2016 Statutory Amendments Table

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Rebecca F. Wisch Publish Year:  2017 Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Primary Citation:  Animal Legal & Historical Center
Summary:

This table details the animal-related legislative changes that occurred across all fifty states in 2016. Links are provided to the amended laws and a summary of the change appears in the adjacent column.

As was the case previous years, many animal-related amendments occurred in states' anti-cruelty laws. Connecticut created a penalty enhancement in its intentional cruelty law for second or subsequent offenses (subsequent offenses going from a class D to class C felony). In 2016, Vermont passed a law that creates an Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board within the Department of Public Safety. The purpose of this board is to advise the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Commissioner of Public Safety on issues involving the cooperation and coordination of all agencies that exercise animal welfare responsibilities.

California, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia enacted or modified their "pets in hot cars" laws. Virginia added a new law that gives civil liability immunity to law-enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and animal control officers who forcibly enter a motor vehicle to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death. California and Ohio added "rescue" provisions that protect any person, not just law enforcement or other agents, from civil and/or criminal liability rescuing an animal in imminent distress, provided that person follows the requirements in the new laws (determining the car is not locked, calling 911 prior to breaking in, staying with the car after rescue, etc.). Massachusetts passed a law that criminalizes leaving a pet in parked car in extreme cold or heat that includes a rescue provision that protects both law enforcement and other persons from civil liability.

In 2016, Hawaii enacted a law entitled, "pet animal or equine animal desertion." Under this law, for the owner or any person in possession of any pet animal or equine animal to desert the pet animal or equine animal. Violation is a petty misdemeanor subject to fine of up to $1,000, in addition to other penalties. If the person violates this law and "and recklessly causes the death of or substantial bodily injury to the pet animal or equine animal," he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,000 (in addition to other penalties).

Ohio joined over 40 other states that prohibit the sexual assault of an animal. Effective March 21, 2017, no person shall knowingly engage in sexual conduct with an animal or knowingly possess, sell, or purchase an animal with the intent that it be subjected to sexual conduct in Ohio. Further, no person shall knowingly organize, promote, aid, or abet in the conduct of an act involving any sexual conduct with an animal. Violation of this new law will be a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Animal fighting amendments appeared in many states. Kentucky changed its law on animal fighting so that it is now limited to dogfighting. Previously, the language covered "four-legged animals." The law also specifically exempts activities of dogs engaged in working or guarding livestock. Maryland made it a misdemeanor to possess an “implement of dogfighting." West Virginia made it illegal for any person to bet or wager money or any other thing of value in any location or place where an animal fighting venture occurs. Violation is a misdemeanor with sentence enhancement for subsequent convictions.

Dog-related laws are a frequent source of change in animal laws. Delaware added a provision to its dog law specifying that, "[d]ogs may not be kept outdoors during a hazardous weather warning issued by the National Weather Service for the local area." A new law designated the "adoptable dog" as the official Georgia state dog.

Delaware also overhauled its dangerous dog code, creating a finding for a "nondangerous dog" and changing both evidence and hearing procedures. Florida also modified its dangerous dog laws. While an appeal is pending after a finding that a dog is "dangerous" is Florida, a dog may not be destroyed.

Two states, Arizona and Louisiana, enacted very similar laws regulating the source of animals sold at pet shops. Pet shops in these states must only obtain animals from breeders licensed by the USDA with no violations within the past two or three years (depending on the type of violation). Alternatively, animal rescues/shelters can provide sources of pets to these stores and dealers. Both states require that the pet store must provide a sign the animal's cage (or other conspicuous location) informing prospective purchasers of the source of the animal, the breeder's name, and USDA license number.

Both California and Rhode Island took aim at the circus industry by enacting laws that prohibit the use of "bullhooks" and other devices intended to cause pain as a means of training elephants. In Rhode Island, violation of the law incurs a fine of not more than $5,000 and imprisonment up to one year, or both fine and imprisonment. California makes it a civil penalty, with a fine of not less than $500 nor more than$10,000 for each violation. Additionally, the restricted species permit for the elephant is subject to immediate suspension or revocation by the department for violation in California.

Changes also appeared in non-traditional areas of the law for animals. Minnesota became the last of the fifty states to enact a pet trust law. Alaska now allows pets (vertebrate living creatures maintained for companionship or pleasure) to be included in domestic violence protection orders. It also became the first state to add a provision to its divorce laws that a court can consider the "the well-being of the animal" in deciding custody of an animal.

Several laws focused on assistance animals. Maine formally adopted the term "assistance animal" in its Human Rights Code. Colorado made it a crime to fraudulently claim a pet is an assistance animal to get a reasonable accommodation in housing. Colorado also created a pilot program for veterans to train their own service dogs. The program identifies a group of up to 10 veterans to pair with dogs. Qualified canine trainers will work with the veterans to use train the dogs for use as service dogs. Virginia became the nineteenth state to outlaw the fraudulent representation of a pet as a service animal.

States also looked at the needs of working animals like police dogs and horses. Illinois enacted the Police Dog Retirement Act, where a retired police dog can be adopted by his or her handler (or other member of the staff). Colorado now uses the term "certified police working dog" within its anti-cruelty laws, with new penalties and substantial restitution requirements for cruelty to those animals. In California, the law making it a crime to harm or interfere with police dogs or horses added language that not only protects officers using these animals in the discharge of duties, but also "a volunteer who is acting under the direct supervision of a peace officer in the discharge or attempted discharge of his or her assigned volunteer duties."

Four states (California, Connecticut, Nevada, and New York) added laws that require public research facilities (like those at institutes of higher education) to give animals no longer needed for research to animal rescue organizations for adoption.

Protection for wildlife also emerged as a topic in 2016. Hawaii enacted a wildlife trafficking law that prohibits the buying and selling of many protected species, from elephants to panthers to pangolins. Interestingly, the law also prohibits trade in products and parts from extinct mammoths. New Jersey passed a similar wildlife trafficking law. Vermont significantly amended its endangered species code, adding a section that covers designation of critical habitat for endangered species.

These represent just a sample of the changes across all the laws in all fifty states. Please see the table below for a detailed description of legislative enactments and amendments from 2016.

 

State

Laws

Summary

Alabama

No major statutory changes. 

Alaska

 

AS § 18.65.520

AS § 25.24.160, AS § 25.24.220

 

Divorce and pets:

Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation in October 2016 (effective January 17, 2017) that amends AS 25.24.160 contained in Chapter 24 on Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage. The amendment states: (a) In a judgment in an action for divorce or action declaring a marriage void or at any time after judgment, the court may provide . . . (5) if an animal is owned, for the ownership or joint ownership of the animal, considering the well-being of the animal."

 

Domestic Violence and Animals:

In 2016, the State of Alaska added language allowing the inclusion of pets in protective orders for domestic violence. Effective January 17. 2017 under Section 18.65.520, a petitioner may seek a protective order that includes a provision to "grant you [the petitioner] possession and use of a vehicle and other essential personal items, including a pet, regardless of the ownership of those items." In the new amendment to Section 18.65.590, “pet” means " a vertebrate living creature maintained for companionship or pleasure, but does not include dogs primarily owned for participation in a generally accepted mushing or pulling contest or practice or animals primarily owned for participation in rodeos or stock contests."

AS § 18.65.520

Arizona

 

A. R. S. § 8-422

A. R. S. § 11–1005

A. R. S. § 11-1008

A. R. S. § 11–1024

A. R. S. § 44-1799.08

A. R. S. § 44-1799.10

A. R. S. § 44-1799.11

Breed-specific laws:

A short, but powerful phrase was added to Section 11-1005 in 2016. This law concerns the powers and duties of the country board of supervisors. Subsection 3 allows the boards to [c]ontract with any city or town to enforce the provisions of any ordinance enacted by such city or town for the control of dogs." The amendments added the following to the end of that sentence: "if the provisions are not specific to any breed."

A. R. S. § 11-1005

 

Facility/courthouse dogs:

Arizona passed a law concerning facility dogs (dogs that support victim-witnesses in court). A court shall allow a facility dog to accompany a victim who is under 18 while he or she is testifying in court. It is discretionary for the court to allow a facility dog for a victim over the age of 18.

A. R. S. § 8-422

 

Pet stores/dealers:

Arizona added a new and rather significant law to its chapter on pet dealers. Section 44-1799.10 ("Pet stores; pet dealers; prohibitions on dog and cat purchases; recordkeeping"), first provides that a pet store or pet dealer may not obtain a dog or cat for resale or sell obtained from a person who is required to be licensed by USDA under the Animal Welfare Act if the following conditions apply:

  • the person is not USDA licensed
  • within two years before obtaining the dogs/cats at issue, the person violated USDA-AWA regulations
  • there was an "indirect no access violation on each of the two most recent inspection reports" from the USDA
  • there were three or more indirect violations of the pet dealer regulations of the United States department of agriculture during the two-year period before obtaining the dog or cat for violations relating to the health or welfare of the animal and the violations were not administrative in nature.

A pet dealer or pet store is said to "satisfy its obligation" as to whether the person it obtains dogs or cats from meets those criteria by conducting a search for inspection reports of the breeder on the animal care information system search tool maintained by the USDA.

The law also provides that the pet store or dealer has to maintain records for two years after obtaining a dog or cat for resale.

Finally, "[a] pet dealer shall display the source of any dog or cat offered for sale by providing the name of the breeder of the animal, the United States department of agriculture license number of the breeder if the animal is from a breeder that is licensed by the United States department of agriculture and the United States department of agriculture website where information about the breeder may be obtained." This must be displayed on the animal's cage or in printed materials about the specific dog or cat.

