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Legislative Update: Victories in New York and Indiana; New Battle in California

New York

In my last biweekly legislative update I reported that Ballston Spa, N.Y., was considering imposing a limit on the number of dogs kept at a residence within the city limits, even if they were not owned by the resident or were being housed temporarily. On July 9, 2012, the Ballston Spa Village Board rejected the proposed new limit of five dogs per household, reportedly “after hearing from many concerned, responsible AKC club members and dog owners.”


In another victory for AKC and its constituents, the county commission in Porter County, Ind., agreed on July 2, 2012, to reexamine and revise a proposal regarding breeders and their dogs. According to AKC, the original proposal would have required anyone with a “breeding kennel” to comply with USDA regulations for commercial breeding operations, including periodic inspections.

AKC expressed concern that “breeding kennel” was defined as anyone who produces even one litter a year from “domestic pets” that they own or house. The proposal also defined a kennel in one section as anyone owning 10 or more intact animals of the same species, but in a later section said that anyone with more than five intact animals must obtain a breeding kennel permit.

It also would have required that anyone who owns an intact animal – even one – obtain an annual “breeder permit.” The permit would allow its holder to both own intact dogs and to sell one litter of puppies per year. Although the permit would have been at no cost, it required owners to register any litter with animal control and to get a “county number” prior to selling a puppy. Anyone with an intact animal who could not produce necessary permits on request would have been subject to having their dog or dogs impounded.

A great deal more was included in the original 40-page proposal, including provisions for sterilization of “dangerous dogs” and vague provisions for handling impounded dogs and litters, much of which AKC did not condone. As with numerous previous proposed laws, AKC said it is “inappropriate to require hobby breeders and owners of intact dogs” to be forced to comply with regulations designed for large-scale commercial kennels.


A different kind of law, one that targets pet groomers, has been proposed in California. On July 7, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that state Senator Juan Vargas has proposed legislation that would create a voluntary certification program for pet groomers in the state.

According to Around the Capitol, a website that looks at California politics and policy, if enacted the bill would “establish the requirements necessary to obtain a certificate as a pet groomer or a pet bather and brusher, and set forth the duties and obligations” of a groomer or bather-brusher. It would also create the California Pet Grooming Council to set up a fee schedule for certification and establish guidelines for “denial, suspension or revocation” of certificates.

While Vargas contends that the bill is “intended to protect pets from untrained groomers,” according to the Times, pet groomers fear that SB 969 will eventually lead to mandatory licensing that will cost them money and impose oversight that they feel is unnecessary.

Vargas’ original goal was to require pet groomers to obtain a state license, which would have required them to pass a test and carry insurance. A similar bill failed to pass in 2005, and the first version of Vargas’ bill reverted to a voluntary program after small business groups expressed opposition.

Under the new proposal, groomers would have to complete approximately 900 hours of training and pay a fee to be certified by the state. The bill passed through the Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Assembly committee two weeks ago on a 5-4 vote, and passed the Senate with a 22-14 vote.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.
  • Marita Patterson July 17, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Finally – a politician with some common sense!!

    “According to Mayor Frances Hime, a proposed ordinance which would have introduced Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) to the town, will no longer go forward after the city council voted against banning pit bulls, but instead proposes to introduce stiffer penalties to vicious animals and irresponsible owners.”

    Read more here: http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/1527-proposed-pit-bull-ban-dismissed-in-arkansas-town

    Thank you, Mayor Hime !

  • Austin Faustino August 28, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    I really feel that breed specific legislation should really be illegal. A dog being vicious isn’t according to the breed, but on who brought up the dog, and also for what purpose.

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