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2021 LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

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SOME OF THESE PROPOSED LAWS WE SUPPORT

SOME OF THESE PROPOSED LAWS WE OPPOSE

WE APPRECIATE ALL YOUR HELP WRITING TO YOUR LEGISLATORS WHEN WE ASK

AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL

(Many thanks to Stacey Ober and the entire AKC Government Relations Department for all their work)

 

November 8, 2021


https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/us-congress-harmful-arbitrary-breeder-mandates-bill-advancing-contact-representatives/

Dear Club Legislative Liaisons, Officers and Delegates, please take action on this alert, and forward it to your club members asking them to take action too. Scroll down for information and resources on how to take action. A set of arbitrary and harmful federal breeder bills (H.R. 2840 /S. 1385) that would mandate new requirements for certain hobby and professional dog breeders are gaining support in Congress.  We urge all responsible dog owners, breeders and enthusiasts to contact their lawmakers about the harmful consequences of the bills.

While certain aspects of this feel-good measure, called the “Puppy Protection Act”, codify general good practices, other parts establish arbitrary, one-size-fits all mandates that are not in the best interests of all dogs and undermine individual flexibility that allows for best practices and optimal outcomes. In recent months, animal rights or “protection” groups have been pressuring members of Congress to sign onto the bills. More than 175 lawmakers have signed onto the bills as co-sponsors, increasing the likelihood that the measures could advance rapidly in year-end legislative negotiations.  We urge all responsible dog owners, breeders and enthusiasts to take a moment to contact your members of Congress to ask them not to support this “feel-good” measure and the one-size fits all mandates that can harm responsible breeders and specialized breeding practices.  A better approach is to provide resources to help USDA enforce existing pet breeder requirements.  

How This Impacts You: 

These measures would apply to anyone who is subject to USDA breeder/dealer licensing. Breeders are subject to USDA licensing if they maintain more than 4 “breeding females” (a term that is undefined but is generally considered to mean an intact female) and sell or transfer even one of the offspring “sight unseen”. “Breeding females” include any combination of cats, dogs, or other small pet mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. (Learn more).  

Scroll down to learn more about these bills and how to contact your members of Congress.   

Arbitrary requirements include but are not limited to:

  • Mandated indoor space sufficient to allow the tallest dog in an enclosure to stand on his or her hind legs without touching the roof of the enclosure.

  • Mandated unfettered access from dogs’ primary enclosures to an outdoor exercise area large enough that it “allows dogs to extend to full stride”. This creates a potentially dangerous environment for dogs.

  • Mandated annual dental exams.

  • Completely solid flooring, despite scientific recognition that multiple types of high-quality flooring, including engineered slatted flooring, is beneficial in certain types of kennels and with certain breeds.

  • Mandated pre-breeding screenings. No specific details are provided for what the screening would involve or who would make such decisions.

  • Prohibition on the keeping of dogs in enclosures above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees F, regardless of breed or acclimation needs for dogs that hunt, sled, detect explosives, or do other work and thrive in cooler temperatures, or must be acclimated to cooler or warmer temperatures for their safety. 

Further, it prohibits the breeding of a female dog: 

  • Unless pre-screened by a veterinarian

  • If it would produce more than two litters in an 18-month period.

  • Based arbitrarily on the age and size of the dog.

While some portions of the measures include reasonable generalized guidelines for canine care, arbitrary requirements that ignore best practices for individual outcomes are not appropriate for federal mandates. Arbitrary, one-size-fits-all requirements do not take into account the broad range of breeds and types of dogs or best health and breeding practices. They also do not allow for creative approaches that allow expert breeders and owners to provide optimal care for their individual dogs and advance the art and science of responsible dog breeding.  

To learn more, see and share Breeder Expertise, Thoughtful Analysis Demonstrate Dangerous Flaws in ‘Feel Good’ Dog Law.

What you Can Do:

Most members of Congress want to do the right thing for dogs, but they are not experts in this area. It’s likely they do not understand the nuances or unintended consequences of arbitrary legislation that may “sound good” to a non-expert. They also hear a lot from animal rights/ animal protection groups, and they also rely on hearing from constituents. Unless we help educate our lawmakers, we will be subject to bad laws. 