A. R. S. § 44-1799.10

As a result of the addition of new law above, the penalty section of the chapter was greatly amended. Section 44-1799.08 previously stated that a pet dealer who violated the section was subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000. As of 2016, the law still has that civil penalty in paragraph (a), but now includes penalties for violations of 44-199.10, which are graduated:

1. For a first violation, a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars per violation.

2. For a second violation within a five-year period, a civil penalty of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars per violation.

3. For a third or subsequent violation within a five-year period:

(a) A civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars per violation.

(b) An order entered by the court enjoining the pet store or pet dealer from selling or offering for sale, for up to three years, a dog or cat obtained from any person other than a publicly operated pound or a private, charitable nonprofit humane society or from any animal adoption activity conducted by a pound or humane society.

Notably, the violation is based on the order placed by a pet store or pet dealer, regardless of the number of dogs or cats obtained in the order.

A. R. S. § 44-1799.08

A final law was added to the end of the chapter related to state preemption:

The regulation of pet dealers is a matter of statewide concern. A city, town or county may enact or enforce an ordinance to enforce § 44-1799.10 against a pet store or pet dealer. Any local law, rule, regulation or ordinance that imposes requirements on pet dealers that exceed the requirements of § 44-1799.10 or penalties prescribed by § 44-1799.08 is preempted. Any local law, rule, regulation or ordinance may not directly or indirectly prohibit or be applied to prohibit the sale of dogs or cats by a pet store or pet dealer, expressly or in effect, based on the source from which the animal is obtained if obtained in compliance with § 44-1799.10.

A. R. S. § 44-1799.11

 

Service animals:

To the law that allows individuals with disabilities to use service animals, a few changes were made. Under the section subsection B related to actions that are NOT discriminatory by a public place, the two following items were added:

4. The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control the animal.

5. The animal is not housebroken.

A new subsection C was added that states:

C. If a public place asks an individual to remove a service animal pursuant to subsection B of this section, the public place shall give the individual the opportunity to return and obtain goods, services or accommodations without the animal on the premises.

Finally, a new subsection E was added that states, "[a] service animal must be under the control of the service animal's handler."

The phrase "under control of the service animal's handler" is now defined later in the law in subsection 6:

6. “Under the control of the service animal's handler” means the service animal has a harness, leash or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash or other tether or the use of the harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe and effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control by voice control, signals or other effective means.

A. R. S. § 11-1024

 

Under Section 11-1008 related to license fees for dogs, subsection F was expanded to include "a person that trains a service animal as defined in section 11–1024." This section provides that the board of supervisors of each county may not charge an individual who has a disability and who uses a service animal, an individual who uses a search or and rescue dog, and, as of 2016, a person that trains a service animal as defined in section 11–1024, a dog license fee. 

A. R. S. § 11-1008

Arkansas

No major statutory changes. 

California

West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2128

West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122380 - 122388

West's Ann.Cal.Penal Code § 13012.8
 
West's Ann. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 4830

West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 1834.7

West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 600

West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597u

West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597.7

West's Ann.Cal.Educ.Code § 66017.7

Anti-cruelty:

In the Penal Code, under the duties of the Department of Justice, a new law was added. This law requires that the annual report published by the department must include information concerning arrests for violations of Section 597, California's cruelty to animals law.

West's Ann.Cal.Penal Code § 13012.8

 

Elephants:

California added a law to its Fish and Game Code that effectively prohibits the use of "bullhooks" to train or coerce elephants effective January 1., 2018. The law provides that certain practices by a person who houses, possesses, manages, or is in direct contact with an elephant are prohibited: uses or allows and employee to use a bullhook, ankus, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, or other device designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant. A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty under Section 2125 for each violation (which provides a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each violation). Additionally, the restricted species permit for the elephant is subject to immediate suspension or revocation by the department.

West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2128

 

Euthanasia:

The state's law on prohibited methods of euthanasia of animals was amended to prohibit the use of carbon dioxide gas on a dog or cat.

West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597u

 

Pet boarding facilities:

A new chapter of laws became effective on January 1, 2017 dealing with the responsibilities to which pet boarding facility operators must adhere in the state of California. “Pet boarding facility” means any lot, building, structure, enclosure, or premises, or a portion thereof, whereupon four or more dogs, cats, or other pets in any combination are boarded at the request of, and in exchange for compensation provided by, their owner. Operators must ensure that the facility is in good repair, there is adequate pest control, an owner is contacted if a pet escapes and reasonable efforts are made to capture the escaped pet, as well as other upkeep requirements. The chapter also provides enclosure standards and animal care requirements including fire alarm and sprinkler systems. Animal control or qualified humane officers enforce violations of the chapter.

West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122380 - 122388

 

Pets in hot cars:

In 2016, rescue provisions were added to the law that allow any person to take reasonable steps that are necessary to remove an animal from a motor vehicle if the person holds a reasonable belief that the animal's safety is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of food or water, or other circumstances expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal. To be relieved of criminal liability, the person must follow certain steps in the law such as determining the vehicle is locked and there is no other way to remove the animal and to call 911 or other emergency responders prior to entry, among other listed requirements.

 

Police dogs and horses:

The law making it a crime to harm or interfere with police dogs or horses added language that not only protects officers using these animals in the discharge of duties, but also "a volunteer who is acting under the direct supervision of a peace officer in the discharge or attempted discharge of his or her assigned volunteer duties."

West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 600

 

Research animals:

A section in the chapter dealing with "depositaries" of living animals was amended. This section, entitled, "Use of animals turned over to animal shelter entity for biological supply or research facility; sign on animal shelter entity," requires that an animal shelter entity that turns over dead animals to a biological supply facility or a research facility for research purposes or to supply blood, tissue, or other biological products post a sign clearly visible to the public when turning animals over to the shelter. The sign specifications are described in the law, and the sign must state: “Animals Euthanized at This Shelter May Be Used for Research Purposes or to Supply Blood, Tissue, or Other Biological Products." This must also be included on owner surrender forms.

The law bars animal shelters from transferring living animals to research facilities under this law:

(c)(1) An animal shelter entity or other person that accepts animals from the public or takes in stray or unwanted animals shall not sell, give, or otherwise transfer a living animal to a research facility, an animal dealer, or other person for the purpose of research, experimentation, or testing.

(2) A research facility, animal dealer, or other person shall not procure, purchase, receive, accept, or use a living animal for the purpose of research, experimentation, or testing if that animal is transferred from, or received from, an animal shelter entity or other person that accepts animals from the public or takes in stray or unwanted animals.

A violation of this section is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.

West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 1834.7

 

Another animal research law was added in 2016. The law allows for adoption of cats or dogs used in medical research. If the public postsecondary educational institution (or independent institution) assesses the health of an animal and determines: (1) that the animal is suitable for adoption; (2) the animal's destruction is not required; and (3) the animal is no longer needed, it shall offer the dogs or cats to an animal adoption organization or animal rescue organization for adoption prior to euthanizing those animals.

West's Ann.Cal.Educ.Code § 66017.7

 

Veterinary laws:

In the veterinary practice code under the law on persons excepted under the chapter, the following two exceptions were added:

(a) This chapter does not apply to:

* * *

(2) Veterinarians holding a current, valid license in good standing in another state or country who provide assistance to a California licensed veterinarian and attend on a specific case. The California licensed veterinarian shall maintain a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. The veterinarian providing the assistance shall not establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the client by attending the case or at a future time and shall not practice veterinary medicine, open an office, appoint a place to meet patients, communicate with clients who reside within the limits of this state, give orders, or have ultimate authority over the care or primary diagnosis of a patient that is located within this state.

(3) Veterinarians called into the state by a law enforcement agency or animal control agency pursuant to subdivision (b).

West's Ann. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 4830

Colorado

C. R. S. A. § 18-9-201

C. R. S. A. § 18-9-202

C.R.S.A. § 18-13-107.3

C.R.S.A. § 26-23-102

Assistance animals:

Colorado added a law on the intentional misrepresentation of an assistance animal that became effective on January 1, 2017. A person commits a class 2 petty offense is he or she intentionally misrepresents an assistance animal for the purpose of obtaining any of the rights or privileges set forth in state or federal law for an individual with a disability as a reasonable accommodation in housing. The person must have previously been given a written or verbal warning regarding the fact that it is illegal to intentionally misrepresent entitlement to an assistance animal. Additionally, the person must know that the animal is not an assistance animal or that person does not have a disability.

C.R.S.A. § 18-13-107.3.

 

In 2016, Colorado also created a pilot program for veterans to train their own service dogs. The program identifies a group of up to 10 veterans to pair with dogs. Qualified canine trainers will work with the veterans to use train the dogs for use as service dogs. The program will further offer those veterans who graduate from the program with a trained dog the opportunity and necessary follow-along services to expand the program, if willing, by identifying, fostering, and training a subsequent dog for another eligible veteran who is unable to complete one or more parts of the process due to physical limitations. Other sections of the article explain the criteria for selecting the non-profit agencies for implementation and the creation of a fund in the state treasury.

C.R.S.A. § 26-23-102

 

Police dogs:

Colorado amended its definitions in the chapter on cruelty to animals to include a new term:

(2.3) “Certified police working dog” means a dog that has current certification from a state or national agency or an association that certifies police working dogs, and that is part of a working law enforcement team.

The term "animal" now explicitly includes a "certified police working dog."

