Taking Command

April 2010

From our Nation's Capitol
Congress is on spring recess from March 26-April 9. Members will be back on Capitol Hill starting Monday, April 11. Visit our 2010 Legislative Tracking Page and click on “US Fed” on the map to get the latest updates on all federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC.
News from the State Capitols
Thirty-three state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. For the latest information on the approximately 1,000 state and federal bills being tracked by the Government Relations (GR) Department, visit our 2010 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated daily, provides the latest bill text, status, and 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
The AKC Government Relations Department continues to work with responsible dog owners to help with canine legislation issues in their local communities. 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 local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR.

Breeder Battleground: Update from Missouri
Missouri has become a major battleground in the fight to own and breed dogs. Activists from the HSUS, ASPCA, and other groups are soliciting signatures to place breeder regulations on the November 2010 general election ballot. AKC’s Missouri federation has responded with a law suit and a proposed constitutional amendment to protect the rights of Missourians to raise animals in a humane manner.

The precedents set here will likely impact other states in the future. The AKC Government Relations Department urges clubs and breeders in all states to study the Missouri situation as a possible precedent for future actions in other states that allow for ballot initiatives. We encourage you to support your state federations and unite together in support of responsible dog ownership and breeding. Read more.
Elections Essentials – It's Time to Get Involved
As election season heats up around the country, we will be publishing a series of articles on actions that dog clubs, owners and breeders can do to make a difference. In this first installment, we provide an overview of a variety of ways you can get involved.

Let's face it – politics isn't always the most popular topic. It tends to be confusing, intimidating, and for many people just plain boring. It's something that a lot of us would prefer to ignore. This year, however, there are numerous elections that could impact our ability to own and breed dogs. A large number of seats in local, state, and federal offices will be up for grabs in both the primary and general elections. As responsible dog owners, exhibitors, and breeders, we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as voters head to the polls to choose candidates and decide the fate of ballot measures that will significantly impact our rights.

Now is the time to make a difference by letting candidates know that dog issues and the right to responsibly own, breed, and exhibit dogs is a key issue in determining who will get your vote in November. Here are some things you can do.
I own a dog and I vote!
Participate in AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days!
American Kennel Club Responsible Dog Ownership DaysWe encourage all clubs, federations and other dog organizations to become involved in AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days this September. Educate attendees about their rights and responsibilities as dog owners. Invite local legislators to attend and demonstrate how your club or organization is promoting responsible dog ownership in your community.

When inviting legislators, let them know specifically why they should attend. Tell them this is a fun, family-oriented opportunity to interact with constituents. Also let them know about the types of events you are having, if there will be media present, and so on. Offer to give them and their guests a personal tour of the event. If there will be awards, ask them to present them. Let your legislators know that you will announce their presence, or provide them a brief chance to speak if it is appropriate.

If you do have legislators attend, be prepared. Give them a small packet of information about responsible dog ownership, canine legislation, and in particular any projects your club or organization has done in the community.

This is an excellent opportunity to educate lawmakers in a fun, relaxed environment. Educating them about the good works of responsible dog owners and breeders (without bombarding them on issues) is a wonderful way to establish a relationship with lawmakers and let them know the value of supporting responsible dog ownership.

For more suggestions and ideas on communicating with lawmakers about RDO days, contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 813-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

See event ideas and more information.

New from the GR Toolbox:
Be an Effective Communicator!

Communicating Effectively with Your LegislatorsAs you talk with legislators and candidates about canine legislation, it is important to make sure that your message is effective, and that you know what to do when disagreements arise.  In the past, the AKC has provided brochures entitled Disagree Diplomatically and Prepare for Action to help you be a successful communicator and advocate.  The new Communicating Effectively with Your Legislators handout combines these two brochures into your choice of a one-page, printable handout or a colorful brochure that can be distributed to clubs and fellow breeders to help ensure successful and effective communications with lawmakers and candidates. 

Click here to download the one-page handout.

Click here to download the brochure.

Visit the Government Relations Toolbox to access a wealth of materials designed to help you be a successful advocate for responsible dog breeding and ownership!

Help AKC fight anti-dog legislation
Spring is in the air! Throughout much of the country, the weather is improving, flowers are blooming … and the election season is underway.

As dog lovers, we focus so much of our lives on our dogs. But too few of us think about getting involved in politics as a way to ensure that we protect our rights to own dogs. Unfortunately, challenges to our rights are increasingly a fact of life for us. In the last year alone, we've seen numerous proposals in nearly every state and many local jurisdictions that would dramatically affect our ability to continue to properly care for and breed the dogs we love.

Although it is only April, the AKC Government Relations Department is already tracking almost 1,000 pieces of legislation that could affect dog owners and breeders in 2010. Missouri is facing a potential ballot measure that could significantly impact breeding in the state, and responsible owners and breeders there are supporting legislation to respond with a ballot measure of their own – an action that may be a precedent for dog owners in other states.

Responsible dog owners and breeders can no longer sit on the political sidelines. In this issue, we offer some simple suggestions on how you, your friends, and fellow club members can make a difference in the upcoming elections. We also unveil a new addition to our Government Relations Toolbox to help you communicate effectively with lawmakers and candidates.

I encourage you to take a few moments to take a look at the toolbox and the numerous resources already added. Consider printing out some materials and distributing them to colleagues and clients, at local dog shows and events, and anywhere else dog lovers gather. This will help spread the word about canine legislation and the very real threat to responsible dog owners and breeders.

You may also want to consider partnering with others in your community to organize a Responsible Dog Ownership (RDO) Day. Although most of these events take place in September, it's not too early to begin planning – and considering inviting local lawmakers to attend. RDO Days are a terrific way to educate the public and lawmakers about the wonderful things local dog clubs and organizations do to promote and protect responsible dog ownership. Visit the AKC's Responsible Dog Ownership Day web page for more information on these events.

The AKC Government Relations Department stands ready to assist you in the fight to protect our dogs and our rights to responsibly own, breed, and exhibit them. If you hear of an issue in your state or community, or have questions about how to get involved in the upcoming elections, do not hesitate to contact us.

We also want to hear your ideas. If you have a creative, effective way of educating lawmakers or the public about canine legislation, be sure to let us know. We'd love to share it with others.

Thanks again for your dedication. Let's make 2010 to make sure our best year yet!

All the best,
Sheila Goffe
Director of Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Email: doglaw@akc.org
Government Relations
Legislative Alerts
2010 Legislation Tracking

© 2010 American Kennel Club