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The Washington Legislature has concluded its 2023 legislative session. AKC actively monitored and participated in numerous bills before the legislature this year.

While the session is adjourned, we are seeing many local governments across the country considering proposals that would impact dog owners in their community.  We encourage Washington residents to watch local media and county and municipal government agendas to ensure nothing is being proposed that would impact dog owners and breeders.

To see what’s going on around the country – including crucial legislation in Congress – visit the AKC Legislative Action Center at  Here you can also find resources and talking points on a broad variety of canine policy issues to help you and your club be effective advocates for dogs.

A review of notable bills impacting Washington State dog owners this session:

Bills in 2023 Washington State Legislature:

House Bill 1234 – Concerning the civil forfeiture of animals seized for abuse or neglect.

Status: Signed by the governor.

Summary: This bill addresses the issue of animals being seized on cruelty charges, and the payment of their care during impoundment. This bill could cause a person to permanently forfeit their animals even if they are ultimately found not guilty of charges. AKC is encouraged by the amendments to the bill that would see an owner’s attorney’s fees and money spent on cost of care returned in the event the owner is found innocent; this condition should deter frivolous cases. However, AKC is still troubled regarding the possibility of an owner being found innocent and not being guaranteed to have their animals returned.

House Bill 1424 – Concerning consumer protection with respect to the sale and adoption of dogs and cats.

Status: Signed by the governor.

Summary: This bill has been significantly amended to continue to allow pet stores to sell dogs and cats if stores source their animals from USDA certified breeders. AKC greatly appreciates the amendments to protect consumer choice. Additionally, this bill outlaws pet stores from offering predatory leasing/financing for the purchase of dogs and cats.

House Bill 1077 –Concerning courthouse facility dogs.

Status: Signed by the governor.

Summary: This bill expands the successful state program of courthouse facility dogs. Courthouse facility dogs provide a compassionate way to help traumatized victims tell their stories, and the AKC wholeheartedly supports the expansion of this valued program. These specialized dogs’ handlers undergo training, and their canine companions are certified in pet-assisted therapy programs offered through national service dog organizations. Each dog-and-handler team also acquaints itself with the legal process before they are allowed to participate. As legally neutral companions for witnesses during the investigation and prosecution of crimes, these dogs help the most vulnerable witnesses feel willing and able to describe what happened.

 House Bill 1208 – Concerning pet insurance.

Status: Signed by the governor.

Summary: AKC monitored House Bill 1208, which establishes requirements for selling and issuing pet insurance in the state of Washington. It requires disclosures for conditions that are not covered by an insurance policy such as a preexisting condition or other limitations in coverage. Finally, the bill disallows the marketing of a “wellness program” as insurance coverage and would require the cost and terms and conditions of the wellness program to be separate and identifiable from any insurance policy offered. AKC was neutral on this legislation.

House Bill 1012 – Addressing the response to extreme weather events.

Status: Passed state House; failed in State Senate.

Summary: This bill would have developed an “extreme weather grant program” to help localities and federally-recognized native tribes offset the costs of assisting their communities during severe weather if they do not have the resources to help those who are “socially vulnerable”. These grants would help with the establishment and operation of “warming and cooling centers” and for transporting individuals considered socially vulnerable (including the elderly, those with disabilities, those without transportation, and lower income individuals) to the facilities. As part of this program, grants funding would be used for establishing facilities that are pet friendly. AKC strongly supported House Bill 1012 and looks to support similar legislation in future legislative sessions.

House Bill 1634 – Concerning residential insurance policies.

Status: Failed in State House.

Summary: AKC supported House Bill 1634. The bill would have disallowed insurance companies from denying insurance coverage (or charging extra) simply because a dog owner has a specific breed of dog. This will protect the rights of responsible owners in the state, while still allowing action to be taken against dogs that are truly dangerous. AKC supports repealing breed specific restrictions of all kinds and looks forward to supporting such legislation in future legislative sessions.

House Bill 1635 – Limiting liability arising from the use of trained police dogs.

Status: Failed in the state House.

Summary: AKC supported House Bill 1635. This bill would have developed model standards for the training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl.

AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor proposals in Washington impacting dog owners.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at