A new definition for “serious physical harm" was added as well:

(a) Any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death;

(b) Any physical harm that causes permanent maiming or that involves some temporary, substantial maiming; or

(c) Any physical harm that causes acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering.

The definition for "service animal" was also changed to reflect its use as an animal used by state or county officials:

(4.7) “Service animal” means any animal, the services of which are used to aid the performance of official duties by a fire department, fire protection district, or governmental search and rescue agency. Unless otherwise specified, “service animal” does not include a “certified police working dog” as defined in subsection (2.3) of this section.

C. R. S. A. § 18-9-201

 

In the next section, § 18-9-202, the term "certified police working dog" was placed throughout the law. In addition, the following new provision was added:

(II) If a person is convicted of cruelty to a certified police working dog pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection (1.5) of this section, the court shall order him or her to make restitution to the agency or individual owning the certified police working dog for all expenses, including any immediate and ongoing veterinary expenses related to the incident, and replacement costs for the certified police working dog if it is permanently disabled or killed as a result of the cruelty to animals incident. If the court finds that the person who is convicted of cruelty to a certified police working dog pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection (1.5) of this section did so with malicious intent, the person shall additionally make restitution to the agency or individual owning the certified working dog for all training and certification costs related to the certified police working dog.

C. R. S. A. § 18-9-202

Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 10a-150e

C. G. S. A. § 53-247

Anti-cruelty:

In the state's cruelty to animals law, an amendment was made as to penalty. The statute now has an enhanced sentence for second or subsequent offenses for acts of intentional cruelty (paragraph (b) of the law). The prior version made violation of the subsection a class D felony. Now, the law makes a first offense a class D felony, and a subsequent violation a class C felony.

C. G. S. A. § 53-247

 

Research animals:

A new law was added that requires a "constituent unit" of higher education (as defined in the law) offer for adoption by an animal adoption or animal rescue organization any cat or dog used in research or testing after the completion of the research or testing. This is required if the research or testing does not require the destruction of such cat or dog and the animal is no longer needed by the institution.

C.G.S.A. § 10a-150e

Delaware

3 Del.C. § 7901 to 7905. Repealed by 80 Laws 2016, ch. 200, § 1, eff. Feb. 3, 2016

11 Del.C. § 1325

16 Del.C. § 3041F

16 Del.C. § 3044F

16 Del.C. §§ 3071F to 3081F



Animal shelters:

The definition for "animal shelter" was changed in the state's dog laws. Previously, the definition provided the following:

(1) “Animal shelter” shall mean a facility which is used to house or contain animals and which is owned, operated or maintained by an incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or other not-for-profit organization devoted to the welfare, protection and humane treatment of such animals.

After the 2016 amendments, the definition includes both public and private facilities and explicitly excludes rescues and foster care for animals. Now, animal shelter:

. . . means a public or private facility which includes a physical structure that provides temporary or permanent shelter to stray, abandoned, abused, or owner-surrendered animals and is operated, owned, or maintained by an incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, or other nonprofit organization for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals. “Animal shelter” does not mean individuals providing temporary foster care to animals in their home or animal rescue groups sheltering animals on an individual's private property.

16 Del.C. § 3041F

 

Anti-cruelty:

The language of Delaware's anti-cruelty law was amended. Previously, the law only allowed certain "trained and certified" officers to impound animals owned in violation of the law. The amendments in 2016 expand this ability to include local ASPCAs:

(e) Any trained and certified animal welfare officer of the Department of Health and Social Service's Office of Animal Welfare or the Department of Agriculture may impound an animal owned or possessed in apparent violation of this section, consistent with § 3035F of Title 16.

11 Del.C. § 1325

 

Dogs:

This statement added to § 3044F. Specifications for the humane handling, care, and treatment of dogs (c)(1):"Dogs may not be kept outdoors during a hazardous weather warning issued by the National Weather Service for the local area."

 

Dogs, dangerous:

Under the state's dangerous and potentially dangerous dog laws, the law establishing a "Dog Control Panel" was repealed. This previous law stated the following: "The Dog Control Panel created pursuant to the former subchapter III of Chapter 17 of Title 7 shall continue to have all authority and responsibility conferred on it by that chapter and the current Panel members shall serve out their terms. The Dog Control Panel shall consist of 5 members, all of whom shall be residents of the State."

16 Del.C. § 3072F ( § 3072F. Redesignated from 9 Del.C. § 921 and repealed by 80 Laws 2016, ch. 248, § 6, eff. May 25, 2016)

 

Several other changes were made throughout the Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Dog Laws. A definition for non-dangerous dog was added: “Non-dangerous dog” means any dog that the Justice of the Peace Court has declared to be non-dangerous under § 3080F of this title. (16 Del.C. §§ 3071F(7)). After the Dog Control Panel law was repealed, exclusive jurisdiction for hearings under this subchapter rests now with the Justice of the Peace Court (16 Del.C. §§ 3073F). The Justice of the Peace Court must hold a hearing within 30 days of the Department filing of a civil action. Some important procedural changes were made:

  • all Justice of the Peace Court civil rules apply to proceedings under this subchapter (unless stated otherwise)
  • the Justice of the Peace Court must keep a record, sufficient for judicial review, of all evidence taken at hearings under this subchapter, according to the Court's rules regarding the recording of proceedings
  • a hearing must occur within 30 days of the Department filing a civil action. Notably, the dog may be released to its owner and the charges made under subsection (a) of this section may be dismissed, unless a delay is requested by the owner and approved by the Department for good cause at the Court's discretion.
  • if the dog owner fails to appear for the hearing, the Justice of the Peace Court shall enter a default judgment (the owner can file a motion to vacate a default judgment may be filed within 10 days of the entry of the default judgment)

 

Under § 3074F for "Exceptions," the phrase, "physical injury or serious physical" was added so the law now reads:

(a) Notwithstanding § 3073F of this title, no dog shall be considered dangerous or potentially dangerous if no physical injury or serious physical injury was sustained . . .

16 Del.C. § 3074F

 

The standard to find a dog dangerous was changed from preponderance of the evidence to clear and convincing evidence under 16 Del.C. § 3076F. In that same section, the conditions for keeping a dog that has been declared dangerous had another requirement added:

(6) The owner meets any other condition that the Justice of the Peace Court has deemed reasonable, given the circumstances of the case.

16 Del.C. § 3076F. That same requirement was also added to the list for potentially dangerous dogs in 3077F.

 

The section on liability of owner for costs of impoundment was also amended. The most significant change was the following addition: "Prior to reclaiming the dog, the owner must reimburse the Department the amount indicated in the judgment or establish a payment plan approved by the Court."

16 Del.C. § 3078F

 

Section § 3080F now states that a dog can be found "non-dangerous:"

If the Department fails to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that a dog is dangerous pursuant to § 3076F of this title or potentially dangerous pursuant to § 3077F of this title, the Justice of the Peace Court shall declare the dog to be non-dangerous. Despite a finding that the dog is non-dangerous, the Justice of the Peace Court may impose any condition deemed reasonable, given the circumstances of the case.

16 Del.C. § 3080F

 

Additionally, new section § 3081F sets forth the disposition of dogs after a Justice of the Peace's determination. Subsection (e) describes the appeal process for a dog who is ordered euthanized:

(a) If the Justice of the Peace Court determines that a dog is dangerous, the Court may direct the Department to dispose of the dog by euthanasia in accordance with Subchapter I of this chapter. If the Justice of the Peace Court does not order euthanasia, the owner shall comply with all conditions that the Court orders under § 3076F(b)(6) of this title, within 30 days from the date of the order.

(b) If the Justice of the Peace Court determines that a dog is potentially dangerous, the owner shall comply with all conditions that the Court orders under § 3077F(b)(4) of this title, within 30 days from the date of the order.

(c) If another incident occurs within the period of time allowed for compliance under subsections (a) or (b) of this section, the Department shall immediately seize the dog and dispose of it in accordance with Subchapter I of this chapter.

(d) If the Justice of the Peace Court determines a dog to be non-dangerous, the dog shall be released to its owner, subject to any conditions imposed under § 3080F of this title.

(e) The Department or the owner, if the Justice of the Peace orders the dog to be euthanized, may appeal the Justice of the Peace Court's decision to the Court of Common Pleas within 15 days of the entry of the decision. The Court of Common Pleas shall review the appeal on the record. The filing of an appeal acts as a stay of the Justice of the Peace Court's decision, pending final disposition of the appeal. The appellant shall pay the cost of transcribing the Justice of the Peace Court recording.

16 Del.C. § 3081F

D.C.

No major statutory changes. 

Florida

West's F. S. A. § 379.4115

West's F. S. A. § 379.403 (repealed)

West's F. S. A. § 379.411

West's F. S. A. § 767.12

West's F. S. A. § 767.13

West's F. S. A. § 767.135

West's F. S. A. § 767.136

West's F. S. A. § 767.14

West's F. S. A. § 767.16

Dangerous dog laws:

Changes were made to Florida's dangerous dog laws in 2016. In Section 767.12 on the classification system for dangerous dogs, the following subsection was added that allows confiscation of dangerous dogs that cause severe injury:

(a) An animal that is the subject of a dangerous dog investigation because of severe injury to a human being may be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time, or impounded and held. The animal may be held pending the outcome of the investigation and any hearings or appeals related to the dangerous dog classification or any penalty imposed under this section. If the dog is to be destroyed, the dog may not be destroyed while an appeal is pending. The owner is responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal pending any hearing or appeal.

