The AKC Show Searches for a New Home on the West Coast

Long Beach, Calif., could be the new site if the city's dog-breeding ban is lifted.

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Officials in Long Beach, Calif., are considering an end to the citys dog-breeding ban, a move that could also convince the American Kennel Club to make Long Beach the permanent home for its national championships. But the city is facing opposition from animal protection groups, who say that allowing dog breeding would increase the number of strays that winds up homeless and facing euthanasia.

At a December city council meeting, activists concerns and suggestions were persuasive enough that a decision was postponed for 45 days for additional input.

The city council has criticized the current no-breeding law as unenforceable, says Margo Carter, an officer with Friends of Long Beach Animals, who opposes lifting the ban as long as shelters are crowded with unwanted animals. Please be proactive, put some muscle in the current law. Someones logic says there are too many illegal breeders in Long Beach, and we can't stop them, so lets make it legal. The council is expected to consider a revised proposal in February.

I think its going to be more restrictive than ever, says Long Beach Vice-Mayor Jackie Kell, who proposed new legislation after noticing several incidents of illegal breeding. Kell explains that the citys proposed ordinance would make it a misdemeanor if a dog breeder did not obtain a permit and abide by the regulations, which could mean jail time for violators.

Dog breeders who purchase a $140 permit would be limited to one litter per year under the proposed ordinance, and would have to submit to a background check (the intention of which is to prevent the breeding of vicious dogs). Animal control officers would also be able to inspect kennels without notice an important point, according to Kell, because under the current ban officers need to obtain a search warrant to catch illegal breeders.

Meanwhile, the American Kennel Club wants to establish a single location for its national championship currently the event shuttles back and forth between the East and West coasts but informed Long Beach officials in 2003 that they would prefer to see the ban lifted before settling there.

Long Beach is a top contender, but nothing is set in stone, says AKC spokeswoman Daisy Okas. Tampa Bay, Fla. where the event will be held in January 2006 is one possibility, among others. There are just many, many factors, she says.

Okas notes that Long Beach is appealing partly because the city can accommodate up to 100 vendors, compared to 40 in Tampa Bay.

The event is also televised by Animal Planet, and provides a large economic boost for the city. The national championship is scheduled to return to Long Beach in December 2006.

Posted: Dec. 29, 2005, 3p.m. EST

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