Saturday, March 28, 2009

CA- Local Battles- that need to be addressed on the local level

Laguna Woods, CA – The City of Laguna Woods is considering an ordinance requiring spay/neuter of all dogs over four months of age, with few exceptions. These exceptions include a dog “used to show, compete, or breed”, so long as the dog has competed in at least 3 events in a calendar year, earned a title from a purebred registry, or is registered with a purebred breed club. Service animals and dogs unable to be spayed/neutered are also exempted. The AKC wrote a letter to the Laguna Woods City Council expressing our opposition to mandatory spay/neuter laws. The ordinance will be discussed at a future meeting.

Laguna Woods, CA – The Laguna Woods City Council passed an ordinance to limit ownership to three dogs or cats per household in the community. While this is an increase on the previous limit of one dog or cat, the AKC still opposes laws that limit dog ownership, as they are difficult to enforce and do not address the issue of responsible dog ownership.

Riverside County, CA – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to enact an ordinance that will require an impounded dog be spayed/neutered, even on a first offense. Spaying/neutering will also be required if the owner is cited for three violations of the animal control ordinance. The ordinance further requires all dogs to be microchipped. The Government Relations Department posted a legislative alert, wrote a letter opposing these changes and worked to support local breeders, owners and fanciers in educating the Board of Supervisors on these issues.
The Board also established a committee to define “breeder” and evaluate the success of the ordinance over the next year. Responsible dog owners who are interested in serving on this committee, which will be comprised equally of supporters and opponents of the ordinance, should contact their representative on the Board of Supervisors.

Santa Barbara County, CA – In 2007, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors declined to pass a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance and created a task force to study animal control issues including shelter population issues in the county. A dedicated group of local fanciers, owners and breeders has been attending these meetings, but more help is needed! If you live in the Santa Barbara County area, please consider attending the task force meeting and speak up for the rights of responsible breeders and owners. AKC has sent a letter to the task force and a sample letter to all our constituents in the county.

Lancaster, CA – The City of Lancaster has adopted an ordinance which requires the mandatory spaying/neutering of all Rottweilers, and “pit bulls,” defined as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or any dog with the characteristics of these breeds. The legislation also enhances penalties for dogs deemed dangerous or vicious.

Ukiah, CA – The Ukiah City Council has passed an ordinance which will change the term “owner” to “guardian” in the city code. The AKC has sent a letter opposing the change and supporting the term “owner,” as it places responsibility on people for the care and actions of their dogs. AKC has also provided educational pamphlets to local residents to use in educating their elected officials.

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