Arkansas — HB 2160 would require sterilization of dogs and cats over the age of six months, with some exceptions, unless the owner qualifies for an intact animal license at a fee of $50.00 per year. The bill would also require dogs used for hunting or field trial competitions to be kept within a fenced enclosure at all times except when actually engaged in hunting, field trial competitions, or related activities. The House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development has deferred action on the bill. AKC GR issued legislative alerts and sent letters of opposition to the committee.
California — Assembly Bill 265 would ensure that local governments are not liable for injuries sustained at a dog park, unless the injuries are sustained as a result of improper or incomplete maintenance of facilities. Under current California law, owners are strictly and civilly liable for any injuries caused by their dog when the victim is lawfully in a private place. The measure unanimously passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee and will be heard in the Assembly Local Government Committee on May 8. AKC GR sent a letter in support of this measure.
California — Assembly Bill 272 would require that all dogs three months or older be vaccinated for rabies. Current law requires vaccination at four months of age. The bill is pending on the Assembly Floor.
Connecticut — House Bill 6311 would prohibit towns from “addressing the issue of dangerous dogs in a breed-specific manner.” The bill has passed committee and is pending action in the House of Representatives. AKC GR issued legislative alerts and sent letters of support for this measure.
Connecticut — HB 6690 would permit courts to order that a separate, independent advocate be assigned to represent the interests of animals. The bill passed the Joint Committee on Judiciary. AKC GR issued a legislative alert, issued a letter that expressed concern with the unintended and potentially far-reaching consequences this proposal could have on the legal status of animals in the state, and continues to work with its Connecticut federation in opposition to this bill.
Florida —HB 417 / SB 1596 would require an owner of 11 or more intact female dogs or cats (of any age) who breeds animals for sale to register with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Registration would be conditioned upon payment of undefined initial and biennial fees, an initial and subsequent unannounced inspections, and compliance with USDA federal animal welfare standards 9 C.F.R. part 2. Violation of any provision would be subject to penalties that could include an administrative fine of up to $5,000 for each act or omission. Failure to register would be a felony of the third degree. HB 417 has been referred to the House Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee and SB 1596 is assigned to the Regulated Industries, Agriculture, Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Appropriations Committees. Neither bill has been scheduled for a hearing.
Hawaii — Senate Bill 8 SD1 HD1 would make it a misdemeanor for any person other than a veterinarian to perform a surgical procedure, including ear cropping, tail docking or dewclaw removal, on a pet animal; however, persons residing in counties with a population of less than 5,000 persons would be permitted to conduct tail docking and dewclaw removal procedures on pet animals within five days of the animal's birth. The bill has passed both chambers and has been assigned to conference committee. AKC GR sent informational alerts and continues to monitor these measures.
Hawaii — Senate Bill 414 SD2 would require the licensing of persons who own ten or more intact dogs over the age of 12 months and who sell more than 3 litters or more than 25 dogs per year. This bill would also prohibit ownership or custody of more than 30 intact dogs over the age of 1 year, establish extensive enclosure standards, prohibit breeding a dog older than 8 years, and require unannounced inspections of a breeder’s private premises. It would allow counties to contract with any “dog protective agency” for the seizure and impounding of dogs belonging to breeders who are not in compliance with rules and dogs belonging to unlicensed breeders. SB 414 has passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Economic Development and Business Committee. AKC GR has issued legislative alerts on this matter.
Illinois — House Bill 1648 would require organizers of coonhound events with more than 25 participants to notify landlords of properties adjacent to the event location 30 days prior to the event. The notification, which must be sent by certified mail, must include details on the times and location of the event and contact information. At the request of the AKC, the sponsor amended the bill to exempt local events with entries on the day of the event, so long as they reasonably expect to have fewer than 25 entries and do not last longer than three days. AKC GR and AKC Coonhounds greatly appreciate the sponsor’s willingness to consider the concerns of local coonhound clubs.
Illinois — Senate Bill 1639 as introduced would have made many changes to the laws regarding the sales of dogs and cats. This included expanding the laws to apply to all sellers and likely requiring anyone who sells a dog to obtain a state license. Other concerns included allowing a customer to be entitled to compensation up to three times the purchase price of the dog. Sellers would have been permitted to request a second opinion from a veterinarian at the seller’s expense, but the customer would get to choose the veterinarian. This bill passed the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee and is expected to be voted on by the full Senate on April 25. Contact AKC Government Relations for the latest information.
