March 2006

Editor's Note
April marks my first month as editor of Taking Command and as the Director of the Canine Legislation Department. Stephanie Lane's seven year tenure with the Department marked many improvements to assist AKC's support of dog fanciers' efforts at the local and state level to promulgate reasonable and effective canine legislation. The Department will continue to advocate for responsible dog ownership and covets the continued support of the dog community.

The April issue features an excellent article by Ann Lettis describing her successful efforts to introduce legislation to recognize the German Shepherd Dog as the official state dog for the State of New York. Ann's article is a testament for the ability of a single individual to impact the legislative process and serves as a model for effective relations between dog fanciers and legislator.

Walt Bebout

The Year of the Dog
by Ann Lettis
Legislative Liaison, Responsible Dog Owners Association of New York
For those who may not know, 2006 is the Year of the Dog. That being the case, I’d like to pass along a suggestion on how you can do something that’s not only positive for your state, but which will also help form a good relationship with your local legislator, all thanks to our beloved canine companions.

Twenty years ago I discovered that among various state symbols, some states, including Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, included a breed of dog. While my own state, New York, even had the ladybug as our state insect, sadly we had no state dog. Although different breeds crossed my mind, it wasn’t until after 9/11, when the AKC’s DOGNY statues were created, that I realized the German Shepherd Dog was the most appropriate breed to become the New York State Dog.

Read the full article.

Around the Nation: Legislation That Affects You
ALABAMA -- S82 passed the House Judiciary Committee and now proceeds to the full House. The bill establishes a procedure by which a dog can be declared dangerous, provides an appeal process and requires that a dog found to be a significant threat to public health and safety be humanely euthanized. Owners of dangerous dogs may be fined up $300 for the first offense and $600 for a second offense. The dog is also required to be registered with the city or county for an unspecified fee.

CALIFORNIA -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has given tentative approval to a new mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for all dogs. Exceptions are made only if the dog is a law enforcement dog, a service animal or qualifies as a"competition dog." In addition, owners of intact animals that qualify are required to purchase a $60 permit for each dog. AKC is working with local fanciers and concerned dog owners to oppose this measure. To find out more details about this proposal and how you can help please read our Legislative Alert.

See news from other states.

Walter R. Bebout Named Director of Canine Legislation
We are pleased to announce the promotion of Walter R. Bebout to AKC Director of Canine Legislation.

Walt has been an AKC Conformation Field Representative since 1996. He has extensive experience in the sport of dogs as a breeder, exhibitor, AKC-approved judge, member club president, show chairman and AKC delegate.

Walt's dog-related experience is complemented by a Bachelor's and Master's degree in political science and progress toward a Ph.D. in the same field. In addition, he had significant experience in the public and private sectors in various management positions before coming to the AKC as a field representative.

As Director of Canine Legislation, Walt will be responsible for all AKC legislative initiatives on the local and state level. Also, he will work closely with the AKC Federal Government Relations Consultant on all federal issues. Walt will report to Noreen Baxter, AKC Vice President of Communications.

Walt and his wife will be relocating from Kansas City, MO to the AKC operations center in Raleigh, NC.

Please join us in congratulating Walt on his new position.

Walter R. Bebout, Director
Sarah Sprouse, Manager
Phone: 919-816-3720 | Fax: 919-816-4275 | Email:

© 2006 The American Kennel Club