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CA Ear Crop Bill Developments
[Wednesday, March 16, 2005]

AKC has learned that a veterinarians' extremist animal rights group recently mailed action alerts to veterinarians across California pressuring them to support AB418, Asm. Paul Koretz's bill to ban ear cropping. The inflammatory postcards contain several statements designed to mislead the veterinary community.

It is critical that California veterinarians, as well as legislators, hear from a responsible, reasonable resource on AB418 and other animal legislation in the state. Fanciers are therefore strongly encouraged to contact their own veterinarians and urge them not to support this bill. Veterinarians should be concerned about allowing the government and public opinion too much control over their practices. Once legislators determine they can ban certain elective procedures, they may be just a short step away from removing veterinarians' and owners' rights to make informed decisions about animal care and treatment.

Concerned fanciers are also urged to contact their own state representatives and ask them to oppose AB418. To find out who represents you in the California legislature, click here: Your voice is especially important if your representative sits on the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, where AB418 has been referred. Membership is listed below.

Keep in mind that legislators need to hear from their constituents! Please share this alert with your fellow dog owners and ask them to get involved. AKC will post updates as soon as they become available. An alert will also be mailed to all affiliated dog clubs in California.

Assembly Committee on Public Safety

Asm. Mark Leno (D) [Chair]
Phone:916/319-2013, FAX:916/319-2113, Email:

Asm. Jay La Suer (R) [Vice Chair]
Phone:916/319-2077, FAX:916/319-2177, Email:

Asm. Rebecca Cohn (D)
Phone:916/319-2024, FAX:916/319-2124, Email:

Asm. Mervyn Dymally (D)
Phone:916/319-2052, FAX:916/319-2152, Email:

Asm. Jackie Goldberg (D)
Phone:916/319-2045, FAX:916/319-2145, Email:

Asm. Ira Ruskin (D)
Phone:916/319-2021, FAX:916/319-2121, Email:

Asm. Tod Spitzer (R)
Phone:916/319-2071, FAX:916/319-2171, Email:

Georgia Considers BSL [breed specific legislation]
[Friday, January 28, 2005]

Many thanks to the concerned fanciers and dog owners in Georgia who contacted AKC this week regarding H78, a bill to ban "pit bulls" in the state. For those who are not yet aware, H78 defines "pit bulls" as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any dogs displaying characteristics of those breeds. Current owners of these dogs will be permitted to keep their animals, but only if the dogs are spayed and neutered, kept in a secure area, and leashed and muzzled when not confined. Violators will face fines of $1000-$5000 and/or up to six months in prison.

Since first learning of the bill's introduction, the Georgia Canine Coalition and AKC's Canine Legislation department have been in touch with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Earnest Williams, as well as other key Georgia officials within the agriculture community. To date, Rep. Williams has been open to the fancy's point of view and in fact had a lengthy meeting with Coalition members this week. When he expressed the many safety concerns he has regarding dangerous dog problems in his district, fanciers were quick to point out that stronger enforcement of existing laws would be a better way to address those issues than would banning certain breeds. Many Georgia legislators have stated that they share AKC's position.

What You Can Do:

  • The Georgia Canine Coalition is working closely with both Rep. Williams and other legislators to oppose H78. To find out how you can help, contact

  • To date, Rep. Williams has been very receptive to dog owners' polite, concise, arguments as to why breed-specific legislation is ineffective. Georgia dog owners who wish to express their opposition to H78 may do so by contacting him (see below). Please remember to be respectful!

    The Honorable Earnest Williams

  • Watch AKC's Web site for further updates.

Newly-Amended IL Bill Targets Fanciers
[Saturday, March 12, 2005]
HB1128 has resurfaced in Illinois with amended language that will directly impact anyone who shows and/or breeds dogs. Fanciers will recall that this bill originally would have permitted cities and counties to enact breed-specific laws. Dog owners successfully convinced legislators not to support such language and were pleased to learn that Rep. Jerry Mitchell had amended his bill accordingly. In rewriting HB1128, however, Rep. Mitchell has now proposed several changes to the state's Animal Control Act, including a requirement that counties impose dog and cat registration fees. The bill further requires the fee for unaltered animals to be at least $10 higher than the fee for unaltered animals.