Maine — LD 1202 sought to more strictly define the term “practice of veterinary medicine”, meaning that even minor care such as attaching a flea-and-tick collar or applying spot-type parasite treatments could only be performed by a licensed veterinarian. The bill did not advance in committee at the sponsor's request. Read more about LD 1202.
Maine — LD1239 would create new definitions and require licenses for commercial boarding or training kennels, commercial breeder kennels, and personal kennels. It also would clarify when inspections of licensed entities may occur and remove a provision of current law that requires a person to obtain a vendor's license to sell a dog or cat. The bill was considered by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation on April 16. A work group to further study the issue was appointed by the committee, and includes a representative of the Maine federation. The work group is expected to meet in the coming weeks. AKC GR and its Maine federation are both supporting the improvements to the law contained in LD1239. Read more about LD 1239.
Maryland — House Bill 78 / Senate Bill 160 would have overturned the Tracey v. Solesky Court of Appeals ruling that declared all “purebred” pit bulls as inherently dangerous and hold landlords liable for any action that occurred with a dog of this “breed” on their property. Despite support and extensive work by the AKC, its state federation, and many other groups, this bill failed to pass the House on the last day of session. AKC and the Maryland federation will continue to work with legislators to address this important issue. Read more about these bills.
Maryland —House Bill 1203 as introduced would have prohibited insurance companies from refusing to underwrite, or excluding homeowner’s or renter’s insurance coverage based solely on the breed or size of the dog owned by the applicant. It was amended by the Economic Matters Committee to require insurance companies to provide an annual statement regarding the policyholder’s coverage. This statement must include the disclosure that “the policy does not cover losses caused by dog breeds specifically excluded under the policy.” When homeowner’s insurance is initially purchased, the applicant must be given a written notice that states whether the insurer underwrites policies on a breed-specific basis or if the policy has breed-specific exclusions (this written notice must include the list of breeds excluded by the insurance company). While AKC GR appreciates that applicants must be notified at the time of application, we are disappointed that the amendments remove the protections for dog owners who own specific breeds of dogs. The bill passed the General Assembly. Read more about HB 1203.
Maryland — Senate Bill 296 would have prohibited insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies solely because the person owns a dog. The bill also stated that dog owners cannot be denied liability coverage because they keep a dog on their property. The breed of dog could not be considered. AKC GR and its Maryland federation both supported this measure, which was given an unfavorable report by the Senate Finance Committee. Read more about this legislation.
Massachusetts — SB 969 would allow cities and towns to enact breed-specific dangerous dog legislation. The AKC and the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed) both strongly oppose the bill. The AKC has issued a legislative alert on the matter, and continues to work with MassFed in opposition to the proposal.
Massachusetts — Several bills of interest to dog owners and breeders have been recently introduced in Massachusetts. AKC GR and the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners will address these measures to ensure that responsible dog breeders and owners will not be unreasonably or unnecessarily impacted. Legislative alerts will be posted here as additional information is available.
Montana — House Bill 439 would have defined any person or entity that possessed 11 or more intact female dogs for the purpose of breeding as a “commercial dog breeder” and required registration, inspections, and fees for “commercial dog breeding” facilities. HB 439 has been tabled by the House Agriculture Committee. AKC GR sent a legislative alert and a letter of concern to committee members.
Nebraska — Legislative Bill 288 would make a positive change to the state’s definition of commercial breeder as requested by AKC GR. Currently the law defines a commercial breeder as anyone who sells/offers to sell, exchanges, or transfers 31 dogs in a year; owns four or more dogs “intended for breeding” (which is presumed to be intact dogs); or whose dogs produce four litters in a year. A person only has to meet one of these criteria to be required to be licensed and comply with commercial breeder requirements. LB 288 would change this to require someone to meet all three of these criteria before being defined as a commercial breeder. The bill had a public hearing in the Agriculture Committee on March 5. Read more about LB 288.
Nevada — Assembly Bill 110 would revise provisions relating to dangerous dogs and specifically prohibit dogs from being declared dangerous solely based on their breed. It will further preclude local governments from adopting ordinances that deem dogs to be dangerous solely on the basis of their breed. The measure has passed the Assembly and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. AKC GR sent a letter in support of this measure.
