The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can't help unless we are aware of the proposal! If you hear of an issue in your city or county, please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools and support you need to help support and defend responsible dog ownership in your community.
Here are some examples of local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:
Porter County, IN – The Porter County Commission is considering numerous changes to the animal control code, including requiring anyone who breeds a litter or owns five intact dogs in a year to comply with USDA standards and open their homes for inspections. These regulations are significantly higher than those required in state law for commercial breeders. AKC GR is working closely with its Indiana state federation and local clubs in opposition. Read more about this legislation.
Lenoir, NC – The Lenoir City Council has tabled amendments to the zoning and animal control ordinances that would have a significant impact on owners of intact dogs. The amendment would define a "high-volume breeder" as a breeder who owns five intact dogs, and makes no indication as to whether the dogs are actually being bred. It would also define a "high-volume dog retailer" as someone who sells 30 dogs in a calendar year. Anyone who meets either of these definitions would only be permitted to keep their dogs in areas zoned for business or industrial use, be subject to annual inspections, and required to comply with numerous other regulations. AKC GR alerted local residents and sent letters of opposition to the city council. The council tabled the amendments until August 7 and will convene a committee of legislators and interested parties to draft a new proposal. AKC continues to closely monitor this issue.
Breed-Specific Legislation/Dangerous Dog Measures
Ventura County, CA – The Ventura County Animal Services Commission has proposed an ordinance to require the sterilization of all "pit bulls" over sixteen weeks of age unless the dog qualifies for a medical exemption, is registered with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, or other national registry, or is a law enforcement dog. The draft ordinance defines "pit bulls" as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and any mixed breed dog containing these breeds. The ordinance must be passed by a majority of the cities that contract with the county for animal control services and by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. AKC GR is working with its California federations, local dog clubs and local responsible owners and breeders to oppose this ordinance.
Miami-Dade County, FL – The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted 3-1 to allow county voters to decide whether to repeal the current breed-specific ban. "Pit bull" is defined in current law as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American pit bull terriers and any dog which conforms to the standards for these breeds. The State of Florida prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific laws, but the Miami-Dade ordinance was grandfathered in since it was passed before the state law. AKC GR thanks the many Florida residents who have fought this ordinance since its inception in 1989. The issue will be on the August 14 primary ballot.
Hagerstown, MD – The Hagerstown City Council decided to hold a proposal that would have placed numerous restrictions on "pit bulls", defined as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American pit bull terriers, American bulldogs, or any dog with similar physical characteristics. The proposal also contained several inaccurate statements about these breeds. AKC GR issued a Legislative Alert, sent a letter of opposition, and worked with its Maryland federation and other concerned groups to educate the council.
Franklin Lakes, NJ – AKC GR has learned that the Franklin Lakes Board of Health has recommended that the Mayor and Council duly consider placing limits on the number of pets that can be legally kept at any single residence. AKC GR continues to work with the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs in addressing any proposal, and will respond once one is introduced.
Mendham Township, NJ – The Township Committee recently considered a dog ownership limit ordinance. Due to the strong reaction of both Township residents and interested organizations, including the American Kennel Club, the ordinance was unanimously tabled. AKC GR continues to work with the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs in an effort to ensure that any effort on the part of Mendham Township to strengthen their nuisance laws does not include ownership limits.