American Kennel Club - Taking Command - December 2011 Edition

December 2011
2011 Canine Legislation Year in Review
As 2011 comes to a close, we look back on a year of many challenges for responsible dog owners, sportsmen, fanciers and breeders. The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) had another record-breaking year in the number of canine legislative proposals and regulations introduced at all levels of government. AKC GR reviewed, monitored and/or acted on nearly 1,300 federal, state, and local legislative measures as well as a number of regulatory issues.

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40,000+ Attend AKC Meet the Breeds®
Maisel and Sheila More than 40,000 pet lovers gathered in New York City in November for the third annual AKC Meet the Breeds® event where people of all ages interacted with thousands of dogs and cats representing 210 breeds. This popular, family-friendly event provides a unique venue for educating the public about responsible pet ownership and a fun way for potential pet owners to determine which breed may be best for their families.

Breed-themed booths, ranging from Parisian cafes to Arabian camps to cozy living rooms to the Land of Oz, highlighted the history, working abilities, and characteristics of the breeds and created enjoyable, laid-back environments in which attendees could interact with the animals, ask specific questions and learn directly from breed experts.

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Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs Honored with Bebout Award
The American Kennel Club is pleased to announce that the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs, Inc. (CFDC) is the third quarter 2011 recipient of the Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation.

Named for the late Director of the AKC Government Relations Department, the "Bebout Award" recognizes those federations and owner/breeder organizations that have been actively involved in educating legislators about responsible dog ownership issues and have worked to preserve the rights of responsible owners and breeders. Winners of the Bebout award receive a $1,000 donation to help offset the costs associated with their organization's legislative efforts.

The Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs was organized to encourage and promote the welfare of dogs and to protect the interests, rights and well-being of responsible dog owners and breeders in Colorado. Since its founding in 2000, the CFDC has played an active role in educating legislators and dog owners about responsible dog ownership and dog owners' rights.

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Important Win for Dog Breeders - Louisville Bulldog Owners Win in Federal Appeals Court
In November, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals published its decision in the case of O'Neill v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government. The court's decision in favor of the O'Neills signals an important win for both the O'Neills and for dog owners across the country.

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Winter 2011 Issue of State Legislative In Session Newsletter Available
In Session The latest state edition of AKC's legislative newsletter In Session is now available to print online. This newsletter is sent electronically to every state legislator. This issue includes an article on the AKC Breeder of Merit Program, an analysis of the value of responsible dog breeders, and a recap of some of the educational initiatives presented by AKC and AKC clubs that promote responsible dog ownership.

The 2012 legislative sessions convene in January and February in 45 states and the District of Columbia. As new sessions begin, you can help spread the word about the positive impact of responsible dog breeders and AKC educational events by printing this newsletter and personally sharing it with your lawmakers.

You can access current and past issues of the state and federal versions of In Session by clicking here ►
From Our Nation's Capitol
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 measures we are currently tracking on the federal level ►
News from the State Capitols
Five state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Two states are in special session, and twenty states are accepting prefiled bills for 2012. AKC GR has tracked more than 1,100 state bills as of December 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

Here are some highlights of the state bills AKC GR is currently tracking ►
Local Issues
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 We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools and support you need to help support and defend responsible dog ownership in your community.

Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR ►
With the holidays upon us, the AKC Government Relations team extends its grateful appreciation to all the individuals, federations, legislative liaisons and like-minded organizations that worked to help protect the rights of responsible dog owners, breeders, sportsmen and hobbyists over the last year. Whether at the federal, state or local level, AKC GR is proud to work with dog lovers and groups who value the heritage of our dogs and share our commitment to the future of responsible dog ownership and breeding.

This issue of Taking Command includes our annual wrap-up of canine legislation and issues we've addressed over the past year. Throughout this issue, we celebrate the exceptional work of those organizations and individuals - including our latest Bebout Award winner - whose hard work has helped make so many legislative successes possible in 2011.

We report on trends in canine legislation and observe that where organized interests fail to restrict breeding at the state level, we are seeing an increase in similar bills at the local level. This issue also outlines our responses and comments on litigation and regulations likely to impact our future with dogs.

Although the role of AKC's Government Relations Department is primarily educational and informational, in 2011 the AKC GR team monitored and took action on nearly 1,300 legislative initiatives and advised on a number of regulatory issues. We also conducted a number of lobby days/educational programs and met with state, local and federal legislators and their staff in a variety of venues. A newly expanded legislative toolbox provides a wide variety of new educational materials including new downloadable online seminars on key issues in canine legislation.

Much of the work highlighted above is made possible through your support of the AKC - whether through registering your dogs and puppies with AKC; contributing to the AKC PAC to support political candidates committed to responsible dog ownership and breeding; giving to the AKC Canine Legislative Support Fund which supports canine education and advocacy; or by letting us know when there's an issue in your community.

With canine legislation already being filed in many states for 2012, we can expect another very challenging year ahead. We are here for you! If your club has not already done so, I urge you to appoint a legislative liaison and join or form a state federation so that together we can work for a bright future for the dogs we love.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, and all the best in the new year,

Sheila Goffe
Director, AKC Government Relations
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