In addition to more structural changes to the law throughout, subsection 3 on the investigation process was amended. Now, the owner can request a hearing that can address the classification of the dog as dangerous. The following sentence was also added in that subsection: "If a hearing is not timely requested regarding the dangerous dog classification or proposed penalty, the determination of the animal control authority as to such matter shall become final."

Finally, section 5 details the requirements for the owner of a dog adjudicated as dangerous. A new subsection was added that allows a dangerous dog to be destroyed if certain criteria apply:

(b) If a dog is classified as a dangerous dog due to an incident that causes severe injury to a human being, based upon the nature and circumstances of the injury and the likelihood of a future threat to the public safety, health, and welfare, the dog may be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

West's F. S. A. § 767.12

 

The next law in the chapter was also amended in this act. Section 767.13 was transferred to new 767.135. Most significantly, the following sentence was added: "If the owner files a written appeal under s. 767.12 or this section, the dog must be held and may not be destroyed while the appeal is pending." The last sentence of the old law, which made an owner guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he or she had prior knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities, yet demonstrated a reckless disregard for such propensities under the circumstances, was deleted. West's F. S. A. § 767.13, West's F. S. A. § 767.135. This sentence is now a new law as 767.136:

767.136. Attack or bite by unclassified dog that causes severe injury or death; penalties

(1) If a dog that has not been declared dangerous attacks and causes severe injury to, or the death of, a human, and the owner of the dog had knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities, yet demonstrated a reckless disregard for such propensities under the circumstances, the owner of the dog commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) If the dog attacks or bites a person who is engaged in or attempting to engage in a criminal activity at the time of the attack, the owner of the dog is not guilty of any crime under this section.

West's F. S. A. § 767.136

 

Other minor language changes occurred in West's F. S. A. § 767.14 and § 767.16.

 

Wildlife:

The penalty under the law prohibiting killing a Florida or wild panther was changed to a Level Four Violation. Previously, a person violating the section was guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

West's F. S. A. § 379.4115

 

A law that provided a separate penalty for the illegal killing, taking, possessing, or selling wildlife or game was repealed in 2016. The law made it a $250 fine for each such violation, plus court costs and any restitution ordered by the court.

379.403. Repealed by Laws 2016, c. 2016-107, § 21, eff. July 1, 2016

 

Under Section 379.411, the penalty for the intentional killing or wounding of any species designated as endangered, threatened, or of special concern was changed to a "Level Four violation under s. 379.401." The former law made it a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

West's F. S. A. § 379.411

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-1.2

Ga. Code Ann., § 4–11–2

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-11-9.8

Ga. Code Ann., § 50-3-88

Cruelty laws:

The states anti-cruelty laws added a new definition for "owner" that includes those in possession of an animal:

(5.1) ‘Owner’ means a person who intentionally exercises custody, control, possession, or ownership of an animal.

Ga. Code Ann., § 4–11–2.

 

Another new law allows an agency to seek the anticipated costs of care for impounded animals. The agency "may file a petition in a court of competent jurisdiction to hear civil cases requesting the court to require the owner of the animal or animals to pay into the registry of such court funds in an amount sufficient to secure payment of all anticipated costs of impoundment and care." Once the owner is served process on the petition from the agency, a hearing is conducted within 10 - 15 days. The purpose of the hearing is limited as to whether the impounding was authorized and, if so, to establish payment sufficient to cover costs of impoundment and care on a 30-day cycle. At any time, the owner can relinquish ownership prior to the final disposition of the animals. Notably, "[i]n the event that an owner is adjudicated not guilty of all charges specified in a petition filed pursuant to this Code section, such owner may request from the agency that filed the petition a refund of all costs paid by the owner pursuant to such petition."

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-11-9.8

 

Dog Laws:

Georgia enacted a new law that gives hunting dog owners a reprieve from higher licensing fees. Section 4-8-1.2 allows domestic dogs that are "registered with the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club as a sporting breed group dog, hound breed group dog, or nonsporting breed group dog or that is of a breed used in the lawful pursuit of hunting," and whose owner has a hunting permit, to be classified as a "hunting dog." This hunting dog shall receive the same registration, licensing, or permitting fee from any local government as is available to owners of dogs which have been spayed or neutered. The law suggests that the dogs do not need to be spayed or neutered to receive the lower registration/licensing fee.

 

A new law designated the "adoptable dog" as the official Georgia state dog.

Ga. Code Ann., § 50-3-88

Hawaii

H R S § 183D-66

H R S § 472-1 - 3

H R S § 621-30

H R S § 711-1109.7

Anti-cruelty:

In 2016, Hawaii enacted a law entitled "pet animal or equine animal desertion." Under this law, for the owner or any person in possession of any pet animal or equine animal to desert the pet animal or equine animal. Violation is a petty misdemeanor subject to fine of up to $1,000, in addition to other penalties. If the person violates this law and "and recklessly causes the death of or substantial bodily injury to the pet animal or equine animal," he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,000 (in addition to other penalties). Each animal that is deserted constitutes a separate offense.

H R S § 711-1109.7

 

Facility/courthouse dogs:

Hawaii enacted a law permitting a court to allow the use of a facility dog in a judicial proceeding involving the testimony of a vulnerable witness (as defined) if the court determines that there is a compelling necessity for the use of a facility dog to facilitate the testimony of the vulnerable witness. Prior to use, the moving party must establish that the dog is credentialed; the dog is adequately insured; and that there is a relationship between the witness and the facility dog.

H R S § 621-30

 

Veterinary practice:

Hawaii added a chapter to its veterinary practice laws concerning veterinary technicians. The chapter spells out education and registration requirements as well as qualifications for becoming a veterinary technician. The chapter becomes effective July 1, 2018.

H R S § 472-1 - 3

 

Wildlife:

Hawaii enacted a law prohibiting wildlife trafficking. The law prohibits a person from selling, offering to sell, purchasing, trading, possessing with intent to sell, or bartering for any part or product of the following family/genus/species:

  • elephant (Elephantidae)
  • rhinoceros (Rhinocerotidae)
  • tiger (Panthera tigris)
  • great ape (Hominoidea)
  • hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)
  • lion (Panthera leo)
  • pangolin (Manis)
  • cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
  • jaguar (Panthera onca)
  • leopard (Panthera pardus)

The same activities are prohibited with certain marine species (sea turtles, monk seals, whales, narwhals, and walruses) that are listed on appendix I or II of the CITES or listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Also, any species of rays or sharks that are similarly listed are also prohibited in trade.

Most interestingly, the law states the following:

(d) No person shall sell, offer to sell, purchase, trade, possess with intent to sell, or barter for any part or product from mammoth (Mammuthus), although the species is extinct.

There are exceptions under the law for certain bona fide antiques and scientific/educational uses. 

H R S § 183D-66

Idaho

No major statutory changes. 

Illinois

225 I.L.C.S. 605/2

225 I.L.C.S. 605/3.6

225 I.L.C.S. 605/3.7

225 I.L.C.S. 605/10

510 ILCS 5/13

510 I.L.C.S. 70/3.01

510 I.L.C.S. 70/3.04

510 I.L.C.S. 82/1 - 5

Animal shelters/stray animals:

The definitions section of the Animal Welfare Act added a definition for "owner" that specifically excludes feral cat caretakers in TNR programs:

“Owner” means any person having a right of property in an animal, who keeps or harbors an animal, who has an animal in his or her care or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her. “Owner” does not include a feral cat caretaker participating in a trap, spay/neuter, return or release program.

225 I.L.C.S. 605/2

 

The state added a new law to the state's Animal Welfare Act entitled, "Acceptance of stray dogs and cats."

An animal shelter (which is defined in the chapter as a humane society, animal welfare society, or other such non-profit organization) must not accept a stray dog or cat unless the animal is reported to the animal control or law enforcement of the county in which the animal is found by the next business day.

An animal shelter may accept animals from:

(1) the owner of the animal where the owner signs a relinquishment form which states he or she is the owner of the animal;

(2) an animal shelter licensed under this Act; or

(3) an out-of-state animal control facility, rescue group, or animal shelter that is duly licensed in their state or is a not-for-profit organization.

The law also requires that animal shelters scan for a microchip and examine animals for other forms of identification such as tags, tattoos, and rabies license tags. This must be done within 24 hours of accepting the animal:

The animal shelter must notify the owner and transfer any dog with an identified owner to the animal control or law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which it was found or the local animal control agency for redemption.

225 I.L.C.S. 605/3.6(b)

If the transfer cannot occur, the animal shelter "shall make every reasonable attempt to contact the owner, agent, or caretaker as soon as possible." It must then give no less than 7 days’ notice to the owner before disposing of the animal (mailed to the last known address). The shelter can also attempt to reach the owner by telephone or email per the law, and by using the information embedded in the microchip.

If no owner can be identified, the shelter must hold the animal for the period specified in local ordinance prior to adoption, transfer, or euthanasia. The animal shelter must also allow the public to view the animals housed there.

Finally, the new law states that no representative of an animal shelter may enter private property and remove an animal without permission from the property owner and animal owner (except when there is an approved humane investigator).

225 I.L.C.S. 605/3.6

 

The following section in the chapter (3.7) is also a new law. That law states that any owner, agent, or caretaker wishing to make redemption of a dog or cat held by a shelter may do so by paying the shelter for the room and board of the dog or cat as well as any reasonable veterinary care. However, the statute notes that the shelter has the option to waive the fees or veterinary costs.

225 I.L.C.S. 605/3.7

 


Anti-cruelty:

In the law on cruel treatment, the following provision was added under subsection (c):

(c) No owner of a dog or cat that is a companion animal may expose the dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions that:

* * *

(2) results in hypothermia, hyperthermia, frostbite, or similar condition as diagnosed by a doctor of veterinary medicine.

