November 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 a few 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, and New York is in special session. Several states have also begun prefiling legislation for the 2011 session. To date, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) has tracked over 1,200 bills in 2010 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

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.

Fall/Winter Issue of State Legislative In Session Newsletter Available
The latest edition of AKC’s state legislative newsletter In Session is now available to print online. This newsletter was also sent electronically to every state legislator, and includes an article on why mandatory spay/neuter laws are ineffective, information on AKC’s inspections program, and other community projects in which the AKC has participated. 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.
Elections Essentials: You Voted…Now Introduce Yourself!
The elections may be over, but our work as responsible dog owners, exhibitors, and breeders is just beginning. Many states elected a large number of new lawmakers on the federal, state, and local levels – most of whom likely know very little about canine legislation.

Most state legislatures will reconvene in early 2011, and many are already beginning pre-filing bills for next session. This is why it is critical for you as a member of a local club or state federation, or as a responsible breeder and dog owner, to take the next 2-3 months to educate your lawmakers about the importance of promoting and protecting responsible dog ownership. Read more.
AKC Registrations Benefit Responsible Breeders
The mission of AKC’s Government Relations (GR) Department is to protect the rights of all dog owners, promote responsible dog ownership, and ensure that laws governing dog ownership and breeding are reasonable, enforceable, and nondiscriminatory. Through our constituent-empowerment advocacy model, AKC-GR addresses issues at every level of government and across all 50 states. While most non-profit organizations focus their government relations efforts around one or two issues, AKC goes above-and-beyond by promoting 23 different position statements and addressing each bill that pertains to them. All of this results in a staggering amount of work. Read more.
The elections are over and the holidays are just around the corner. Now is the time to plan for the coming year. This is also the time of year when lawmakers begin meeting with interest groups, colleagues, and constituents and consider what legislation to introduce in 2011.

In the midst of your holiday planning, I encourage you to take a few minutes to contact your elected lawmakers and talk to them about responsible dog issues and canine legislation. It is very important that they know there are responsible dog owners and breeders in their districts who can be called on for expert advice and feedback when canine legislative issues arise.

In this issue of Taking Command, we provide you with a number of suggestions on how to contact both new and returning lawmakers and how to educate them about dog issues. Be sure to also check out our online Government Relations Toolbox, which contains a variety of educational materials on canine legislation issues, the economic impact of purebred dog ownership in your state, and numerous other informative resources.

I also encourage you to check out the latest state legislative version of our In Session newsletter, which includes information about AKC inspections, why mandatory spay/neuter laws are ineffective, and numerous other programs led by the AKC and local clubs. Consider printing out a few copies and taking them to your state legislators.

The AKC is pleased to partner with you in the fight to continue owning, breeding, and exhibiting dogs. We encourage you to let your fellow dog lovers know about the services we provide, so that together we can continue to protect our rights as responsible dog owners and breeders.

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