Taking Command

February 2010

From our Nation's Capitol
Congress is currently in session. 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 AKC. Here are the highlights.
News from the State Capitols
Forty state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department is tracking almost 700 bills that carried over from 2009, plus over 100 new pieces of legislation already introduced in 2010. For the latest information on the approximately 800 state and federal bills being tracked by the Government Relations Department, visit our 2010 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.

View the highlights here.
Local Battles
In addition to state and federal legislation, the AKC Government Relations Department assists responsible dog owners with local dog ordinance proposals. 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 we are monitoring.
News from the Courts
United States Supreme Court – On Thursday, January 21, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizen's United v. Federal Elections Commission. In the 5-4 decision, the Court struck down several provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance laws and other campaign finance laws. The decision will allow corporations, labor unions, and not-for-profits to donate money directly from their treasuries to further political campaigns. Additionally, issue-based ads paid for by corporations and unions and their political action committees may be run up until an election day. The decision does not allow corporations, labor unions, and not-for-profits to contribute directly to candidates; and they are still required to file certain reports with the Federal Elections Commission. Ads not authorized by the candidate or a political committee must still include a disclaimer stating who is responsible for the ad.

Toledo, Ohio – On January 20, Toledo, Ohio Municipal Court Judge Michael Goulding ruled that parts of the city's vicious dogs law and "pit bull" ownership restrictions were unconstitutional. The judge found that the city's ownership restrictions were in conflict with the state's home-rule doctrine as they went above and beyond state law. While the City of Toledo has appealed the decision, claiming its "pit bull" ordinance was a valid exercise of home-rule power, the city is likely to also convene a citizen-led committee to rewrite the controversial ordinance.

Thank your Congressman for Supporting AKC and
Responsible Dog Ownership

On December 16, 2009, the U.S. Congress unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 160, which commemorates the American Kennel Club's 125th anniversary and honors the AKC's work on behalf of dogs and dog owners. Click here to contact your Congressional representative and thank them for supporting the AKC and the promotion of responsible dog ownership. If you don't know the name of your Representative, visit the U.S. House of Representatives' home page and type your Zip Code in the upper left corner.
Introducing the Government Relations Toolbox
As part of our ongoing effort to equip you with the tools needed to be an effective advocate, the AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to unveil our new online Government Relations Toolbox. While the toolbox is still under construction, it already contains a number of new printable resources and existing Government Relations brochures designed to help you communicate with lawmakers and your community about the importance of canine legislative issues.

The toolbox may be found by visiting the AKC Government Relations home page, and clicking on the toolbox icon in the bottom right corner. New items are being added all the time, so be sure to check back often!

Read about the new items in the toolbox.

Tell Lawmakers and Colleagues Why Limit Laws Don't Work
The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to unveil our new, colorful handout entitled "Animal Limit Laws: Better Alternatives". As proposed limit laws are being introduced in both states and local communities, this one-page printable document provides a very clear explanation of why these laws don't work, as well as effective solutions. This is a wonderful resource to distribute to lawmakers, or even neighbors and colleagues who do not understand the implications of this important issue.

This is just one of the many new items to be found in the new Government Relations Toolbox. Check the toolbox often and stay tuned to future issues of Taking Command for the latest tools we are providing to help you be an effective advocate for responsible dog ownership!

Help AKC fight anti-dog legislation
The legislative season is once again in full swing. State legislatures are back in session and AKC Government Relations is monitoring/acting on over 800 bills. In the U.S. Congress, we are tracking 20 bills and resolutions. We are very pleased to report that the U.S. House passed H. Con. Res. 160, which honors the AKC on its 125th anniversary, by a vote of 419-0. If your representative voted for this resolution, please take a moment to thank him or her. Follow up with them by providing information about the benefits that breeders, your AKC clubs, and sporting/public education events bring to your community.

S. 393 is a similar resolution currently under consideration in the Senate. This provides a great opportunity to contact your senator and ask him or her to read the resolution and support it. The measure is about as non-controversial as things can get these days in Washington, so it's a great way for folks who've never contacted an elected official before to start on an easy and positive note. Provide the Senators with the same follow-up information you would provide to your Representatives.

AKC Government Relations (GR) works to continuously provide you updated information and assistance in fighting bad dog laws and advocating for reasonable measures that respect the rights of responsible owners and breeders. Our new GR Toolbox, along with our updated online legislative tracking system will provide a one-stop shop for data, background information, and recommendations to help you advocate on issues of importance to dog lovers. Although the toolbox is still under construction, it already contains some exciting new items. Read the article in this issue of Taking Command to learn about the new resources designed to help you be an effective advocate for responsible dog ownership.

Keep watching Taking Command and the new GR Toolbox for information about new resources for dog lovers.

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