(c–5) Nothing in this Section shall prohibit an animal from being impounded in an emergency situation under subsection (b) of Section 12 of this Act.

510 ILCS 70/3.01

 

In addition, the section on arrests and seizures of animals under the chapter added the following language:

If the animal control or animal shelter owns no facility capable of housing the companion animals, has no space to house the companion animals, or is otherwise unable to house the companion animals or the health or condition of the animals prevents their removal, the animals shall be impounded at the site of the violation pursuant to a court order authorizing the impoundment, provided that the person charged is an owner of the property. Employees or agents of the animal control or animal shelter or law enforcement shall have the authority to access the on-site impoundment property for the limited purpose of providing care and veterinary treatment for the impounded animals and ensuring their well-being and safety. For an on-site impoundment, a petition for posting of security may be filed under Section 3.05 of this Act. Disposition of the animals shall be controlled by Section 3.06 of this Act.

510 ILCS 70/3.01



Pet shop laws:

To 605/10, the following language was added:

If the Department revokes a license under this Act at an administrative hearing, the licensee and any individuals associated with that license shall be prohibited from applying for or obtaining a license under this Act for a minimum of 3 years.

225 I.L.C.S. 605/10

 

Police Dog Retirement Act:

The Police Dog Retirement Act went into effect on January 1, 2017. A dog that serves as a police dog, including a search and rescue dog, service dog, accelerant detection canine, or other dog that is in use by a county, municipal, or State law enforcement agency, that is deemed no longer fit for public service shall be offered to the officer (or employee) who had custody and control of the animal during its service. If that officer or employee does not desire to keep the dog, the dog may be offered to another officer or employee in the agency, or to a non-profit organization or a no-kill animal shelter for adoption.

510 I.L.C.S. 82/1 - 82/5

 

Rabies laws:

In § 8 concerning rabies inoculation, a veterinarian immunizing a dog, cat, or ferret against rabies shall provide the Administrator of the county in which the dog, cat, or ferret resides with a certificate of immunization. There was an addition to the portion concerning animals determined exempt from the rabies vaccination (for health reasons cited by a licensed veterinarian):

If a bite occurs from an exempt animal, the exempt animal shall be treated as an unvaccinated animal. If the animal is exempt, the animal shall be re-examined by a licensed veterinarian on no less than an annual basis and be vaccinated against rabies as soon as the animal's health permits.

510 ILCS 5/8

Under § 13 in the rabies laws, entitled, "dog or other animal bites; observation of animal," the confinement period outlined in the first part was amended. Previously, the law stated that the animal must be confined for "a period of 10 days." In 2016 this was changed to the following: "The confinement shall be for a period of not less than 10 days from the date the bite occurred and shall continue until the animal has been examined and released from confinement by a licensed veterinarian."

The following entirely new section was also added:

(a–10) When the Administrator or, if the Administrator is not a veterinarian, the Deputy Administrator or his or her authorized representative receives information that a person has been bitten by an animal and evidence is presented that the animal at the time the bite occurred was inoculated against rabies within the time prescribed by law, the animal may be confined in a house, or in a manner which will prohibit the animal from biting a person, if the Administrator, Deputy Administrator, or his or her authorized representative determines the confinement satisfactory. The confinement shall be for a period of not less than 10 days from the date the bite occurred and shall continue until the animal has been examined and released from confinement by a licensed veterinarian. The Administrator or, if the Administrator is not a veterinarian, the Deputy Administrator may instruct the owner, agent, or caretaker to have the animal examined by a licensed veterinarian immediately. The Administrator or, if the Administrator is not a veterinarian, the Deputy Administrator may permit the confinement to be reduced to a period of less than 10 days. At the end of the confinement period, the animal shall be examined by a licensed veterinarian and microchipped, if the dog or cat is not already, at the expense of the owner. The veterinarian shall submit a written report listing the owner's name, address, dates of examination, species, breed, description, age, sex, and microchip number of the animal to the Administrator advising him or her of the clinical condition and the final disposition of the animal on appropriate forms approved by the Department. The Administrator shall notify the person who has been bitten and, in case of confirmed rabies in the animal, the attending physician or responsible health agency advising of the clinical condition of the animal.

A new section was also added related to search and rescue dogs:

(c) When a person has been bitten by a search and rescue dog that is currently vaccinated against rabies, the search and rescue dog may continue to perform its duties for the handler or owner or agency and any period of observation of the dog may be under the supervision of its handler or owner. The supervision shall consist of the dog being locked in a kennel, performing its official duties in a vehicle, or remaining under the constant supervision of its handler or owner.

Finally, a penalty is now imposed under the law for violating subsection a-20 (related to concealing the whereabouts, euthanizing, selling, giving away any animal known to have bitten a person, until it is examined and released from confinement). A person convicted of such a violation is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first violation. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony.

510 I.L.C.S. 5/13

Indiana

No major statutory changes. 

Iowa

No major statutory changes. 

Kansas

No major statutory changes. 

Kentucky

KRS § 525.125

KRS § 321.351

KRS § 321.353

Dogfighting:

Kentucky's law on dogfighting received some amendments in 2016. Legislators added a definition for dog (canis lupus familiaris) and for dogfighting. The term "dogfight" now specifically excludes "any activity the purpose of which involves the use of one (1) or more dogs in hunting or taking another animal."

Previously, the law applied to "four-legged animals." Now, the term "dog" is used throughout to narrow the application. The term "knowingly" has also been added to the first description of animal cruelty ("whenever a dog is knowingly caused to dog fight for pleasure or profit").

Subsection b was also added: "(b) Any person who knowingly owns, possesses, keeps, trains, sells, or otherwise transfers a dog for the purpose of dog fighting." The law also specifically exempts activities of dogs engaged in working or guarding livestock.

KRS § 525.125

 

Veterinary practice:

The section on disciplinary actions for veterinarians had a couple of new provisions added. An administrative fine must "not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation," and the option of issuing a "private admonishment" was added to the possible disciplinary actions the Board may take. Additionally, the following provision concerning private admonishments was added in the law:

(6) Private admonishment shall not be subject to disclosure to the public under KRS 61.878 and shall not constitute disciplinary action, but may be used by the board for statistical purposes or in a subsequent disciplinary action against the licensee or applicant.

KRS § 321.351

 

An entirely new section was added to the vet code. Section 321.353 provides that:

The board may, by a majority vote, issue an emergency order for the immediate, temporary suspension of a license against which disciplinary action, an investigation, or initiating complaint is pending if the order is necessary to protect the public.

KRS § 321.353

Louisiana

LSA-R.S. 2511

Pet sales:

Under Chapter 17 dealing with cruelty to animals, a new subchapter was added: Part VIII - Retail Pet Sales. The one law contained under this part concerns restrictions on the retail sale of dogs and cats. The law states that retail pet stores can only sell dogs and cats that have been obtained from the following sources:

  • a breeder (defined in the law as means a person who holds a class A license pursuant to the federal Animal Welfare Act that has not been suspended in the last five years) who complies with Louisiana kennel and licensing laws (specifically, R.S. 3:2772(H))
  • a breeder that has not received certain described citations on USDA inspection reports for the past 3 years
  • an animal care facility
  • an animal rescue organization

The new law also provides that a retail pet store shall not offer for sale a dog or cat that is younger than eight weeks old.

The retail pet store must also post in "a conspicuous location on the cage or enclosure for each dog or cat, a sign containing the name of the breeder, the breeder's USDA license number, and, if the breeder is required to be licensed in the state in which the breeder is located, the breeder's state license number." Pet stores must maintain records for the sources of the animals, which "shall be made available, immediately upon request, to any law enforcement officer or animal control officer."

LSA-R.S. 3:2511

Maine

5 M. R. S. A. § 4582-A

5 M. R. S. A. § 4592

17 M. R. S. A. § 1314–A

12 M. R. S. A. § 12808

7 M. R. S. A. § 3907

32 M. R. S. A. § 4878

7 M.R.S.A. § 3961-A

Assistance animals:

A new definition was added to Maine's Human Rights Act for "assistance animal:"

1-H. Assistance animal. “Assistance animal” means, for the purposes of subchapter 4:

A. An animal that has been determined necessary to mitigate the effects of a physical or mental disability by a physician, psychologist, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or licensed social worker; or

B. An animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or mental disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to intruders or sounds, providing reasonable protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or retrieving dropped items.

5 M. R. S. A. § 4553

 

As a result, 5 M. R. S. A. § 4582-A, the law prohibiting unlawful housing discrimination on the basis of disability was amended to change the term "service animal" to "assistance animal."

However, in the law on unlawful public accommodations, the following sentence was added in subsection 8 on "service animals:"

This subsection does not apply to an assistance animal as defined in section 4553, subsection 1–H unless the assistance animal also qualifies as a service animal.

5 M. R. S. A. § 4592

 

The state also amended its law on misrepresentation of a service animal to include provisions for misrepresenting an assistance animal. Previously, the 2011 version referred to misrepresentation of a service dog:

A person who fits a dog with a harness, collar, vest or sign of the type commonly used by blind persons in order to represent that the dog is a service dog or commonly used by persons with disabilities to represent that the dog is a service dog when training of the type that guide dogs normally receive has not been provided or when the dog does not meet the definition of “service dog” as defined in section 1312, subsection 7 commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $500 may be adjudged.

The law effective in 2016 applies to both service animals and assistance animals. 