New Jersey — Senate Bill 1804 and Assembly Bill 3445 would permit pet owners to board public transportation with domesticated animals during emergency evacuations. The AKC applauds the New Jersey legislature’s efforts to protect the Garden State’s dogs — and owners who might otherwise not evacuate a dangerous area — by providing the means by which responsible owners and their pets can escape areas where the catastrophic impacts of storms are expected. AB 3445 passed the Assembly and has been assigned to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. Read more about these bills.
New Jersey — Senate Bill 1840 / Assembly Bill 2746 are being described as consumer protection bills but instead would restrictively regulate breeders across the state, including licensing, inspections, onerous breeding and sales restrictions, and care and conditions rules. Both bills have been assigned to committee, but neither has been scheduled for consideration. AKC GR continues to work closely with the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs and other allied groups in opposition to the bills as currently written.
New Jersey — Assembly Bill 3953 states that an insurer shall not refuse to issue, cancel, or renew a homeowner's insurance policy solely on the basis that a dog is kept on the property. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.
New York — Assembly Bill 740 would clarify that counties and municipalities can regulate “pet dealers,” so long as the laws are not less stringent than state law. “Pet dealer” is defined in current law as those who sell 9 or more dogs per year. Breeders who raise dogs on their residential premises are exempt, so long as they sell less than 25 dogs per year. AKC GR has expressed concerns with this bill, which has passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee and is pending in Assembly Codes. Read more about A. 740.
New York — Assembly Bill 1204 / Senate Bill 2271 would ban the practice of canine “devocalization” in the state. The only exemptions would be for instances when it is medically necessary to treat or relieve a physical illness or congenital abnormality that is causing pain or harm. Veterinarians that performs the procedure could have their licenses revoked. A. 1204 has passed the Assembly. Both bills are pending in the Senate Agriculture Committee. Read more about A 1204.
New York — Assembly Bill 1643 and Senate Bill 1495 would create the crime of pet theft in New York. A. 1643 states that when someone steals a companion animal or pet, it is pet theft in the second degree (a class E felony). When someone commits pet theft and then sells the animal for research or unjustifiably kills or causes it serious injury, the crime would be a class D felony. Senate Bill 1495 includes pet in the definition of property in the state’s penal law. This means that someone who steals a pet would be committing fourth degree grand larceny. AKC GR and its New York federation supported similar measures in the 2012 legislative session. Both bills have been referred to their respective Codes Committees.
New York — Assembly Bill 3952 would prohibit homeowner’s insurance companies from denying, cancelling or raising premium rates for homeowners’ insurance based on the breed of dog owned by the policyholder. The bill passed the Assembly Insurance and Codes Committees and is pending on the Assembly Floor. Read more about this legislation and how you can contact the NY Assembly in support of this measure.
North Carolina — HB 612 would make it unlawful for a person to confine any animal in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of food or water, or under other endangering conditions. It also would allow animal control officers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and rescue squad workers with probable cause of a violation to enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means, after making a reasonable effort to locate the person responsible for the animal. This measure has been assigned to Judiciary B subcommittee in the House. AKC GR supports this measure.
North Carolina — House Bill 930 would “establish standards of care for large commercial dog breeding facilities”, which are defined as those who own 10 or more intact females over the age of six months. The standards of care were taken from the AKC’s Care and Conditions Policy. A press release has been issued to express concern over the definition of commercial breeder and that this bill states these important standards of care should only apply to those with 10 or more females and not for all dogs. The press release also questioned why certain standards such as socialization were removed from the bill. HB 930 has been assigned to the Rules and Operations of the House Committee.
North Dakota — SB 2344 seeks to provide $50,000 in funding for the training of service dogs to assist some of the state’s veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. The bill also provides for future legislative study to consider changes that would further benefit the state’s veterans. SB 2344 has passed both chambers and is before the governor. AKC GR issued a legislative alert and a letter in support of SB 2344.
