AKC's Taking Command
A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
March 2009

News from the State Capitols
Many states kicked off their 2009 legislative sessions in January, and the Government Relations team is already hard at work tracking over 600 state bills and working with local federations and dog clubs to protect the rights of owners and breeders. Also, many local municipalities are considering ordinances that affect responsible dog owners.

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
Many local municipalities are also considering ordinances that will have a tremendous impact on dog owners and breeders.

The AKC is unable to track every single city and town in the country, so if you hear about an issue in your community, be sure to contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org. We have a number of resources available to help your efforts to protect your rights as a dog owner in your community. Here are some of the highlights so far in 2009.
2009 Legislative Success
The AKC Government Relations Department is working hard with local federations, dog clubs, and concerned owners to protect the rights of responsible dog owners. Despite the many challenges we have seen so far this year, there have been a number of victories for owners, breeders, and fanciers at the state and local level. Read more.
2008 Year in Review
2008 was a busy year for AKC's Government Relations Department. A combination of sound policy, motivated and well-educated constituents, and lots of long hours resulted in many successes. Here's a quick recap.
AKC Distributes New Bulletin to Congress
In SessionAKC's Government Relations and Club Communications Departments recently teamed up to produce a new publication for federal lawmakers and their staffs. In Session – AKC's Congressional Newsletter features news and information from the world of dogs, including information on the AKC and our nearly 5,000 affiliated clubs. In addition to regular commentaries and analyses on current dog-related policy and legislative issues, the newsletter highlights AKC's public education programs, charitable donations, and other grass roots initiatives that benefit all dogs and their owners and communities.
Why Breed-Specific Legislation Doesn't Work
American Staffordshire TerrierWe have all heard the heartbreaking stories: A child brutally attacked by a dog. A beloved family pet or a farmer's livestock killed or injured by a stray dog. Such stories are far too common, and we all agree that something must be done to protect our children, our property, and our communities at large from dangerous animals.

When faced with this dilemma, many state and local governments turn to breed-specific legislation (BSL) as a possible solution. Breed-specific legislation, however, creates extra burdens on the government and dog owners but doesn't solve the underlying problem—irresponsible ownership and the threat to the community. The American Kennel Club agrees that communities must be protected. This is exactly why we oppose breed-specific legislation. Read more.
Where We Stand
Ever wonder exactly where the AKC stands on an issue? View the AKC's Board–Approved Position Statements (pdf).
We're Working for You: The AKC Government Relations Department
The American Kennel Club announces the appointment of Sheila Goffe to Director of the Government Relations Department. She replaces Walter Bebout, who retired in late November after 12 years with the AKC.

Sheila GoffeGoffe joined the AKC in August 2006, as Breed Columns Editor. She also wrote frequent feature articles for the AKC Gazette. In early 2008, Sheila was named Manager of AKC's Public Education Department, a department she continues to advise. Before coming to AKC, she worked for Congressional Quarterly, Inc., in Washington, D.C. Her previous experience includes working for the Economist Newsgroup Economic Intelligence Unit, and for the International Executive Service Corps as Senior Evaluations Analyst and Regional Program Analyst. Read more.

Meet the Government Relations Team
In addition to our new director, the AKC Government Relations team represents a diverse wealth of experience and expertise. Each member of the team works to protect the rights of fanciers, breeders, and responsible dog owners. Click here to read more about the AKC Government Relations team.
  Director's Letter Welcome to the newly-relaunched Taking Command, the newsletter of the American Kennel Club's Government Relations Department.

The purpose of this monthly newsletter is to educate, inform and empower purebred dog owners and breeders about the legislative challenges we face, and to help preserve the rights of responsible owners and breeders. Each Taking Command will contain an update on the major legislative issues and developments that we are monitoring/addressing throughout the country. It also will provide you with useful information and insight on how to defend your rights, and how to educate and work effectively with officials to develop policy that encourages responsible ownership and punishes irresponsible ownership.

Today, we are being challenged as never before by the introduction of legislation that could change or destroy our way of life. The AKC Government Relations (GR) department is committed to fighting these battles wherever they occur, but this battlefield is vast and we need your help. The GR department is staffed by five individuals (see Meet the GR Team) based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. We rely heavily on our club-based legislative liaisons (pdf) and state-wide federations to be our eyes and ears "on the ground". These groups play a crucial role in keeping us informed about threatening legislation and other issues at the local level and letting us know when they need our assistance. If your club does not have a legislative liaison yet, please consider appointing one this is easy to do, and it's one of the most important first steps we can take to coordinate our efforts. If your state doesn't have a federation of dog clubs, please consider forming one. We can help you do this, but we need to hear from you.

Through its compliance and inspections programs, the AKC has demonstrated a level of commitment to ensuring quality of care and conditions for purebred dogs heretofore unknown by any registry. More than ever, the AKC remains the gold standard for purebred dogs. Let's work together to ensure that the voice of responsible breeders and owners is heard in state houses and city halls throughout the country, and that our beautiful purebred dogs are protected for future generations to enjoy.

I look forward to working with you to meet these challenges. For tools on fighting legislation and the latest legislative alerts, visit our web page. Also, please don't hesitate to contact us personally at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

All the best,

Sheila Goffe
Director of Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Fax: (919) 816-4275
Email: doglaw@akc.org
Government Relations
Legislative Alerts