Taking Command

December 2009

From our Nation's Capitol
The AKC is monitoring a number of issues in Congress of interest to purebred dog owners. Read about them here.
News from the State Capitols
Seven state legislatures (Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin), and the District of Columbia are currently in session. Forty-three states have adjourned their regular sessions or are in recess. For the latest information on the over 875 state and federal bills being tracked by the Government Relations Department, visit our 2009 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated daily, provides the latest bill text, status, and any Legislative Alerts posted by the AKC.

For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

Here are some of the highlights.
Local Battles
Although most state legislatures have adjourned, many municipalities are still considering ordinances that could affect your rights as dog owners. If you hear of an issue in your town or county, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org. We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools, and support you need to help fight for responsible dog ownership in your community. Here are some examples of the approximately 120 local issues we are monitoring.
2009 Legislative Wrap-Up
2009 has been a year of many challenges and many victories for responsible dog owners, fanciers, and breeders. The AKC Government Relations Department (GR) has been pleased to work with thousands of dog owners around the country in support of responsible dog ownership. Read more.
Mixed Breed Dog Owners Welcomed Into AKC Community
In October 2009, the AKC announced a major new initiative called AKC Canine Partners, which welcomes mixed breed owners into the wonderful community of AKC dog owners and demonstrates the AKC's commitment to being the champion of all dogs and responsible dog owners. Canine Partners encourages proper training, responsible dog ownership, and pet owner education, while also allowing all dogs and their owners to benefit from the numerous services the AKC provides.

Although these dogs will not be a part of AKC's traditional purebred registry, their owners will receive special certification that enables them to compete in certain stand-alone AKC companion events, as well as a lifetime enrollment in the AKC's Companion Animal Recovery service. All dogs enrolled in this program must be spayed or neutered, in keeping with the AKC's promotion of responsible dog ownership.

Now more than ever before, it is essential for dog owners to join together to protect our rights and take a stand in support of responsible dog ownership. The AKC's new Canine Partners program is an excellent way for fanciers and dog owners to not only compete together in certain events, but also to work together in support of responsible dog ownership.

Clubs and individuals are urged to welcome new Canine Partners members in their stand-alone AKC Agility, Rally, and Obedience events and work with them on canine legislative issues in your state and community.

For more information on the Canine Partners program, visit the new Canine Partners web page (or go to akc.org and click on "Mixed Breeds" in the top menu).

HSUS Recruiting AKC Parent Clubs
Members of several AKC Parent Clubs have recently contacted the Government Relations (GR) Department regarding letters they received from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). These letters invite Parent Clubs to participate in a new "Breeder's Advisory Council" that will help fight irresponsible breeding. The letters also ask the clubs' breed rescues to participate in the new Emergency Services Placement Partners program, who will then be contacted to help take in dogs when HSUS is on location during a "natural or man-made" disaster, including raids on local kennels. Read more.

Click to print these downloadable flyers about dog legislation:.

Can you imagine a world
without dogs?
Where did all the dogs go?

Help AKC fight anti-dog legislation
Welcome to our 2009 legislative wrap-up issue. This year has been our busiest ever in both fighting bad legislation and providing new services for AKC constituents.

Although the role of AKC's Government Relations Department is primarily educational and informational, in 2009 AKC GR monitored and took action on over 870 state bills and 100 local initiatives and conducted 15 legislative training sessions throughout the country. We are pleased to report significant success on state and local issues in which we were involved. A large portion of this success is due to the dedication of our state federations, legislative liaisons, and ordinary club members who made personal sacrifices to lobby their representatives on these important issues.

AKC GR also developed a number of new tools this year to help you stay informed on issues in Congress as well as your state and local community:

• Newly re-launched Taking Command. Thank you for your positive response to the re-establishment of this newsletter. Your comments/suggestions are always welcome.

• New In Session newsletter. This Congressional Newsletter has elicited a very positive response from legislators and constituents alike. In the coming year, distribution will be expanded from federal legislators only to include state legislators throughout the country.

• New legislative tracking system designed to help you track bills in your state and U.S. Congress that affect you.

This issue provides our year-end wrap-up, which includes detailed accounts and summaries of the year in canine legislation. Some of our most significant battles involved mandatory spay/neuter proposals, breed bans, onerous consumer protection requirements, and breeder and kennel regulations. In this issue, we're also pleased to report significant success in educating legislators on these issues this year, but the fight is far from over. Our January 2010 issue will unveil new tools and resources designed to help you be an effective advocate for responsible dog owner rights.

As the year draws to a close, I thank you all for your efforts and dedication to preserving the future of responsible ownership and breeding. If your club or group has not already done so, I urge you to appoint a legislative liaison and/or form a state federation so that together we can work for bright future for the dogs we love.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, and all the best in the new year,

Sheila Goffe
Director of Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Email: doglaw@akc.org
Government Relations
Legislative Alerts
2009 Legislation Tracking