AKC and Illinois dog fanciers are concerned that counties could use this provision as an excuse to enact extreme, unreasonable licensing fees for those who keep intact animals. Such fees could prove unaffordable to some responsible owners and breeders, many of whom may only keep intact animals for the purposes of participating in conformation dog shows or performance events. Additionally, Illinois is already struggling with low licensing compliance, and extreme differentials could force those rates to drop even further.

Rep. Mitchell has repeatedly stated his desire to address dangerous dog and irresponsible dog ownership problems in his state. AKC strongly supports enforceable, non-discriminatory guidelines for doing so, but not in the form of unreasonable licensing fees.

Illinois fanciers are urged to contact their representatives today and express your concern regarding HB1128. To find out who represents you, visit: and click on Legislator Lookup. Purebred dog owners should also voice their concerns to the bill sponsor.

The Honorable Jerry Mitchell
209-N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0535
Fax: (217) 782-5257

For more information, contact:

Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association

Canine Legislation department

BSL Defeated in IL, OK
[Friday, February 25, 2005]
AKC is pleased to report that thanks to strong opposition by responsible dog owners, two state-level breed-specific initiatives have been stopped in their tracks. In Oklahoma, Sen. Reynolds recently dropped his support of SB247, which would have allowed municipalities to enact breed-specific laws. Without the Senator's support, the bill effectively died in committee.

On Wednesday, HB1128 was defeated in the Illinois House Committee on Agriculture and Conservation by a vote of 9-6. The bill would have repealed an existing state law that prohibits breed-specific dangerous dog legislation.

AKC congratulates responsible dog owners in Oklahoma and Illinois on their swift efforts. We urge you, however, to be watchful of the situation as there is always a chance that other pending animal bills could be amended to include BSL. Furthermore, both bill sponsors remain very concerned about dangerous dog problems in their respective states. However, they now seem more receptive to the notion that strong enforcement of reasonable regulations, rather than breed bans, are a more effective solution. Dog owners are encouraged to work with the sponsors in this regard. Additionally, please contact and thank them for their consideration.

The Honorable Jim Reynolds
State Capitol Bldg #534-B
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

The Honorable Jerry Mitchell
209-N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0535
Fax: (217) 782-5257



POSTED 3/18/05


New Jersey: Awarding Noneconomic Damages for Injury to Pets

Bill Number: A 2411
Primary Sponsor: Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D-1)
ASPCA Position: Oppose
Action Needed: If you are a constituent of Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, please call to thank him for preventing a full assembly vote.

A 2411, as amended, would severely restrict owners’ ability to collect civil damages for injury to their pets.  Although New Jersey courts have begun to award noneconomic damages in such cases (such as for the intentional infliction of emotional distress), this bill would preclude this sort of progressive thought and allow only economic damages (such as replacement value and cremation expenses).  Further, A 2411 would allow only those who have been convicted of animal cruelty to be sued — an excessively high bar to meet given the difficulty of proving cruelty, and also the many cases involving reckless or negligent behavior that may not rise to the level of cruelty. 

Fortunately, when A 2411 was posted for a vote by the full assembly on Monday, Assemblyman Van Drew graciously agreed to hold it. 

Immediate Help Needed on New Mexico Dangerous Dog Bills
[Monday, March 14, 2005]
In the past few months, New Mexico dog owners have been very vocal about expressing their opposition to proposed breed-specific legislation (SB188). However, fanciers are now extremely concerned about two dangerous dog bills that are moving quickly through the legislature - HB400 and SB432. Your help is needed quickly to defeat them.

While HB400 and SB432 do not target certain breeds, they are problematic for many reasons. First, they contain many overly broad definitions that could easily make criminals out of responsible dog owners. For example, a dog could be defined as "potentially dangerous" for a range of normal canine behavior, including "acting in a highly aggressive manner within a fenced yard." Additionally, HB400/SB432 punishes dog owners equally whether their dog has been defined "potentially dangerous" or "dangerous." Thus, an owner whose dog has barked at someone from behind a fence could face the same strict punishment as one whose dog has seriously injured or killed another person or animal. Of further concern is the fact that animal control authorities would have the right to seize a dog they felt to be dangerous or potentially dangerous, but they would not be required to notify the owner of the seizure or the investigation.

New Mexico fanciers, who would strongly support a reasonable, enforceable dangerous dog law, have been working diligently with state legislators to address the concerns noted above. They need your help!!