Your member of Congress needs to hear from you. Please contact your member of Congress and your U.S. Senators today. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find out who represents you and get their contact information

Tell them: 

  1. H.R. 2840/S. 1385 mandate arbitrary one-size-fits-all requirements for temperatures, kennel engineering standards, and breeding bans that are not appropriate for all types or breeds of dogs and could harm some dogs.

  2. Explain you are a constituent. Respectfully share your experience and concerns as a dog owner/breeder/expert and based on the talking points above. Breeders: Relying on your experience, explain in practical terms how the new mandates would adversely impact your breeding program.

  3. Ask them to not support advancing the bills out of committee.

  4. If you can, let the AKC GR team (doglaw@akc.org) know you contacted your lawmakers and if you received any response.

For questions or more information, contact doglaw@akc.org, visit www.akcgr.org or contact 919-816-3720. 

Thank you for your action to protect the future of our breeds and the integrity of responsible, expert breeders. 

 

AT THE STATE LEVEL

(Many thanks to Stacey Ober and the entire AKC Government Relations Department for all their work)

 

2021 WRAP UP

New England State Capitol Issues December 2021

By AKC Government Relations

News from the New England State Capitols – Please share with your networks.

Connecticut – In an October 28 Connecticut Post opinion, CT Votes for Animals urged action to address animal fighting in the state by calling upon the General Assembly to pass legislation on animal fighting paraphernalia as proposed by the Humane Society of the United States and supported by their organization in 2019 and 2021.  AKC GR will closely monitor any bill text in this regard.

 Connecticut – After attending the National Council of Insurance Lawmakers summer meeting in Boston and speaking with AKC GR, Representative Tammy Nuccio is contemplating filing legislation to ban homeowner and renter insurers from discriminating against owners of dogs based upon their breed, size or appearance.

New England State Capitol Issues November 2021

By AKC Government Relations

 

News from the New England State Capitols – Please share with your networks!

Connecticut – Deputy Speaker Mushinsky has met with two state agencies regarding legislation for therapy dog recognition. A bill is expected to be re-drafted and re-filed for next year.

Connecticut – In an October 28 Connecticut Post opinion, CT Votes for Animals urged action to address animal fighting in the state by calling upon the General Assembly to pass legislation on animal fighting paraphernalia as proposed by the Humane Society of the United States and supported by their organization in 2019 and 2021.  AKC GR will closely monitor any bill text in this regard. 

Connecticut – After attending the National Council of Insurance Lawmakers summer meeting in Boston and speaking with AKC GR, Representative Tammy Nuccio is contemplating filing legislation to ban homeowner and renter insurers from discriminating against owners of dogs based upon their breed, size or appearance.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/ct-adjourns-legislative-session-no-bills-harmful-dogs-adopted/

Please share this update with Legislative Liaisons, Club Members, and Responsible Dog Owners in Connecticut.

Today, the Connecticut Senate formally closed the 2021 legislative session by adjourning sine die, a day after the House adjourned for the year.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) is pleased that the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s bill impacting shelters was adopted, while bills that would have negatively impacted responsible dog owners and breeders were not. 

Animals Imported by Animal Shelters Must Have A Veterinarian Exam

The American Kennel Club and Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO) supported this bill, which was filed by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.  Among its many provisions, HB 6504 Regarding Animal Welfare, closes a loophole in the definitions for “animal importer” and “animal shelter”, effectively requiring a veterinary examination of animals brought into the state by animal shelters.  The bill also updates fine amounts for violations.  In addition, it allows towns to sign mutual aid agreements for temporary animal control officers when personnel are out on leave; and requires regional pounds to comply with municipal pound construction, maintenance, and sanitation standards.  The bill is now Public Act 21-90.

No Municipal Restrictions on Pet Shops

If passed, HB 6542 would have allowed each city and town to create and enforce its own obligations and restrictions on state-licensed pet shops, including mandates that shops source pets only from animal shelters and rescues.  AKC opposed the measure and issued an alert outlining the reasons why.

