DC Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge reverses ban on family dog travel

The Compliance Team at the DC Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge has relented and reversed a blanket ban on family dog travel that had gone into effect Monday.

The old policy took effect on Monday after a limited review into how many people had or would be transporting their dogs and instituted a set of requirements for checking tickets.

As of Monday, even dogs that were considered “micro” – only the head and feet, no tails – were prohibited from boarding at ODCJA, as there wasn’t a policy to waive the micro dog bans. DSPCA-CWD’s 100 pound dogs were also a no-fly requirement.

“We acknowledge that the policy was overly broad, and is the subject of much confusion and the need for clarification,” the DC Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge wrote in a new FAQ. “DC Animal Care and Control brought the revised policy to our attention and we will review this information in the coming days to determine if we will be reviewing any of our existing policies.”

Named after a charmingly mispronounced acronym, the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge has a responsibiity to conduct the administrative hearings for DC Animal Care and Control. In the past, OC&C has agreed with the admissions and convictions of the adopted dog and veterinary claims that the dogs had been healthy and well cared for. However, OC&C has been led under Mayor Muriel Bowser to issue stricter dog-related restrictions in DC after she took office in 2015.

“This decision demonstrates my commitment to ensuring families can safely transport their pets,” Bowser said in a statement. “Under this new policy, DCAC&C should be allowed to focus on its core mission as a dog-friendly city, while helping uphold an effective system for the guardians of licensed, microchipped dogs and cats to obtain the treatment they deserve. It is also very encouraging to see the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge suspend the blanket ban on family pet travel in the District of Columbia.”

Under the new compliance policy, under the “Current Violations” column, owners are directed to decide if the citations are warranted and they will be entitled to a meeting with “regulatory counsel” for advice and clarification. Should the dog owner feel the citation is valid, they must pay a $100 administrative processing fee for the ticket and present it to a “regulatory counsel” to make a claim and apply for reimbursement, all within 14 days.

“It is critical that animal welfare be taken seriously,” DCAC&C tweeted Monday. “Failure to comply with our laws can lead to abandonment, and animal neglect and/or abuse. Anything less is not just an inconvenience; it has the potential to put even more dogs in danger.”

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