AKC continues to monitor several bills impacting dog owners in Washington state. Below are the latest updates, along with contact information if you wish to comment on any of these measures.
AKC GR will continue to provide individual updates and alerts when necessary.
Bills in Washington state Legislature:
- House Bill 1012 – Addressing the response to extreme weather events.
Status: Scheduled for vote in the House Appropriations Committee at 4:00 PM on Thursday, February 16.
Summary: AKC strongly supports House Bill 1012. This bill would develop 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.
What You Can Do: You are encouraged to express your support to members of the House Appropriations Committee. Those who wish to contact members of the committee can do so by clicking HERE. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them (Click HERE to find out who your representative is).
- House Bill 1634 – Concerning residential insurance policies.
Status: Referred to the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee
Summary: AKC is supporting House Bill 1634. The bill would disallow insurance companies from denying insurance coverage (or charging extra) simply because a dog owner has a specific breed of dog. Under current Washington law, this form of discrimination is both legal and practiced in the state.
What You Can Do: If you would like to express your support for the bill and an end to arbitrary breed specific discrimination in insurance policies, you can contact the bill’s author, Representative Kristine Reeves, at (425) 883-3366 or email@example.com.
- House Bill 1424 – Concerning consumer protection with respect to the sale and adoption of dogs and cats.
Status: Scheduled for vote in the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Business at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, February 14.
Summary: This bill would disallow the sale of all dogs and cats at pet stores in the state of Washington. AKC is concerned this will only serve to erode consumer choice and the protections that are currently offered by purchasing an animal from a pet store. House Bill 1424 would create a world where consumers are forced to buy a dog or cat of their choice from opaque sellers, often through the internet; a place where there is little if any oversight and protections for consumers.
What You Can Do: You are encouraged to contact the members of the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee before Tuesday’s vote. Express your concerns with House Bill 1424, and respectfully ask that they not support the bill in its current form.
Those who wish to contact members of the committee can do so by clicking HERE. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them (Click HERE to find out who your representative is).
- House Bill 1234 – Concerning the civil forfeiture of animals seized for abuse or neglect.
Status: Passed the state House of Representatives on February 8. The bill has been referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
Summary: This proposed bill addresses the issue of animals being seized on cruelty charges, and the payment of their care during impoundment. As currently constructed, the 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.
What You Can Do: You can contact the bill’s author, Representative Roger Goodman, and express your concern that an owner should be guaranteed of having their animals returned if found not guilty. The representative can be reached at (360) 786-7878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor bills in Washington impacting dog owners and will provide updates. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.