Responsible dog owners, exhibitors, and breeders regularly fight for their rights from city halls to the halls of Congress, but there is another battleground in 27 states that cannot be ignored – the ballot initiative process. The path these propositions take to get to the ballot varies by state, but the basics remain the same: Once the proposition is on the ballot, popular vote will decide whether it becomes law. It is imperative that residents of these states pay close attention to the propositions on the ballot this November to consider how they will affect responsible animal owners and breeders.
Understanding Ballot Propositions
Once the ballot measure passes, it becomes law. In most states, another ballot measure would then have to be introduced in order to overturn it. This is why it is essential for voters to pay close attention to what ballot measures actually say and give them careful consideration before voting. Before every election, the Secretary of State’s office or state elections board sends every registered voter a sample ballot that shows everything that will appear on that voter’s ballot. For ballot initiative states, this sample ballot will include all propositions exactly as they will appear on the ballot. Read these carefully and consider how they will affect responsible animal owners.
Many ballots may only provide summaries of the full proposition, and they are often written by supporters of the measure. Visit your Secretary of State’s website to read the ballot propositions in their entirety. If you have questions, contact the AKC Government Relations Department. While the AKC rarely takes positions on ballot propositions, our staff is willing to help you understand ballot initiatives relating to animals.
If you hear about a ballot proposition effort, take the time to learn the process for your state. Each state with ballot initiatives has a different process for determining how a measure is placed on the ballot. Contact your Secretary of State’s office or visit the office’s web site and obtain the regulations regarding the ballot initiative process. Does the proposition have to obtain a certain number of signatures? Does it have to be approved by the state legislature first? Understanding the process can help you know how best to address the proposition at every stage of the fight.
Missouri Needs Your Help!
Proposition B seeks to regulate dog breeding in Missouri, including limiting ownership to 50 intact animals. The AKC opposes this measure and is committed to defending the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders regardless of the number of dogs they own. The issue is not the number of animals someone owns, but rather the quality of care the dogs receive. Cruelty and negligence can occur regardless of the number of animals owned. In the same way, excellent care can be provided no matter how many animals someone owns. If this measure succeeds in Missouri, it is likely that dog breeding in many other states could face similar threats. Responsible breeders and owners in Missouri are working to oppose this ballot measure, and there are a number of ways you and your club can help. In addition to financial assistance, consider contacting colleagues in Missouri and asking them to vote no and to help with the campaign to oppose it. For more information on ways you can help fight Proposition B, contact the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners.