Taking Command

May 2010

From our Nation's Capitol
Congress returned from its spring recess on April 11, 2010. The AKC Government Relations Department and our 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 all federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC. Check out AKC's congressional newsletter In Session to view interviews with congressional dog owners, policy analyses, and other articles that help us demonstrate to Congress our commitment to the promotion of responsible dog ownership.
News from the State Capitols
The U.S. Congress, 19 state legislatures, and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session; Pennsylvania, West Virginia, California, and Kentucky are in special session. AKC Government Relations (GR) is currently tracking over 1,100 bills at all levels of government. 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 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.

Around the Country:
How Clubs Are Promoting Responsible Dog Ownership

Success in the fight to protect our rights as dog owners, exhibitors, and breeders would not be possible without the grassroots efforts of organizations, clubs, and state federations throughout the United States. Periodically, the AKC Government Relations Department highlights unique and effective things that these groups do to promote positive canine legislation and responsible dog ownership. Here are two examples of recent activities by AKC state federations. Read more.

Elections Essentials –
How to Identify Dog-Friendly Candidates

As election season heats up around the country, we will be publishing a series of articles on proactive things dog clubs, owners and breeders can do to make a difference. In this second installment, we provide ways to find out candidates' views on canine legislation.

One of the most effective ways to ensure your rights as responsible dog owners and breeders are protected is to ensure that dog-friendly lawmakers are elected. But how can you know for sure that you are voting for someone who will support your rights? AKC Government Relations has several suggestions on how to determine if a candidate will protect your rights as a dog owner. Read more.
AKC Welcomes Three 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 Arkansas Society for the Training and Education of Pet Professionals (STEPP), the Delaware Dog Owners Association, and the Idaho Coalition for Dog Clubs to our growing list of state federations united in support of responsible dog ownership and protecting the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders.

State federations and their members have a powerful voice in addressing legislation because they are constituents and voters who will be directly impacted by any new laws and regulations. Federations are the ground soldiers in many state and local-level battles on issues such as unfair breeder regulations, ownership limits, breed-specific policies, and mandatory spay-neuter laws. The AKC Government Relations Department works closely with the federations to support them in these battles.

We strongly encourage you to join your state's federation, become a Legislative Liaison, or consider joining fellow responsible dog owners in organizing one if there is not yet a federation in your state.

From the GR Toolbox
Economic Benefits of Dog Shows

As you talk with legislators and candidates about canine legislation, it is important for them to understand the impact that dog shows and events have on local communities. Not only are shows family-friendly, fun events where you can learn about dogs, they also generate a significant amount of revenue through venue rental, hotels, local shops, and restaurants, just to name a few. Purebred dog owners also spend a significant amount of money each year in local businesses for veterinary care, grooming, food and supplies, and basic dog care.

The AKC Government Relations Toolbox offers two resources to help you explain this important point to sitting lawmakers as well as candidates for political offices:
  • The Economic Benefits of Dog Shows one-page handout takes all the information from AKC's popular brochure and puts it into a printable, easy-to-read format that explains all the ways a dog show can be an excellent source of community revenue. You can find this handout, as well as a downloadable copy of the brochure, in the "Economic Impact of Dog Shows" section of toolbox.
  • The 2009 State Economic Impact Statistics web link provides you with a map of the United States. Simply click on your state to download a one-page handout that includes AKC event statistics for the past three years, as well as an estimated amount of money that is spent by purebred dog owners in your state each year. This information is valuable when fighting specific issues, as well as when you are simply introducing yourself and your club to lawmakers and candidates. It demonstrates the significant, tangible impact that dog owners have on a community and sends the message that it pays to support responsible dog ownership!
The Government Relations Toolbox provides a wealth of materials designed to help you be a successful advocate for responsible dog breeding and ownership. Be sure to check it regularly for updates.

Help AKC fight anti-dog legislation
It's been an exciting month for the AKC Government Relations Department and dog owners throughout the United States. Thanks to the efforts of state federations, dog clubs and organizations, and other responsible owners and breeders, we are celebrating state and local victories in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, and Wisconsin where legislation was defeated that would have been detrimental to your right to own and breed dogs responsibly.

As always, however, the fight goes on. We continue to experience many challenges and threats to our way of life and our rights. We need everyone to stand up and fight the tide of restrictive legislation we're seeing throughout the nation at all levels of government. I encourage you to take a minute to check out our state and local legislative updates and 2010 Legislative Tracking service to see what's going on in your area. AKC Government Relations, your clubs and your local AKC Federation can all work together to help fight bad legislation wherever it threatens us and support responsible dog ownership rights.

Around the country, dog clubs and organizations are finding innovative ways to educate the public and policymakers about the value of dog shows and responsible dog ownership. In this issue, we feature two state federations who held public events with legislators. We encourage you to invite legislators and candidates to your dog shows and other dog-related events to help them see first-hand the benefits of supporting responsible dog owners. And when you host your next event, be sure to tell us about it. We'd love to share your experiences and lessons learned with fellow Taking Command readers.

Election season – both for primaries and general elections – is a great time to educate lawmakers and candidates about responsible dog ownership and breeding. In this issue we provide several suggestions on ways to identify dog-friendly candidates on your ballot. Take the time to research the views of your candidates, share what you learn with your club or organization, and follow up with the candidates discuss why canine legislation is important to you.

The AKC Government Relations Department has numerous materials designed to help you communicate with lawmakers and candidates and help spread the word about good dog laws and responsible dog ownership. New items are being added to our Government Relations Toolbox all the time, so make sure to check it often. This month we unveil our new economic impact statistics section. Click on the 2009 State Economic Impact Statistics link on the Government Relations page or the toolbox to access state-specific information on AKC dog events and the amount of money spent by purebred dog owners each year.

Thank you for joining with us in the fight to protect our dogs and our right to own and breed them responsibly. Together, we can continue to celebrate victories across the United States that allow us to continue to care for the dogs we love.

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