Misrepresentation as a service animal or an assistance animal can include the following:

1. False documents. Knowingly creating documents that falsely represent that an animal is a service animal or an assistance animal;

2. Providing false documents. Knowingly providing to another person documents falsely stating that an animal is a service animal or an assistance animal;

3. Harness, collar, vest or sign. Knowingly fitting an animal, when the animal is not a service animal, with a harness, collar, vest or sign of the type commonly used by a person with a disability to indicate an animal is a service animal; or

4. Falsely representing animal as service animal. Knowingly representing that an animal is a service animal, when the animal has not completed training to perform disability-related tasks or do disability-related work for a person with a disability.

A civil violation under this law can lead to a fine of up to $1000.

17 M. R. S. A. § 1314-A

 

The law making it a civil violation for a person's dog to attack, injure, or kill a service animal was expanded to include assistance animals in 2016.

7 M.R.S.A. § 3961-A

 

Endangered species:

Maine's law on the taking of endangered species was amended and reorganized. Previously, the law was entitled "misuse of endangered species" and included both allowed and prohibited takings of the state's endangered and threatened species. The 2016 created two laws: (1) § 12808. Unauthorized activities regarding endangered or threatened species; and (2) § 12808-A. Authorized activities regarding endangered or threatened species. While these changes more or less made the allowed and disallowed activities easier to understand, Section § 12808-A now requires the commissioner to hold "at least one public hearing and seek input from knowledgeable individuals or groups on each proposed incidental take plan . . ." that involves what the subsection calls "widespread activity."

12 M. R. S. A. § 12808, 12808-A



Veterinary practice:

Most likely in an effort to stem the tide of human opioid abuse, the veterinary practice code added a new section detailing the requirements for veterinary prescribing of opioid medication. In addition to other requirements, "[a] veterinarian licensed under this chapter whose scope of practice includes prescribing opioid medication and who has the capability to electronically prescribe shall prescribe all opioid medication electronically by July 1, 2017." If a veterinarian who does not have the capability to electronically prescribe, he or she must request a waiver from this requirement from the Commissioner of Health and Human Services. There are now continuing education requirements every 2 years on prescribing opioid medication. The law also imposes penalties for non-compliance.

32 M. R. S. A. § 4878

Maryland

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-617

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-617.1

Animal fighting:

This new Maryland law makes it illegal to possess an “implement of dogfighting." An implement of dogfighting includes a breaking stick, a cat mill, a springpole, a fighting pit, a breeding stand, or "any other instrument or device that is commonly used in the training for, in the preparation for, in the conditioning for, in the breeding for, in the conducting of, or otherwise in furtherance of a dogfight." Violation is a misdemeanor with imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both. Psychological counseling may be ordered as a condition of sentencing.

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-617.1

 

Impounded animals:

The law related to "disposal of a domestic animal" added a new provision. In essence, the law describes the requirements of animal control to place an impounded animal. The law also lists the state's "holding period" for impounded cats and dogs. The amendments add the word "microchip" in the list of identifying characteristics that must be inspected with impounded animals. Further, the following sentence was added to the law:

(d)(1) An animal control unit shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner of the location of and the procedure for retrieving an impounded animal.

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-617

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. 112 § 58A ½

M.G.L.A. 140 § 174E

M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F

Animals in parked cars:

Massachusetts passed a law in 2016 related to animals left in parked cars in extreme heat or cold. The law states that a person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold. Violation results in a fine of not more than $150 for a first offense, by a fine of not more than $300 for a second offense and by a fine of not more than $500 for a third or subsequent offense.

A law enforcement officer or fire fighter may enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means to protect the health and safety of an animal if he or she has made reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle's owner. That officer or fire fighter must leave written notice of where the animal can be retrieved. A person other than a law enforcement officer or fire fighter, after making reasonable efforts to locate the vehicle's owner, may enter the motor vehicle to remove an animal to protect the health and safety of that animal in immediate danger after he or she does the following:

(i) notifies law enforcement or calls 911 before entering the vehicle;

(ii) determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit and uses not more force than reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the animal;

(iii) has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal; and

(iv) remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.

M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F

 

Dog tethering law:

The state's dog tethering restrictions were amended. Previously, the law prohibited chaining or tethering a dog to a stationary object for no longer than 24 consecutive hours. Now, the law provides that, "[n]o person owning or keeping a dog shall chain or tether a dog for longer than 5 hours in a 24-hour period and outside from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., unless the tethering is for not more than 15 minutes and the dog is not left unattended by the owner, guardian or keeper." The law includes acceptable means of confining a dog outside including certain pens or enclosures, a fully fenced or electronically fenced yard, and certain trolley/pully systems. The law also outlines requirements for an outdoor dog shelter (e.g., dog house) if the dog is kept outside by the previously described means. Access to clean water must also be provided.

M.G.L.A. 140 § 174F

 

Veterinary practice laws:

A new law was added to the state's veterinary code: "§ 58A ½ . Dispensing of compounded drugs to companion animals by veterinarians." Effective in July of 2016, this law allows a veterinarian to dispense a compounded drug to a companion animal if certain requirements are met such as a valid veterinary-client relationship, the quantity not exceeding a 120-hour supply, and that the compounded drug must be for an emergency condition, among other requirements.

Michigan

No major statutory changes. 

Minnesota

M.S.A. § 501C.0408

Pet trusts:

In 2016, Minnesota enacted a law allowing the creation of a pet trust. A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal. Interestingly, the trust may not be enforced for more than 90 years.

M.S.A. § 501C.0408

Mississippi

No major statutory changes. 

Missouri

No major statutory changes. 

Montana

No major statutory changes. 

Nebraska

No major statutory changes. 

Nevada

N.R.S. 574.205

Research animals:

A new law from late 2015 requires that "a research facility that intends to euthanize a dog or cat for any purpose other than scientific, medical or educational research shall, before euthanizing the dog or cat, offer the dog or cat for adoption if the dog or cat is appropriate for adoption."

The research facility can enter a "collaborative agreement" with an animal shelter or animal rescue organization to carry out this requirement.  However, the animal shelter or animal rescue organization must be domiciled in Nevada and tax exempt.

N.R.S. 574.205

New Hampshire

No major statutory changes. 

New Jersey

N. J. S. A. 4:19-15.14a

N. J. S. A. 23:2A-4.1

N. J. S. A. 23:2A-6.1

N. J. S. A. 23:2A-6.2

Animal enclosures at facilities:

In the section of laws implementing regulations for kennels, pet shops, shelters, and pounds, a new law was enacted in 2016. The law states:

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 14 of P.L.1941, c. 151 (C.4:19-15.14) and any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto to the contrary, the surfaces of an outdoor animal enclosure of a kennel, pet shop, shelter, or pound may be constructed of artificial turf.

N. J. S. A. 4:19-15.14a

 

Wildlife:

In 2016, the State of New Jersey designated the diamondback terrapin as a nongame indigenous species, subject to the laws, rules, and regulations governing the importation, care, possession, and breeding of that type of animal in the State.

The law also provides that state will investigate "populations, distribution, habitat needs, limiting factors, and other biological and ecological data concerning the State's diamondback terrapin population to determine management measures necessary for their continued ability to sustain themselves successfully. On the basis of such determinations, the commissioner shall develop management programs which shall be designed to insure the continued ability of the State's diamondback terrapin population to perpetuate themselves successfully."

N. J. S. A. 23:2A-4.1

 

Two new sections were added to the Wildlife code related to importation of wildlife. Section 23:2A-6.1 states that no person shall possess, transport, import, export, process, sell or offer for sale, or ship, and no common or contract carrier shall knowingly transport or receive for shipment any part or product of:

  • any specified African species (defined as (1) African elephant (Loxodonta Africana); (2) African leopard (Panthera pardus); (3) African lion (Panthera leo); (4) black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis); and (5) white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum); or
  • any species or subspecies of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, pangolin, marine turtle, or ray listed in Appendix I or Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

There are limited exceptions to the new law, including pre-act possession of parts or products and possession for scientific, zoological, or educational purposes.

N. J. S. A. 23:2A-6.1

 

The subsequent new law (section 23:2A-6.2) allows certain activities with respect to wildlife parts or products. These include activities:

(1) related to the conduct of biomedical research at a USDA licensed facility under the Animal Welfare Act or at a facility conducting biomedical research for the “Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” issued by the United States National Institutes of Health;

(2) under any federal permit or permit issued under the laws or regulations of another state if the wildlife is coming from another state/U.S. territory; or

(3) in the course of undertaking any law enforcement, if duties require it.

N. J. S. A. 23:2A-6.2

New Mexico

 NMSA 1978, §46A-4-408


Pet trusts:

Last year, New Mexico repealed one of its pet trust laws: § 45-2-907. Now, only § 45-2-908 contains relevant pet trust laws.

New York

McKinney's General Business Law § 399-aaa

McKinney's Education Law § 239-b

Fur:

The law on the selling and making of fur-bearing articles of clothing was amended in 2016. That law makes it illegal to inappropriately label "faux fur" and "real fur" clothing articles. The penalty for violation increased from not more than $500 to $1,000 for the first violation, and to not more than $2,000 for each subsequent violation (previously up to $1,000).

McKinney's General Business Law § 399-aaa

 

Research animals:

A new law provides that a publicly-funded higher education research facility must assess the health of the dog or cat and determine whether it is suitable for adoption after the research and testing on the animal is completed. That research facility must then make reasonable efforts to offer for adoption the dog or cat determined to be suitable for adoption, either through private placement or through an animal rescue/organization.

McKinney's Education Law § 239-b

North Carolina

No major statutory changes. 

