December 2010

From our Nation's Capitol
The U.S. Congress returned to work on November 15 for a post-election “lame duck” session.  The AKC Government Relations and AKC’s federal advocacy team in Washington, D.C., continue to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2010 Legislative Tracking Page and click on “US Fed” on the map to get the latest updates on federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC.

Here are some highlights of the bills we’re tracking in Congress:

News from the State Capitols
Ten state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Several states have also begun prefiling legislation for the 2011 session.  To date, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) has tracked over 1,100 bills in 2010 at the federal and state levels. For the latest information on the 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

Here are some highlights of the bills we are currently tracking:

Local Battles
The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners and breeders with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can’t help unless we are aware of the proposal! If you hear of an issue in your town or county, please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or 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, as well as some victories for dog owners within the past month.

Winter Issue of In Session Congressional Newsletter Now Available
In SessionThe Winter 2010 issue of the federal newsletter In Session is now available. This issue, which was sent electronically to every congressional office, discusses AKC’s Meet the Breeds™ event in New York City, the AKC ACE winners, and highlights AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program and new Breeder of Merit program. It also includes AKC’s recent letter to Congress outlining concerns with the PUPS legislation. We encourage you to consider printing this newsletter and personally sharing it with your lawmakers.

You can access past issues of the state and federal versions of this newsletter by clicking here.
2010 Canine Legislation Year in Review
2010 was a year of many challenges and many victories for responsible dog owners, fanciers and breeders. The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) had another record-breaking year in the number of canine legislative proposals introduced on the federal, state, and local levels.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of numerous AKC state federations, local clubs, and concerned fanciers, breeders and dog owners, a number of the over 1,200 proposals introduced were defeated or never considered. AKC GR was pleased to support the efforts of local dog owners working to protect their rights.

Read more about canine legislation trends in 2010.

AKC PAC Supports Numerous Dog-Friendly Candidates in 2010 Elections
The united voice of the fancy and responsible dog owners can be powerful and effective, and this was demonstrated in the success of the American Kennel Club Political Action Committee (AKC PAC) in 2010. Thanks to the generosity of numerous concerned dog owners across the United States, the AKC PAC contributed approximately $36,000 to nearly 60 federal, state and local candidates.

Read more about the AKC PAC's 2010 success.

Bernese Mountain Dogs in the snow. Photo by Bruce Beals.
As the end of the year approaches, it's time to reflect on experiences and lessons learned over the past year and to anticipate the challenges ahead.

On behalf of the American Kennel Club, we thank you for your dedication to ensuring the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders this year. Your continued hard work and dedication to advocating for responsible dog ownership whether as part of a federation, a club member, an individual breeder or a PAC donor – have helped ensure many legislative successes in the last year. Still, we can anticipate more challenges than ever next year.

This end-of-year issue of Taking Command includes an AKC PAC and our 2010 legislative year in review. The AKC PAC achieved a nearly 85% success rate this year. We've also seen some exciting successes including the defeat of a mandatory spay/neuter proposal in California (SB 250) and unreasonable breeder regulation in North Carolina (SB 460) after a two-year fight. In Florida, an attempt to repeal a statewide prohibition on breed-specific legislation was also defeated (HB 543/SB 1276).

Although election years rarely see the same quantity of legislation as non-election years, AKC GR tracked vast increases in the number of bills tracked and addressed at the state level alone. A clear and direct result of anti-breeder legislation defeated in 2009 and 2010 has translated into new attempts to pass the same or similar legislation at local/county levels or through different means such as ballot initiatives. In the coming year, it will be more important than ever for state federations and local legislative liaisons to keep up to date with local legislation – and to let us know how we can help you.

Disappointments in Oklahoma and Missouri have illustrated new trends in canine legislation and the tenacity of those who seek to limit our rights to own or breed dogs. We've learned once again that there's little rest for the weary. Even if it appears that a bill has been defeated, it can come back–even worse–the next year. We've also seen how important it is for breeders to keep their kennels in order. Regardless of whether we approve of a law, we are bound as good citizens and responsible dog owners/ breeders to know, understand and uphold those laws. Anything less is an invitation to new laws, inconsistent enforcement, or personal and professional disaster. Where breeders are under attack, we must go the extra step to demonstrate through education, community outreach and advocacy that we are the voice of reason and a cornerstone of our communities.
As you count your blessings this year, consider also sending a thank you note to legislators who have been supportive over the last year. They'll appreciate it, and you'll have taken an important step in preparing for the New Year.

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

© 2010 American Kennel Club