Decision Designating a Commission to Review Animal Cruelty Laws Delayed

As favorably released by the Joint Judiciary Committee and passed in the Senate, SB 923 would have charged the Connecticut Sentencing Commission with reviewing state animal cruelty laws and their penalties, studying trends in this area of law, and making recommendations for legislation.  The proposal was supported by the University of Connecticut Law School’s Animal Law Department, state-based animal rights organizations, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Humane Society of the United States.  However, to establish a balanced perspective, both the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and AKC expressed the need for animal welfare experience and input during this process.  The bill did not get a vote in the House of Representatives before the session adjourned and has failed.

Breeder Licensing Bill Abandoned

SB 458 would have established a state license for companion animal breeders.  After AKC met with the bill sponsor and provided her with research on the existing oversight authority for anyone selling more than two litters a year, the senator decided not to push for adoption of the bill this session.

A sincere “thank you” is extended to the CFDRDO and all the dog owners who took action this year!  AKC Government Relations (GR) will continue to monitor local proposals impacting dogs and their breeders and owners in Connecticut and provide any information as developments warrant.  For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

 

 

June 10, 2021

 

CT SB 925 2021 Regular Session

TITLE: AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPORT, SALE AND POSSESSION OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS, LIONS, LEOPARDS, BLACK RHINOCEROS, WHITE RHINOCEROS AND GIRAFFES.

DESCRIPTION: To prohibit the import and trade of any big six African species.

NEW BILL ACTIONS

06/09/2021

Public Act 21-52 (LCO)

06/10/2021

Transmitted by Secretary of the State to Governor

06/10/2021

Transmitted to the Secretary of State

 

CT SB 123 2021 Regular Session

 

TITLE: AN ACT INCREASING THE PENALTY FOR THE INTENTIONAL INJURY OF A POLICE ANIMAL OR DOG IN A VOLUNTEER CANINE SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM.

DESCRIPTION

To increase the penalty for intentionally injuring a police animal or dog in a volunteer canine search and rescue team.

NEW BILL ACTIONS

06/09/2021

Bill Passed Temporarily

 

 

JUNE 4, 2021

 

CT SB 925 2021 Regular Session

TITLE: AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPORT, SALE AND POSSESSION OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS, LIONS, LEOPARDS, BLACK RHINOCEROS, WHITE RHINOCEROS AND GIRAFFES.

 

DESCRIPTION: To prohibit the import and trade of any big six African species.

NEW BILL ACTIONS

06/03/2021

Disagreeing Action, Tabled for Calendar, Senate

06/02/2021

House Passed as Amended by House Amendment Schedule A

06/02/2021

House Adopted Senate Amendment Schedule B

06/02/2021

House Passed as Amended by Senate Amendment Schedule B

06/02/2021

House Adopted House Amendment Schedule A 9812

06/02/2021

Immediate Transmittal to the Senate

MAY 14, 2021

 

Connecticut –HB 6318 would update Connecticut’s statutes to align with federal service animal definitions and requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It also would educate the public regarding the differences between service, emotional support, and therapy animals and raise awareness about the rights and responsibilities of these animal owners. AKC GR submitted testimony in support. The House passed the bill and it is now on the Senate calendar waiting for a vote.

Connecticut – HB 6504 would require a veterinary examination of animals brought into the state by animal shelters, among other helpful provisions. AKC GR issued an alert and testified in support of it. On April 14, 2021, it was added to the House calendar and a vote is pending.

Connecticut – SB 123 would increase the penalties for injuring or killing a police K-9 or volunteer search and rescue K-9. AKC GR supports the bill, and it was voted favorably by the Joint Public Safety Committee on March 4, 2021.  AKC GR posted an update urging supportive emails as the bill is now on the Senate calendar.

Connecticut – SB 923 would require the Connecticut Sentencing Commission to review the state’s animal cruelty laws and make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly. AKC and the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO) are concerned that members of the commission do not have animal welfare experience. Testimony was submitted by AKC GR and CFDRDO, consistent with that of the Department of Agriculture, requesting collaboration with the department and subject matter experts. AKC GR had a phone call with the Executive Director of the commission to discuss the scope of such a review and secured a commitment to obtain input from animal welfare subject matter experts such as AKC and CFDRDO.  The bill has passed the Senate and is now on the House calendar for a vote. 

