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 Advancing in Washington Legislature:
- House Bill 1234 – Concerning the civil forfeiture of animals seized for abuse or neglect.
Status: Advanced out of the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee Hearing on January 27; the bill has now been referred to Rules 2 Review.
Summary: This proposed bill addresses the issue of animals being seized on cruelty charges, and the payment of their care during impoundment. The bill’s language is ambiguous around reasons for seizing an owner’s animals, and 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 concerns at (360) 786-7878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- House Bill 1424 – Concerning consumer protection with respect to the sale and adoption of dogs and cats.
Status: On Friday, February 3, the Washington state House Consumer Protection & Business Committee will vote on House Bill 1424.
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. Read more regarding AKC’s position on this issue by visiting the pet choice key issue page in the Legislative Action Center.
What You Can Do: You are encouraged to contact the members of the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee. 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 1012 – Addressing the response to extreme weather events.
Status: Currently before the House Appropriations Committee.
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 1208 – Concerning pet insurance.
Status: Advanced out of House Consumer Protection & Business Committee on January 24; the bill has now been referred to Rules 2 Review.
Summary: AKC is monitoring House Bill 1208, the bill would establish requirements for selling and issuing pet insurance in the state of Washington. The proposal would also require disclosures for conditions that are not covered by an insurance policy such as a preexisting condition or other limitations in coverage. The bill would also disallow 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.
What You Can Do: If you have any questions or concerns about House Bill 1208, you can contact the bill’s author, Representative Amy Walen at (425) 883-3366 or email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.