North Dakota

No major statutory changes. 

Ohio

R.C. § 959.131

R.C. § 959.132

R.C. § 959.133

R.C. § 959.21

R.C. § 959.99

R.C. § 4765.52

Animals in parked cars:

Ohio enacted a new law on distressed animals in unattended motor vehicles in 2016. The new law only provides a civil immunity provision. The law states that a person shall be immune from civil liability for any damage resulting from the forcible entry of a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing an animal from the vehicle if the person does all of the following:

  • determines vehicle is locked and no other reasonable method to remove animal;
  • has good faith belief that forcible entry into the vehicle is necessary because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm;
  • has made a good faith effort to contact the local law enforcement agency, 911, or first responders prior to entry;
  • makes a good faith effort to place a notice on the vehicle's windshield with the person's contact information, the reason the entry was made, the location of the animal, and the fact that the authorities have been notified;
  • remains with the animal in a safe location until law enforcement or emergency responders arrive;
  • used not more force to enter the vehicle and remove the animal from the vehicle than was necessary under the circumstances.

R.C. § 959.133

 

Anti-cruelty:

Several changes were made to 959.131, the law concerning cruelty against companion animal. In the definition for "companion animal," the phrase "including a pet store as defined in section 956.01 of the Revised Code" was added to emphasize the law applies to pet stores.

A definition for “serious physical harm” was added. For purposes of this law, the phrase means:

(a) Physical harm that carries an unnecessary or unjustifiable substantial risk of death;

(b) Physical harm that involves either partial or total permanent incapacity;

(c) Physical harm that involves acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering or that involves any degree of prolonged or intractable pain;

(d) Physical harm that results from a person who confines or who is the custodian or caretaker of a companion animal depriving the companion animal of good, wholesome food and water that proximately causes the death of the companion animal.

The law now prohibits a person from knowingly causing serious physical harm to a companion animal (subsection H). Additionally, sections outlining what is prohibited were reorganized and made consistent for persons, owners, and operators of kennels.

R.C. § 959.131

 

The penalty section of the chapter (959.99) was amended to make section C in the law on cruelty against a companion animal (section 959.131) a felony of the fifth degree. Subsection C concerns causing serious physical harm to a companion animal.

R.C. § 959.99

 

Emergency Response:

A 2016 law allows a fire response, or response to aid law enforcement, a first responder, emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, or emergency medical technician-paramedic, in the course of an emergency medical response, to provide emergency medical services to a dog or cat prior to the dog or cat such as opening and manually maintaining an airway, managing ventilation by mask, immobilizing fractures, and administering the naloxone hydrochloride ("Narcan") among other listed things. This section also provides immunity for civil liability resulting from emergency medical services to a dog or cat unless the act or omission constitutes willful or wanton misconduct.

R.C. § 4765.52



Sexual assault of an animal:

Effective March 21, 2017, no person shall knowingly engage in sexual conduct with an animal or knowingly possess, sell, or purchase an animal with the intent that it be subjected to sexual conduct in Ohio. Further, no person shall knowingly organize, promote, aid, or abet in the conduct of an act involving any sexual conduct with an animal. Violation of this new law will be a misdemeanor of the second degree. The court may also impose, as a condition of probation, a requirement that the offender undergo psychological evaluation or counseling.

R.C. § 959.21

Oklahoma

No major statutory changes. 

Oregon

O.R.S. § 686.155

O.R.S. § 686.600



Veterinary laws:

Oregon enacted a law that establishes a fine, imposed by the Oregon State Veterinary Medical Examining Board, for administrative or clerical violations of the veterinary code/regulations if such violation does not create a risk of harm to the public. The fine imposed may not exceed $100.

O.R.S. § 686.155



The state also passed a law related to veterinary facilities. A veterinary facility may not offer services related to the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery or dentistry unless the veterinary facility has registered with the Oregon State Veterinary Medical Examining Board and designates a licensed veterinarian to be responsible for ensuring that the veterinary facility follows licensing laws. In addition, the board may inspect a veterinary facility to ensure that the veterinary facility is in compliance with this section and rules adopted under this section.

O.R.S. § 686.600

Pennsylvania

No major statutory changes. 

Rhode Island

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-2

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-3

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-5

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-43

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-19-1

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-19-2

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-19-8

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-19-9

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-19-11

Anti-cruelty:

New language was added to the animal cruelty laws. In sections § 4–1–2 and § 4–1–3, the following provision was added to both laws:

If the offense described in this section results in the death of the animal, the person shall be punished in the manner provided in § 4–1–5.

Section 4-1-5 was amended to increase the penalty. Now violators shall be imprisoned not exceeding two to five years and any person convicted under this section is required to serve ten to fifty hours of community restitution.

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-5

 

Dogs and Animal Care Facilities:

Under the section dealing with the purpose of the chapter on animal care, one of the stated purposes was changed:

To insure that all warm-blooded vertebrate animals, as items of commerce . . .

Was amended to:

To insure that all warm-blooded vertebrate animals, in the care of facilities licensed or registered under this chapter . . .

Additionally, the goal of regulating care of these animals was changed from the stated purpose of "buying, or selling them for commercial use" to "handling, housing, and care of these animals."

 

Terms were also clarified in the definitions section of § 4-19-2. In the definition for adequate water, the term "sufficient" was added before "supply of clean, fresh, potable water," and the phrase "to maintain the health of the  animal(s)" was also added.

The definition for animal shelter had the phrase "brick and mortar" added to distinguish it from virtual animal rescues.

The definition for "breeder" had an addition. The phrase "or for sale at wholesale or retail unless otherwise exempted as a hobby breeder as defined below" was added at the end. This shows that the definition applies to those who propagate dogs intended for retail or wide-scale distribution.

Two entirely new definitions were added:

(8) “Animal rescue” or “rescue” means an entity, without a physical brick and mortar facility, which is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals intended for adoption.

(11) “Broker” means any third party who arranges, delivers, or otherwise facilities transfer of ownership of animal(s), through adoption or fostering, from one party to another, whether or not the party receives a fee for providing that service and whether or not the party takes physical possession of the animal(s) at any point.

Finally, the term "hobby breeder" was clarified: "A hobby breeder shall not exceed the limits set forth in § 4–25–1(4). Any person who sells at retail a number in excess of the limits in the aforementioned section shall be considered a pet shop."

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-19-1

 

Under Section 4-19-8 on denial of certificates of registration or licenses, two new paragraphs were added concerning the  disposition of animals held by revoked licensees:

(b) Upon revocation of a certificate of registration, all animals in the possession of the pound, rescue, broker, or animal shelter must be transferred to another licensed releasing agency for disposition.

(c) Upon the revocation of a license, all animals in the possession of the public auction, kennel, pet shop, or dealer must be disposed of by the former licensee in a manner approved by the department. Such disposition must not be for profit and must occur in a timeframe that is determined by the department. Inspectors from the department or from the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals must have access to the facility where the animals being housed by the former licensees are being held until disposition so that the welfare of said animals can be assured.

In Section 4-19-9, language was added that makes each day of operation by an unlicensed facility a separate offense.  Further, "[a]dvertisement of services consistent with the operation of a pet shop, kennel, or public auction shall be sufficient evidence of operation of a pet shop, kennel, or public auction as applicable."

Section 4-19-11 on the mistreatment of animals by licensees was amended to make it clear that animals are subject to forfeiture and licenses may be revoked for violations. "Any animals that are suspected of being mistreated may be seized by the state veterinarian to ensure adequate welfare pursuant to § 4–1–31(f) with the cost of care for the aforementioned animals to be determined in the manner prescribed by that section." Previously the law simply provided for a fine not to exceed $50 for a first offense with subsequent violations resulting in fines not to exceed $100. 

 

Elephants:

Rhode Island enacted a law that prohibits the use of bullhooks and similar devices (ankus, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork) designed to inflict pain for the purpose of controlling an elephant. The law applies to any person who houses, possesses, or is in direct contact with an elephant utilized in a traveling show. Violation of the law incurs a fine of not more than $5,000 and imprisonment up to one year, or both fine and imprisonment.

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-43

South Carolina

No major statutory changes. 

South Dakota

No major statutory changes. 

Tennessee

T. C. A. § 44-8-408

T. C. A. § 44-8-413

T. C. A. § 63-12-146

Dogs running at-large/trespassing:

Section 44–8–408 is the dog trespassing law. The law that makes it an offense for a dog to run at-large, and either a misdemeanor or felony if the at-large dog causes damage to property or injury to a person. The law was amended in 2016 to allow a local government to authorize, by resolution or ordinance, an animal control agency to seize and take into custody any dog found trespassing on the premises of another.

T. C. A. § 44-8-408

 

Dog bite/dogs causing injury:

In Tennessee, the owner of a dog has a duty to keep the dog under reasonable control at all times, and has a duty to prevent his or her dog from running at large. This law then imposes civil liability on owners for damages suffered by a person who is injured by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in or on the private property of another. This was amended slightly in 2016 by limiting the definition of "owner." The following language was added at the end of the definition: "however, that land ownership alone is not enough to qualify a landowner as a regular harborer even if the landowner gave permission to a third person to keep the dog on the land . . ."