 

MARCH 2021

Connecticut – The Joint Human Services Committee received testimony regarding HB 6318 on February 16, 2021. The bill would update Connecticut’s statutes to align with federal service animal definitions and requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It also would educate the public regarding the differences between service, emotional support, and therapy animals and raise awareness about the rights and responsibilities of these animal owners. AKC GR submitted testimony in support.

Connecticut – The Department of Agriculture filed an animal welfare proposal that had a public hearing on March 3, 2021. AKC GR issued an alert and testified in support of HB 6504 together with the President of the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO) at the Joint Environment Committee because it would require a veterinary examination of animals brought into the state by animal shelters, among other helpful provisions.

Connecticut – On Friday, March 5, 2021, the Joint Planning and Development Committee will considered HB 6542 authorizing municipalities to adopt and enforce obligations and restrictions on pet retail sales. AKC GR issued an alert and testified in opposition. State law provides licensure, uniform animal care and conditions standards, and consumer protections for those who acquire pets at retail. Adopting this measure would result in a patchwork of different rules across the state.

Connecticut –SB 123 would increase the penalties for injuring or killing a police K-9 or volunteer search and rescue K-9. AKC GR supports the bill, and it was voted favorably by the Joint Public Safety Committee on March 4, 2021.

Connecticut – Several bills impacting dog owners have been pre-filed for this year and AKC GR is meeting virtually with the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners to discuss them. For example, SB 458 proposes a companion animal breeders license.  AKC GR has researched existing oversight authority for anyone selling more than two litters a year and provided information to the bill sponsor.

Connecticut – On March 12, 2021, the Joint Judiciary Committee heard testimony on SB 923, which would require the Connecticut Sentencing Commission review the state’s animal cruelty laws and make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly. AKC and the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (CFDRDO) are concerned that members of the commission do not have animal welfare experience. Testimony was submitted by AKC GR and CFDRDO, consistent with that of the Department of Agriculture, requesting collaboration with the department and subject matter experts. AKC GR has scheduled a meeting with the Executive Director of the commission to discuss the scope of such a review and available options to ensure input from animal welfare subject matter experts.

AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

JUNE 16, 2021

Please share this alert with Dog Owners in Stamford, Connecticut.

https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/stamford-ct-ask-committee-amend-proposed-tethering-ordinance/

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This Tuesday, June 22, 2021 the city of Stamford’s Legislative and Rules Committee has scheduled a public hearing at 7pm to receive input on a proposed tethering ordinance.

The committee made significant improvements to the original proposal over the past six months after receiving input from American Kennel Club Government Relations (AKC GR) and other stakeholders, but AKC believes that further amendments are necessary to ensure a fair and reasonable ordinance.  Those who wish to testify remotely or submit comments are encouraged to do so using the information provided below.

Summary:

LR30.103, as amended by committee, relating to the control of dogs would prohibit an owner or keeper from tethering a dog outside unless:

  • The owner or keeper is outside with the dog; and

  • The dog is in the owner or keeper’s view.

AKC GR appreciates the committee’s work to refine the draft and recommends further amending the text to require an owner or keeper be on the property when a dog is tethered outside. It may not be practical or necessary to always have a dog within sight while tethered.

Dogs should never be tethered in a manner that could cause harm to them.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes that tethering is a practical and humane method for training and restraining dogs in a variety of circumstances. AKC opposes arbitrary restrictions on tethering, which can undermine the wellbeing of dogs, responsible dog ownership, and safe training and recreational activities.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  1. Anyone wishing to submit comments regarding LR 30.103 or speak at the remotely held public hearing must complete this form.  Please note that those who wish to speak remotely at the hearing on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at 7 pm must sign up by 2pm that day

  2. The hearing can be accessed by computer, tablet or smartphone at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81370923741;  or at www.zoom.com – Webinar ID: 813 7092 3741; or by telephone at 1 646 558 8656 – Webinar ID: 813 7092 3741.

AKC GR will provide additional information as developments warrant.  For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.