What You Can Do:
  • Dog owners in New Mexico should immediately call or e-mail (there is no time for letters) their representatives and urge them to oppose HB400 and SB432 as written. HB400 has already passed the House and is now in the Senate Conservation Committee. SB432 recently passed the Senate and is now before the House Judiciary Committee. Please contact the members of these committees, as well as your own representatives, and respectfully ask them to vote "No" on HB400 and SB432.

  • Encourage legislators to instead work with New Mexico dog owners to formulate a reasonable dangerous dog law that will help protect all residents, including responsible dog owners.

  • Visit the New Mexico Legislature's web site to find out the most current bill status, read the bill text, or to find out who represents you.
For more information, contact:

Rio Grande Kennel Club

AKC's Canine Legislation department

Oklahoma May Permit BSL [breed specific legislation] in Cities -- Updated [Tuesday, February 01, 2005]
AKC has learned that Rep. Guy Liebmann has withdrawn H1282 from consideration. Congratulations to the many dog owners who alerted Rep. Liebmann to the problems with breed-specific legislation! However, Sen. Jim Reynolds's companion bill (S247) is still scheduled for introduction next week. Please keep up the concerned phone calls, letters and e-mails! See below for additional information.

[Monday, January 24, 2005]

Second BSL Bill Introduced in Oklahoma

A second piece of breed-specific legislation was prefiled in Oklahoma this week. Sponsored by Rep. Guy Liebmann, H1282 would allow municipalities to regulate "pit bulls," potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs based on their breed. AKC opposes this measure for the reasons outlined in our alert on the similar S247 (see below), but we need your help! Please contact the author of the bill immediately and explain why H1282 is poor public policy. Ask him to withdraw his support from the bill!

Rep. Guy Liebmann
Oklahoma House of Representatives
State Capitol Bldg
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

[Wednesday, January 19, 2005]

Oklahoma is currently one of 12 states that prohibit municipalities from enacting breed-specific laws. That would change if S247 (scheduled to be introduced February 7) is allowed to pass. Sponsored by Sen. Jim Reynolds, the bill allows cites and counties to regulate dangerous dogs based on breed.

The American Kennel Club strongly supports sound, enforceable, non-discriminatory legislation to govern dog ownership, and we appreciate legislators’ desire to keep communities safe for both people and dogs. That’s why we work closely with elected officials and the general dog owning public to promote responsible dog ownership, enforcement of strong leash laws, and development of clear guidelines to manage dangerous dog problems. Such methods can help prevent dog bites and other canine–related accidents from occurring. Conversely, banning or restricting certain breeds—as S247 permits—will do little to promote public safety.

Oklahoma’s current dangerous dog law forces all dog owners to be responsible regardless of the breed they own. Stronger enforcement of the existing law, rather than arbitrary, expensive new legislation, will best protect Oklahoma residents. AKC strongly opposes S247, and we urge concerned dog owners to do the same.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact the bill sponsor and voice your opposition to S247. Ask him to withdraw the bill from consideration.
    The Honorable Jim Reynolds
    State Capitol Bldg #534-B
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105

  • Watch AKC’s Web site for further updates. S247 will likely be referred to a committee in early February, and the Canine Legislation department will post more details at that time.

For more information on this or other legislative issues, please contact the Canine Legislation department (


for South Carolina legislation news, see:

Breeder Licensing Bills Introduced in Tennessee
[Monday, March 07, 2005]
Hobby breeders could soon be considered "dealers" in Tennessee if H148 or its companion S1686 are enacted. Both bills would require anyone who breeds and sells more than one litter of puppies per year to be licensed as a "dealer." In Tennessee, dealers must be inspected by the state and pay anywhere from $125-$1000 annually for the cost of a license, depending on the number of animals sold. Dealers must also keep records of the names and addresses of individuals to whom they have sold pets.

As part of our concern for the welfare of dogs, the American Kennel Club understands the desire to address irresponsible breeding practices in Tennessee. We further believe that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. We support and promote these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs and similar outreach efforts. However, AKC opposes the concept of licensing hobby breeders. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the health and welfare of dogs without restricting the rights of responsible owners.

Arguments Against H148/S1686:
  • Tennessee law already requires those who buy or sell more than 25 animals per year to be licensed and inspected by the state. Lowering this threshold to one litter per year will be costly and difficult to enforce.