T. C. A. § 44-8-413

 

Veterinary laws:

A new section was added to the state's veterinary practice act in 2016. Tennessee enacted a law that creates a "veterinary wellness committee." The committee provides "immediate and continuing help to veterinary professionals licensed to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology, students of veterinary medicine and veterinary technology, certified animal euthanasia technicians, and employees of veterinary practices in this state who suffer from physical or mental conditions that result from disease, disorder, trauma, or age and that impair their ability to perform their duties in veterinary medicine with reasonable skill and safety." Notably, "[a]ll information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other data furnished to or produced by a veterinary wellness committee and any findings, conclusions, reports, or recommendations resulting from the proceedings of the committee are privileged and confidential." 

T. C. A. § 63-12-146

Texas

No major statutory changes. 

Utah

No major statutory changes. 

Vermont

10 V.S.A. § 5401 - 10

12 V.S.A. § 5784

13 V.S.A. § 352a

13 V.S.A. § 356

20 V.S.A. § 2365b

20 V.S.A. § 3903

24 V.S.A. § 1943

 

 

Animals in parked cars:

The state passed a law that provides a person who forcibly enters a motor vehicle to remove a minor or domestic animal shall not be subject to civil liability for damages arising from the forcible entry if the person follows certain guidelines.

12 V.S.A. § 5784

 

Anti-cruelty:

Under Vermont's aggravated cruelty to animals law, a new subsection was added related to police animals:

(3) intentionally injures or kills an animal that is in the performance of official duties while under the supervision of a law enforcement officer.

13 V.S.A. § 352a

 

In 2016, a law that creates an Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board within the Department of Public Safety was enacted. The purpose of this board is to advise the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Commissioner of Public Safety on issues involving the cooperation and coordination of all agencies that exercise animal welfare responsibilities. The Board will exercise oversight over the state's system for investigating and responding to animal cruelty complaints and to develop a systematic, collaborative approach to providing the best services to Vermont's animals statewide. To accomplish this, the law lists 13 duties, which include, among other things, assessing deficiencies in Vermont's system of investigating and responding to animal cruelty complaints; developing a guide for animal cruelty prosecution, including a review of current sentencing recommendations for State's Attorneys; and researching the feasibility of developing and implementing an animal cruelty prevention and education program for offenders to be used as a part of offenders' sentencing. The Board must meet at least six times a year and report to House and Senate committees once a year.

24 V.S.A. § 1943

A new law related to animal cruelty investigation training laws was enacted:

§ 2365b. Animal cruelty response training

As part of basic training in order to become certified as a Level Two and Level Three law enforcement officer, a person shall receive a two-hour training module on animal cruelty investigations as approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council and the Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board.

20 V.S.A. § 2365b. Section 2365b becomes effective July 1, 2017. Another new law relates to training and certification for humane officers:

§ 356. Humane officer required training

All humane officers, as defined in subdivision 351(4) of this title shall complete a certification program on animal cruelty investigation training as developed and approved by the Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board.

13 V.S.A. § 356

 

Endangered Species:

The state's endangered species laws received a substantial overhaul that became effective in 2016. In Section 5401, the definitional section, the term "take" as it applies to endangered species was defined (previously it was referenced in other fish and game laws). One major change to the definition was the addition of the phrase "creates a risk of injury to wildlife, whether or not the injury occurs" (subsection (14)(a)(ii)). Another important definition for "harming" was added:

(20) “Harming,” as used in the definition of “take” or “taking” under subdivision (14) of this section, means:

(A) an act that kills or injures a threatened or endangered species; or

(B) the destruction or imperilment of habitat that kills or injures a threatened or endangered species by significantly impairing continued survival or essential behavioral patterns, including reproduction, feeding, or sheltering.

10 V.S.A. § 5401

 

In the next section (5402) related to endangered and threatened species lists, subsection (b) previously stated: "(b) The Secretary shall determine a species to be endangered if it normally occurs in the State and its continued existence as wildlife or a wild plant in the State." The law now adds new phrasing:

(b) The Secretary shall determine a species to be endangered if it normally occurs in the State and its continued existence as a sustainable component of the State's wildlife or wild plants is in jeopardy.

This phrase "sustainable component" is now used throughout the law. In addition, under factors for the Secretary to consider, "degradation" and "fragmentation" were added to subsection (2) on a species' habitat. New factors were also added:

(6) competition with other species, including nonnative invasive species;

(7) the decline in the population;

(8) cumulative impacts

Finally, under subsection (e), the Secretary must now examine the listed criteria for listing AND delisting a species. Further, the Secretary must notify and consult with appropriate officials in Canada, appropriate State and federal agencies, other states having a common interest in the species, affected landowners, and any interested persons, at least 30 days prior to commencement of rulemaking. Previously, the law did not include Canada.

10 V.S.A. § 5402

 

A new law in the chapter, Section § 5402a, was created related to critical habitat for a species:

[T]he Secretary may, after the consultation required under subsection 5408(e) of this section, adopt or amend by rule a critical habitat designation list for threatened or endangered species. Critical habitat may be designated in any part of the State. The Secretary shall not be required to designate critical habitat for every State-listed threatened or endangered species.

There are 11 factors for the Secretary to consider in designating critical habitat. Moreover, "[p]rior to initiating rulemaking under this section to designate critical habitat, the Secretary shall notify the owner of record of any land on which critical habitat is proposed for designation. The Secretary shall make all reasonable efforts to work cooperatively with affected landowners."

10 V.S.A. § 5402a

 

In Section 5403, there is now a requirement that "[a]ny person who takes a threatened or endangered species shall report the taking to the Secretary." Another major revision occurred with Section 5408. An entire subsection was added related to "incidental takings." The law was amended to include a subsection on permits to take endangered or threatened species. Under that subsection, there are six steps that must be outlined in the application, including a description of the activity and steps that the applicant is taking to minimize the impact to the species. Permits may now be issued with a requirement for mitigation funds under subsection (i)(2). Public notice is required prior to issuing a permit for an incidental taking and prior to the initial issuance or amendment of a general permit under this section. Finally, there is a new category for "General Permits." These permits are "for activities that will not affect the continued survival or recovery of a threatened or endangered species." The bulk of the changes to this section relate to vegetative management permits by a utility.

10 V.S.A. § 5403

 

Lastly, Section 5410 - the law that makes the location of endangered or threatened species sites confidential - added a subsection:

(b) When the Secretary issues a permit under this chapter to take a threatened or endangered species or destroy or adversely impact critical habitat and when the Secretary designates critical habitat by rule under section 5402a of this title, the Secretary shall disclose only the municipality and general location where the threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat is located. When the Secretary designates critical habitat under section 5402a of this title, the Secretary shall notify the municipality in which the critical habitat is located and shall disclose the general location of the designated critical habitat.

10 V.S.A. § 5410

 

Shelters/rescues:

The law concerning registration of animal shelters was changed in 2016. Paragraph (a) of the law previously stated that a person must obtain a certificate of registration prior to operating an animal shelter or rescue organization. That paragraph was repealed in 2016.

20 V.S.A. § 3903

Virginia

 

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6504.1

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6549

VA Code Ann. § 51.5-44.1

Animals in parked cars:

Virginia added a new law that gives civil liability immunity to law-enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and animal control officers who forcibly enter a motor vehicle to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death. These individuals are not liable for any property damage to the vehicle or injury to the animal resulting from the forcible entry and removal of the animal (the exception being property damage or injury that results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct).

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6504.1

 

Animal shelters/rescues:

Under the law dealing with releasing agencies other than public or private animal shelters, a new subsection was added. This section requires that the releasing agency ". . . file with the State Veterinarian a copy of its intake policy."

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6549

 

Service animals:

In 2016, Virginia enacted a law that makes it a class 4 misdemeanor to knowingly and willfully fits a dog with a harness, collar, vest, or sign, or uses an identification card commonly used by a person with a disability, to represent that the dog is a service dog or hearing dog to fraudulently gain public access for such dog.

VA Code Ann. § 51.5-44.1

Washington

No major statutory changes. 

West Virginia


W. Va. Code, § 61-8-19c

Animal fighting:

West Virginia added a new section to its animal fighting laws. The new law makes it illegal for any person to bet or wager money or any other thing of value in any location or place where an animal fighting venture occurs. Violation is a misdemeanor with a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $2,000, or jail up to one year, or both.

There is graduated sentencing for subsequent convictions. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent violation is guilty of a felony, incurring a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, or imprisonment in a state correctional facility of not less than one year and up to five years, or both fine and imprisonment.

W. Va. Code, § 61-8-19c

Wisconsin

W.S.A. 29.083

W.S.A. 97.45

 

Horsemeat:

This former statute states that no person shall sell any horsemeat, unless it is conspicuously labeled, marked, branded or tagged “horsemeat.” Violation is a Class H felony. [97.45. Repealed by 2015 Act 243, § 59, eff. March 3, 2016].

 

Hunter harassment law:

Wisconsin's hunter harassment law added "attempt" to the list of prohibited activities: ". . . or intentionally interfere with or intentionally attempt to interfere with an activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping."

W.S.A. 29.083

Wyoming

 W. S. 1977 § 6-3-414

Ag-gag:

Wyoming added a new law entitled, "Trespassing to unlawfully collect resource data; unlawful collection of resource data." This law essentially states that a person is guilty of trespassing to unlawfully collect resource data from private land if he or she enters private land for the purpose of collecting resource data without an ownership interest or permission from the owner. “Resource data” means data relating to land or land use, including but not limited to data regarding agriculture, minerals, geology, history, cultural artifacts, archeology, air, water, soil, conservation, habitat, vegetation or animal species. Violation may result in imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both for a first offense, or by imprisonment for not less than ten days nor more than one year, a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both, if the person has previously been convicted of trespassing to unlawfully collect resource data or unlawfully collecting resource data.  

W. S. 1977 § 6-3-414

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