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   November 2006

Editor's Note
The November 2006 elections resulted in changed majorities and leadership in the US Congress. While the federal level races dominated the media coverage, it is important to remember that the biennial November elections also result in newly elected officials at the state and local levels.

Most state legislatures will convene in January with the introduction of scores of new bills with the potential to impact the right to own and breed dogs responsibly. Carryover breeders’ bills in Ohio and New Jersey and proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s Dog Law illustrate the importance of an active and vigilant dog fancy. Local level breed specific initiatives, mandatory spay and neuter ordinances, and dog ownership limit laws will again plague responsible dog owners in 2007.

It is critical that the dog fancy establish relationships with newly elected public officials and reinforce past positive associations with returning legislators sympathetic to our issues. The “Setting the Stage for Success” article in this issue provides many excellent suggestions for outreach to elected officials and is a “must read” for anyone committed to canine legislation issues.

The Canine Legislation Department wishes you the best of Holiday Seasons.

Walt Bebout

Setting the Stage for Success

Experienced legislative advocates know that the best way to prevent bad legislation from being enacted is to build a relationship with public officials before an issue arises. As new legislators are being seated at the federal, state and local levels in the coming weeks, fanciers and concerned dog owners should be organizing to connect with these leaders. Below are a series of suggestions about how you can work with your elected officials to build a strong relationship.

  • Send a congratulations letter; better yet, send one on club letterhead and use the opportunity to invite the politician to attend a club meeting.
  • Arrange individual meeting with the members of your city council to introduce your club members and to make your club available as a resource on any animal control issues that may arise.

Read the full article.

Around the Nation: Legislation That Affects You
CALIFORNIA The San Jose Animal Advisory Committee is proposing changes to the animal control ordinance that would require all dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered and to restrict where animals can be sold. A copy of the draft proposal has not yet been made available to the public, although the San Jose Animal Care and Services division states that the mandatory spay/neuter provisions will not apply to qualified competition animals. The Canine Legislation Department has sent materials to concerned dog owners and will be working with the city council members once a draft is available. Local fanciers and dog owners are encouraged to contact their representative on the city council and educate them about the rights and benefits of responsible breeding programs. The measure is expected to go before the San Jose City Council in January of 2007.

See news from other states.

Be Alert: National Patterns of Legislation
Dog fanciers in every state need to be cognizant of a commonality of language and purpose in much of the negative canine legislation introduced each year at the state and local levels. Mandatory spay and neuter ordinances, state-level breeders’ legislation, and tethering bills are particularly susceptible to duplication across the country. The exact same language appears in bills introduced in multiple communities and states, suggesting that these are not local initiatives but are instead a concerted effort of a well-financed animal rights movement operating in an organized pattern to infringe on the rights of responsible dog owners.

Read the full article.

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

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