  • Current budget and staffing levels will not be able to accommodate the thousands of breeders who will be encompassed by this bill. Passage of H148/S1686 will therefore likely increase the chance that truly irresponsible breeders will slip through the cracks.

  • The federal Animal Welfare Act specifically exempts from licensing hobby breeders who sell directly to the consumer. Congress did not intend for these individuals to be licensed, and states should follow this model.

  • The American Kennel Club inspects and investigates over 5,000 kennels each year, including hobby breeders. When AKC inspectors find kennels that do not meet our minimum care and conditions requirements, they educate and encourage those breeders to raise their standards or face suspension of their AKC registration privileges. Proper authorities are also alerted to any cases of animal neglect.

  • Responsible hobby breeders give the individual care and human contact that each puppy needs in order to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted companion and neighbor. Often, they also have more time to screen potential dog owners and to educate them about responsible dog ownership. Forcing hobbyists out of the sport would therefore actually deprive citizens of a very valuable resource when purchasing a pet.
What You Can Do:

HB148 and SB1686 have been referred to the Agricultural Committees in their respective houses. Concerned fanciers should contact the committee members and urge them to vote "no" on these bills. Contact information is listed below. Your voice is particularly important if either of your representatives sit on these committees. To find out who represents you in the Tennessee Legislature, visit this page.

Contact the bill sponsors to express your opposition.

Rep. Michael Turner (HB148)
17 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243-0100

Sen. Stephen Cohen (SB1686)
8 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243-0030
Phone: 615-741-4108

For more information, contact:

Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee

Canine Legislation department

Tri-Star Kennel Club
(615) 384-9100

House Agriculture Committee Members (HB148)
Rep. Eugene E. Davidson (D) [Chair]
Phone:615/741-3979, Email:

Rep. Stratton Bone (D) [Vice Chair]

Rep. William Baird (R)
Phone:615/741-3335, FAX:615/532-8221

Rep. Willie Butch Borchert (D)

Rep. J. Christopher Clem (R)

Rep. Chris Crider (R)

Rep. Bill Dunn (R)
Phone: 615/741-1721

Rep. Dolores Gresham (R)

Rep. John Litz (D)
Phone:615/741-6877, FAX:615/741-1041

Rep. Steve K. McDaniel (R)
Phone:615/741-0750, FAX:615/253-0214

Rep. Frank S. Niceley (R)

Rep. Jack Sharp (R)
Phone:615/741-1934, FAX:615/741-1005

Rep. Johnny Shaw (D)

Rep. Eric H. Swafford (R)
Phone 615-741-2343, FAX: 615-253-0230

Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Agriculture (SB1686)
Sen. Jerry W. Cooper (D) [Chair]

Sen. Steve Southerland (R) [Vice Chair]

Sen. Jim Bryson (R)
Phone:615/741-2495, FAX:615/741-7200

Sen. Tim Burchett (R)
Phone:615/741-1766, FAX:615/741-4200

Sen. Charlotte Burks (D)
Phone:615/741-3978, FAX:615/741-8744

Sen. Douglas S. Jackson (D)

Sen. Rosalind Kurita (D)

Sen. Don McLeary (D)

Sen. Mike Williams (R)
Phone:615/741-2061, FAX:615/741-9526


Fanciers, Hunters Concerned About Texas Cruelty Bill
[Thursday, February 03, 2005]

Hunters and dog fanciers in Texas are extremely concerned about HB326 and its companion, SB172. The identical bills would amend the state's cruelty law in several ways. First, the measures make it a crime to cause bodily injury to an animal, with "animal" being defined as any "nonhuman mammal, bird or captive amphibian or reptile." The exemption for wild creatures (those that are often hunted) has been removed. Furthermore, while the existing cruelty law includes a straightforward exemption for those who hunt, fish or trap, HB326/SB172 changes that language to say that hunting "may be used as a defense" if you are prosecuted for animal cruelty. These changes mean that hunters could more easily be charged with cruelty and consequently be forced to defend themselves in court.

HB326/SB172 would also criminalize "training or conditioning" one animal to fight with another. While Texas dog owners strongly oppose dog fighting, they worry that training for field trials and hunt or coonhound tests could be included in this definition. Those who use treadmills and similar devices to keep their dogs in shape for competition also worry that under HB326/S172, mere evidence of this equipment would create a presumption that owners are training dogs to fight.

