April 2011

From our Nation's Capitol
The AKC Government Relations staff and AKC's federal advocacy team in Washington, D.C. continue to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2011 Legislation Tracking page and click on "US Fed" on the map to get the latest updates on federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC.

Read more.
News from the State Capitols
Forty state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Five states have scheduled special sessions. AKC GR is tracking more than 1,000 federal, state and local bills. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit our 2011 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 highlights of the bills we are currently tracking.

Local Battles
The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners 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 city or county, please 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 defend responsible dog ownership in your community.

Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR.

Legislative Successes
The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to partner with local federations, dog clubs and concerned owners to protect the rights of dog owners. The tireless response of responsible breeders, owners and fanciers across the country truly makes a difference! Visit the 2011 Legislative Successes page to view some recent results of their good work.
Cindy Bundy Honored with AKC Community Achievement Award
The American Kennel Club recently announced that Bristol, Wisconsin resident Cindy Bundy of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America has been named a recipient of the AKC Community Achievement Award for the extensive public education and therapy dog work she does with her Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Read more.
Cindy Bundy
Community Achievement Award Honoree Cindy Bundy and Staffordshire Bull Terrier CH MSLF GileNaGile CGC, “Nuala”
Borzoi Club of America's Disaster Readiness Work Earns AKC Community Achievement Award
ReadyBorzoiThe American Kennel Club recently announced that the Borzoi Club of America (BCOA) has been named a recipient of the AKC Community Achievement Award for the creation of the disaster preparedness website ReadyBorzoi©. Read more.
In Memoriam – Carla Madison, Denver City Councilwoman
The AKC Government Relations department was saddened to learn of the death on April 5, 2011, of Denver Colorado City Councilwoman Carla Madison. Ms. Madison, 54, was a pioneer in fighting breed-specific legislation in Denver and a good friend to the many responsible dog owners in Denver and throughout Colorado.

At the time of her death, Ms. Madison had been working on a proposal that would have strengthened the city’s dangerous dog ordinance by removing breed-specific portions of the law and instead holding owners responsible for the actions of their dogs, regardless of breed. “Pit bulls” have been banned in Denver since 1989. Read more.
Ideas from the GR Toolbox
Is overly-restrictive or harmful legislation under discussion in your community? Review What to Do When a Bad Bill is Introduced for suggestions for taking action, both prior to and after legislation is introduced.

Information about effectively communicating with public officials can be found in Make Your Contact Count.

Is an elected official or community leader presenting Best In Show, High In Trial, or other awards at your event? Positive articles and statistics, such as Conformation Shows – More Than Just a Pretty Face, The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders, and the 2010 State Economic Impact Statistics are available online.

Be sure to visit the AKC Government Relations Toolbox often for the latest materials you can download and print for legislative battles, community and dog-related events, and club meetings to help educate others about the importance of promoting and protecting responsible dog ownership and breeding practices.
The majority of legislation that AKC Government Relations tracks deals with state, county and local laws. When federal canine legislation is introduced it demands special attention because it has the ability to impact, directly or indirectly, all dog owners – whether it's a family looking for their next well-bred pet, a breeder, a rescue group, a sportsman or a dog hobbyist.

Last month, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act ("PUPS") was re-introduced in both houses of Congress (H.R. 835 / S.707). The language remains the same as in the 2010 version and the bills have been assigned to the Agriculture Committees in their respective chambers. No hearings have been scheduled.

The measure would require anyone who owns or co-owns dogs that produce 50 or more puppies sold in a 12-month period to be regulated under existing USDA dog dealer regulations. These regulations are designed for high-volume commercial kennels that produce puppies for wholesale, and require a USDA commercial license, maintenance of specified standards and regular inspections.

The AKC does not oppose the concept of reasonable regulations for high volume breeder/retailers. We also believe that the 2010/2011 version of this legislation is a significant improvement over previous versions in that it moves away from defining a commercial breeder based on the number of dogs a person owns, and instead establishes a threshold for regulation based on the number of puppies a breeder sells.

However, the AKC cannot support this legislation due to several major concerns, including: an overly broad definition of "high-volume retail breeder" – defined as someone with "an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs;" defining "breeding female" as an intact female dog aged 4 months or older; and vague and/or problematic language regarding exercise standards and the offering of puppies for sale. When broadly based definitions and regulations designed for large-scale operations are applied to hobbyists or smaller-scale breeding programs, new problems and unintended consequences are created that hurt responsible breeders and the future of dogs, without improving the wellbeing of dogs.

To learn more about this legislation, AKC's concerns with the measure (including enforcement issues associated with existing dealer regulations) and AKC responses and commentary on the measure, visit From Our Nation's Capitol or the Legislative Update on AKC GR's web page.

We encourage you to learn more about this measure, to stay active and involved in your community as a role model for responsible dog ownership and breeding, and to share your concerns with your own legislators.

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