Taking Command

October 2009

From our Nation's Capitol
Congress has returned from summer recess and is expected to soon take action on a number of issues of interest to dog owners.
News from the State Capitols
There are currently five state legislatures in session and forty-five that are in special session, recess, or have adjourned. For the latest information on the over 850 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 100 local issues we are monitoring.
GR Mourns Loss of Former Director
On Friday, September 11, the purebred dog community lost a great man with the untimely passing of Walter Bebout.

A dog person since his youth, Walt gained extensive experience in the sport of dogs as a breeder, exhibitor, AKC-approved judge, member club president, show chairman, and AKC delegate. Walt joined AKC's staff in 1996 as a Conformation Field Representative, covering dog shows throughout the South and Midwest. In April 2006, he was named Director of Canine Legislation, and was responsible for all AKC legislative initiatives on the local and state level, and worked closely with AKC's federal government relations consultants on all federal issues. Walt's leadership brought about several major achievements for AKC, including the defeat of New York's 2006 crop/dock bill and California's 2007 mandatory spay/neuter bill, and shepherding the staff's development of the AKC Political Action Committee.

Upon his retirement in November 2008, Walt returned to his family and his beloved Kansas City home, where he enjoyed showing and judging dogs, writing, teaching, and working toward his Ph.D. in political science.

Walt was killed in a traffic accident en route to judging Best in Show at the Hutchinson Kennel Club dog show. A respected dog man and a beloved colleague, Walt will be greatly missed.

Walt Bebout.
Photo courtesy AKC's Government Relations Department
Join the Fight for Responsible Dog Ownership!
Responsible dog owners and breeders have witnessed a significant increase in restrictive canine legislation this past year. Voters across the country will be heading to the polls this November and next year to select Congressional leaders, Governors, and state legislators.

Trying to ensure that your rights as a dog owner are considered and protected during campaigns and legislative sessions can be a daunting thought. Across the country, individuals and clubs have partnered with us in two programs designed to help ensure your voice is heard. The American Kennel Club Political Action Committee (AKC PAC) and Canine Legislation Support Fund (CLSF) collect contributions from responsible dog owners and concerned citizens and use the funds to ensure dog-friendly candidates are elected and that responsible dog ownership is protected in Congress and state legislatures. Read more.

AKC Welcomes Two New State Federations
When united, the voice of responsible dog owners can be a powerful political tool. This is why the AKC strongly supports the establishment of a state federation in each state, so that clubs can unite together to fight bad dog laws that would impact them directly and support measures that encourage responsible dog ownership. The AKC Government Relations (GR) Department is pleased to welcome the Indiana Purebred Dog Alliance and the Kansas Federation of Dog Clubs to our growing list of state federations promoting responsible dog ownership in their states and local communities. Read more.
Help AKC fight anti-dog legislation
Autumn is a season of change. We look back on the activities of the summer and look forward to planning for the upcoming holidays. The same is true in the Government Relations Department. We continue to address state and local legislation as it arises and are beginning to prepare for the 2010 Legislative Sessions and elections.

This issue continues to outline various ways you can help prepare for the upcoming sessions and elections. In addition to becoming a Legislative Liaison and creating or joining an AKC state federation, the Canine Legislation Support Fund (CLSF) and Political Action Committee (PAC) are two distinct opportunities for you or your club to assist our legislative efforts. The CLSF supports the AKC's work at all levels of government, allowing us to better educate public officials and advocate on behalf of you and other responsible dog owners. The PAC supports the campaigns of dog-friendly candidates, thereby working to ensure your rights are protected in your state legislature.

These two essential programs were developed by Walt Bebout, AKC's former Director of Canine Legislation. Walt loved dogs and our sport. He felt strongly that you deserved to have a voice in Congress and state legislatures and worked tirelessly to increase the effectiveness of the Government Relations Department and strengthen the voice of responsible dog owners.

On September 11, Walt was killed on his way to judge Best in Show at an event near his home in Kansas City. I will never forget his easy-going manner and his support and mentoring as I took over his role as Director of Government Relations. Since his retirement from the AKC at the end of 2008, Walt has resided in Kansas City, enjoying time with his family and continuing to work on behalf of the dog fancy and responsible dog owners in Kansas. One of his last acts was to help form the new Kansas Federation of Dog Clubs so that Kansans can have a united voice at the state legislature.

Walt will be sorely missed, and we are proud to continue his work in fighting to ensure your voice is heard at all levels of government.

All the best,

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