Texas fanciers and sportsmen strongly support proper care and humane treatment of all animals through enforcement of the state's existing cruelty statute. They firmly believe in dog owners' responsibility to provide adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship, and training in appropriate behavior. Although they strongly support preventing cruelty to animals, they believe that HB326/SB172 includes vague definitions that could not only criminalize hunting, but would also eliminate an owner's intent, thereby subjecting innocent individuals to the full force of a felony conviction.

What You Can Do:

  • H326 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, while S172 was referred to the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. Contact the members of those committees to express your concerns!

    House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock
    Capitol Bldg #E2.162
    Austin, TX 78768-2910

    Chair: Rep. Rick Hardcastle
    Phone:512/463-0526, FAX:512/463-6003

    Vice-Chair: Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson

    Rep. Betty Brown
    Phone:512/463-0458, FAX:512/463-2040, Email:

    Rep. Lon Burnam
    Phone:512/463-0740, Email:

    Rep. Jessica Farrar

    Rep. Abel Herrero

    Rep. Dora Olivo
    Phone:512/463-0494, FAX:512/463-1403

    Senate Criminal Justice
    Sam Houston Bldg #335
    Austin, TX 78711

    Chair: Sen. John Whitmire
    (512) 463-0115
    Vice-Chair: Sen. Kel Seliger
    (512) 463-0131

    Sen. John Carona (512) 463-0116
    Sen. Rodney Ellis (512) 463-0113
    Sen. Juan Hinojosa 512) 463-0120
    Sen. Steve Ogden (512) 463-0105
    Sen. Tommy Williams (512) 463-0104

  • For additional information, contact:
    Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
    Mary Beth Duerler
    (210) 822-6763

Vermont Considers Breeder Licensing
[Wednesday, February 23, 2005]

Attention Vermont fanciers! Sen. John Campbell is sponsoring S66, a bill that would amend the definition of "pet merchant" to include anyone who sells, exchanges, or donates animals. Duly incorporated humane societies would be exempt. Under existing law in Vermont, "pet merchants" must be licensed by the state at a cost of $150 per year.

If S66 is allowed to pass, thousands of hobby breeders—those who lovingly breed to share healthy, well-socialized puppies with others—will be required to be licensed and regulated by the state. Many may not be able to afford to continue their breeding programs under the burden of the proposed regulations. Consequently, puppy buyers in search of purebred dogs will seek out less reputable breeders who have little regard for the welfare of the dogs they produce and who do not accept responsibility for placing puppies in caring, responsible homes. Potential pet purchasers may also be deterred from pet ownership as a result of increased costs that will be passed on to consumers. AKC is also concerned about how S66 would be enforced, given the scope and cost of the proposed licensing expansion.

S66 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Committee on Economic Housing, Development, and General Affairs on Friday, February 25th at 9:30 a.m. in Room 27 of the Senate chamber. Your help is needed immediately to help defeat this bill!

What You Can Do:

  • Attend Friday’s hearing and express your opposition to S66. If you cannot attend, contact the members of the Senate Committee on Economic Housing, Development, and General Affairs and urge them not to pass the bill.

    Committee Members
    Sen. Vincent Illuzzi (R) [Chair]

    Sen. Mark A. MacDonald (D) [Vice Chair]

    Sen. Matt Dunne (D)

    Sen. Rod Gander (D)

    Sen. Hinda Miller (D)

    Sen. Kevin J. Mullin (R)

  • Contact the bill sponsor to express your opposition.

    Sen. John Campbell
    State House 115 State St
    Montpelier, VT 05633-5301

For more information, contact:
Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs

Canine Legislation department

Washington State Dog Owners: We Need Your Help!
[Tuesday, February 01, 2005]
Legislation has once again been introduced (H1016) that would prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners based on the breed of dog they own. A similar bill was considered in Washington last year but failed to pass. Your help is needed to ensure that this positive legislation is finally enacted into law!

Finding and keeping homeowners' insurance has been a growing problem for responsible dog owners in recent years. In many instances, families have had no choice but to give up their canine companions because of exorbitant premiums or companies' outright refusal to cover their breed. H1016 presents a very reasonable alternative—insurance companies can raise rates or refuse coverage only if a dog has been deemed dangerous based on existing state law.

The American Kennel Club believes that insurance companies should determine coverage of a dog-owning household based on the dog's deeds, not the dog's breed, and we encourage your support of this important bill!

What You Can Do:

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