and choice, while doing nothing to actually improve the wellbeing of dogs. A better solution is to consider broad consumer protection and cruelty laws that hold accountable all who sell or transport dogs commercially, while allowing owners the freedom to choose the best pet for their family and lifestyle. For more information on AKC’s position on retail pet stores and pet choice, visit www.akc.org/petchoice.
What You Can Do:
Those who wish to express concerns and comments on HB 1424 should contact the members of the House Business and Consumer Protection Committee prior to their hearing on Wednesday, February 10. 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 contact information provided to reach the committee members:
Rep. Steve Kirby, Chair (Tacoma)
Rep. Amy Walen, Vice Chair (Kirkland)
Rep. Brandon Vick, Ranking Minority Member (Clark County)
Rep. Jeremie Dufault (Yakima)
Rep. Chris Corry (Yakima, Klickitat and Skamania counties)
Rep. Cindy Ryu (Shoreline)
Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (King County)
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor this bill and all legislative issues impacting Washington dog owners. For more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.