Ohio — Senate Bill 130 regulates "high volume" dog breeders in Ohio, defined as those who produce 9 litters of puppies and sell 60 puppies in a calendar year. Those who meet this definition are required to obtain an annual license and inspection. The inspections may be conducted by local veterinarians. Standards of care will be established by the state Department of Agriculture and reviewed by an advisory board. Rescues will also be required to register with the state, but will not have to comply with the same regulations as high volume breeders. The law went into effect on March 13, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture will require high volume breeders and rescues to register by June 13. AKC GR and its Ohio federation continue to closely monitor the regulatory process and will provide more information as it becomes available.
Pennsylvania — House Bill 82 addresses payment and care for animals seized when the owner is accused of cruelty. If the owner fails to pay the amount required by the court at any time during the proceedings, then ownership rights would be permanently forfeited – even if the owner is eventually found not guilty or charges are dismissed. Costs would be limited to $15 per day, per animal as well as “reasonable medical expenses”, which must be documented by a veterinarian. AKC GR still believes that this could be very cost-prohibitive for some owners. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. AKC GR is working with its Pennsylvania federation and local club members to address concerns with this bill. Read more about House Bill 82 and how to contact the General Assembly.
Pennsylvania — Senate Bill 82 would make positive changes to the commonwealth’s consumer protection laws. Among other changes, it clarifies that a dog cannot be declared “unfit for purchase” if the dog has intestinal or external parasites (unless the dog is clinically ill or dies), if the dog has an injury or illness likely contracted after the sale, or if the dog has a health problem that is disclosed in writing by the seller prior to the sale. The bill would also make reasonable changes to the timeframe for when a dog may be declared unfit for purchase and when the seller must be notified. AKC GR and its Pennsylvania federation are supporting this measure, which had unanimous support in the Senate and is pending in the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Read more about this legislation.
Rhode Island — Three bills, H 5095 , H 5117 , and S 66 have been introduced in Rhode Island to repeal the statutory authority which allowed the Rhode Island Department of Revenue to assess a 7% pet care services tax on pet care services. This tax negatively impacts pet owners as well as businesses such boarding kennels, groomers, pet sitters and doggy day cares, as they are forced to compete with businesses in nearby states that do not charge sales tax. All bills have been referred to the Finance Committees in their respective houses.
Rhode Island — H 5671 seeks to prevent cities and towns from enacting any regulation or ordinance specific to any particular dog breed. This bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. The AKC has issued both a legislative alert and a letter in support of the proposal.
Tennessee — House Bill 621 would enact problematic definitions of “dangerous” and “vicious” dogs and require the owner of a dog so defined to secure an insurance policy in the amount of $25,000 against liability for any injuries inflicted by the dog. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee has taken the bill off notice. AKC GR issued a legislative alert and sent a letter of concern to the committee.
Texas — HB 1449 seeks to provide licensing and oversight to “pet dealers,” defined as “a person who sells or offers to sell, at retail to the public for use as pets, not fewer than 21 animals in a calendar year.” Provisions of the bill include inspection of dealer facilities, requirements to make disclosures at the time of sale of an animal, and standards of care. AKC GR will continue to work with AKC’s Texas federation to address concerns with this measure.
Vermont — HB 50, which relates to the sale, transfer, or importation of pets, is the product of a collaborative effort of several organizations, including AKC’s Vermont federation, and would establish a higher numerical threshold for an individual to qualify as a “pet dealer” under state law, provide clarification for when inspections of pet dealer facilities may be conducted, and update the state’s consumer protection laws. AKC GR continues to assist the Vermont federation regarding this bill.
Washington — House Bill 1202 / Senate Bill 5204 would create a civil infraction for “failure to provide care” in cases where behavior does not amount to animal cruelty in the first or second degree. These bills also would remove economic distress as a defense to second degree animal cruelty. House Bill 1202 has passed the House Judiciary Committee and has been re-referred to the House Rules Committee. Senate Bill 5204 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Law and Justice; however, a hearing has not been scheduled. West Virginia — SB 437 would define “commercial breeder” as those who own 11 intact dogs kept for the exclusive purpose of active breeding. Some exemptions are included for those who keep or breed dogs “for the purpose of herding or guarding livestock animals, hunting, tracking or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events or field and obedience trials…” New requirements would include obtaining an annual permit and business license and unannounced inspections twice each year. The bill has passed both houses and has been transmitted to the governor. AKC GR sent legislative alerts and letters of concern on this matter.