August 2011
From our Nation's Capitol
Congress is currently on recess until after Labor Day. The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Capitol Hill for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2011 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 bills we are currently tracking on the federal level.
News from the State Capitols
Ten state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Four states are in special session and four states have special sessions forthcoming. AKC GR has been tracking more than 1,100 state bills thus far in 2011.  For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit the 2011 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated each weekday, 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.

Have You Been Impacted By Breed-Specific Bans in Military Housing?
AKC Government Relations has been contacted by a number of dog owners who have family members serving in our nation’s armed forces and who are concerned by the range of breed-specific dangerous dog policies that exist on various military bases and in privatized military family housing.

Unfortunately, breed-specific bans can mean that when members of our military are transferred, they may be forced to either give up a well-behaved family pet or to find non-military housing that can be much more expensive and inconvenient – simply because of the breed of dog they choose to own. Read more.
A Reminder about Existing Laws Affecting Dog Ownership
In recent months, the AKC has become aware of increased enforcement of existing kennel and dog-related laws in a number of communities. This is an excellent reminder to all dog owners about the importance of keeping up-to-date with and obeying all pertinent laws in your jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, it's not unusual for a community's laws to change without affected residents knowing about those changes. Individuals and groups who oppose dog ownership or breeding regularly use the violation of any kind of dog law as a reason to push for additional, ever more restrictive laws. If you are not sure what your community or state requires, please contact your local animal control and ask for a copy of the laws so you can ensure you are in compliance.

Read more.

New to the GR Toolbox:
Sample Letters and Educational Presentation: Advocacy 101

Resources for Addressing Canine LegislationAKC GR continues to add new resources to the online Government Relations Toolbox. Be sure to check the toolbox often, as new resources are added regularly. New items this month include:

Sample Letters
At the request of many AKC club members and breeders, AKC Government Relations has added a series of sample letters to the GR Toolbox. The key to an effective letter, be it a letter to the editor of your local paper or a letter to your lawmaker, is making it brief, clear and concise. The AKC GR toolbox now contains several examples of these types of letters that you can personalize:

Letters to the editor: Breeder regulations, breeder regulations with ownership limits, and mandatory spay/neuter proposals.

Letters to lawmakers: Breeder regulations, ear cropping/tail docking, and mandatory spay/neuter proposals.

We will continue to add more sample letters as issues arise.

Educational Presentation: Advocacy 101
AKC GR is pleased to present the third in a series of online PowerPoint presentations that discuss important issues in canine legislation. These informative presentations, narrated by AKC GR staff, can be downloaded or played directly from the AKC website at club meetings and educational events. Our newest presentation is:

Advocacy 101This presentation provides the basic tools for effective participation in the political process. Topics include proactive actions that breeders, club members and dog owners can take as well as the steps to take once a proposal has been introduced. The presentation also covers the resources and assistance AKC Government Relations can provide to help communicate with lawmakers about canine legislation.

To access this downloadable presentation, go to the AKC Government Relations website and click Presentations in the left panel or visit the AKC Government Relations Toolbox.

Please note that presentations will take a few seconds to a few minutes to download, depending on your connection speed. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to view and to download the presentations.

AKC clubs and federations are invited to use this and other presentations to educate members and guests about current legislation and how to work together to protect the rights of responsible dog owners.
Welcome to the August edition of Taking Command. With summer coming to a close, teachers and students across the country are focusing on heading back to school. For us, this is also a reminder that now is a good time to think about how we can educate our lawmakers, colleagues and communities about responsible dog ownership and issues in canine legislation.

To help you do this, AKC Government Relations has added a number of new educational resources to our Government Relations Toolbox. In response to your requests, we have added a series of new sample letters on a variety of key issues in canine legislation. These letters can be personalized and different versions are appropriate for writing to lawmakers or as letters to the editor of your local newspapers.

We are also very excited to unveil Advocacy 101, the latest in our series of narrated PowerPoint presentations. Advocacy 101 provides helpful tips on how to effectively communicate with lawmakers as well as proactive steps you and your club can take before canine legislation is introduced in your state or community. Advocacy 101 and the other presentations in this series provide an excellent and inexpensive educational program for your club meetings.

In addition to tracking and addressing the wide variety of canine legislation highlighted in this issue, we've also been working to educate members of Congress about the unintended consequences that a patchwork of breed-specific restrictions may be having on military families who live on base or in privatized military housing. If you or someone you know has been personally impacted by BSL on a military base or in privatized housing, we would love to hear your story. Please contact us at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

Educating yourself about local and state laws is more important than ever. The AKC has become aware of increased enforcement of kennel and dog-related laws in recent months. This reminds us about the importance of keeping up-to-date with and obeying all pertinent laws in your jurisdiction. Unfortunately, it's not unusual for a community's laws to change without affected residents knowing about those changes. Individuals and groups who oppose dog ownership or breeding regularly use the violation of any kind of dog law as a reason to push for new laws. If you are not sure what your community requires, please contact local animal control or a municipal clerk and ask for a copy of the laws so you can ensure you are in compliance.

Finally, if your state or community is considering changes to its dog laws, be sure to contact us. The AKC Government Relations Department is here to help you communicate with lawmakers and connect with other local dog owners to help you protect your right to own and breed dogs responsibly.

All the best,

Sheila Goffe
Director of Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Email: doglaw@akc.org
 
Government Relations
Legislative Alerts
2011 Legislation Tracking
GR Toolbox
Two Ways to Protect your Rights
 
 


© 2011 American Kennel Club