January 2011

From our Nation's Capitol
The 112th US Congress convened in January with a freshman class that includes 94 new House members and 13 new Senators. 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.

The latest edition of AKC’s Congressional newsletter In Session is available to print online. 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 In Session by clicking here.
News from the State Capitols
Forty-four state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. In 2010, the AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) tracked over 1,100 bills at the federal and state levels. As of mid-January, AKC GR is already tracking approximately 500 new and prefiled bills. For the latest information on the 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 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 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, as well as some victories for dog owners within the past month.

Bebout Award Presented to Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers
The American Kennel Club is proud to present the Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers (HCFDF) with the fourth quarter 2010 Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation. Read more.
Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers members Judy Seltrecht and Tim Golden receive Responsible Dog Ownership Day proclamation from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissions, represented by Commissioner Rose Ferlita holding "Bandit." Also pictured are Andrew Golden of HCFDF, Brandi Burkett of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, and Bill Armstrong, Director of Hillsborough County Animal Services.
The Hartford to Offer Exclusive Auto and Home Insurance Program to AKC Dog Owners
In December, the American Kennel Club and The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. announced a program that offers auto and home insurance to American Kennel Club dog owners. In recognition of the importance of responsible dog ownership, The Hartford is now the exclusive insurance sponsor of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC®) and S.T.A.R. Puppy programs.

The Hartford will offer the program to owners of all AKC registered dogs. Owners with breeds historically ineligible for coverage may be eligible if they meet specific conditions demonstrating obedience and responsible ownership. This includes passing the 10-step AKC CGG test.

Click here for the program announcement.

AKC CLSF Announces Winner of Westminster Getaway Raffle
The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to announce that Mrs. Karen Mays, AKC Delegate from the Windward Hawaiian Dog Fanciers Association, is the winner of the AKC Canine Legislative Support Fund Westminster Getaway Raffle.

The winning raffle ticket was selected on December 27 by AKC Vice President of Event Operations Robin Stansell. The Westminster Getaway package consists of two tickets to the Westminster Kennel Club show (February 14 and 15, 2011), two tickets to the Take the Lead Party on February 14, and two nights' hotel in New York City. All proceeds from the raffle went to the AKC Canine Legislation Support Fund, dedicated to supporting AKC's advocacy and educational efforts in the face of legislation that infringes on the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders.

The advisory council of the AKC Canine Legislation Support Fund is already planning for a second raffle, the Ultimate AKC/Eukanuba National Championship 2011 Package. As with the Westminster raffle, tickets will be limited. Details will be available in future issues of Taking Command.

New in the GR Toolbox: Above and Beyond
The AKC Government Relations Department continues to add new downloadable resources to our online Toolbox to help you communicate with candidates, lawmakers, and colleagues about responsible dog ownership. This month, take a moment to review the updated Above and Beyond, a flyer that discusses the many programs and activities that set the AKC apart from other dog registries.

Be sure to visit the AKC Government Relations Toolbox often for the latest materials you can download and print for legislative battles, upcoming events, and club meetings to help educate others about the importance of promoting and protecting responsible dog ownership and breeding practices.

AKC GR is also updating data on the economic impact of purebred dogs by state. Check back soon for 2010 statistics.

As we anticipate the busy year ahead, pause for a moment and try to imagine a world without our beloved dogs. This is the world we could face if animal rights groups have their way. And this is why it is so important that we work harder than ever in 2011 to ensure the wellbeing and the future of our dogs.

As of mid-January, AKC Government Relations (GR) is already tracking approximately 500 bills on the local, state and federal level that could impact our ability to own dogs. With few elections scheduled and all 50 state legislatures in session, it's likely that 2011 will be our most challenging year yet.

Threats to the rights of dog owners come from a variety of sources. As pet owners, hobbyists and breeders, we often think the greatest challenge comes from outside groups, but there's another challenge just as big and just as dangerous – indifference and the belief that someone else will fight the battle for us.

Most of us are not activists by nature. We live busy lives and devote our free time to our families and caring for our dogs. Given the choice, few of us would spend a day at the state capitol, an evening at a county commission meeting, or an hour sending emails to our lawmakers. But the future of our dogs demands that everyone become involved.

One of the best ways to do this is by monitoring the lawmaking process in your own community. Read your local newspapers and follow city and county websites to learn about proposed ordinances before they are enacted. Let AKC GR know about potential problems, too. We can help you communicate your concerns to your elected officials and share information with fellow dog owners in your community.

AKC recognizes and honors the commitments represented by every contact you make, every email you send, and every letter you write. And we love to recognize your good work. If you are part of a group –or know of one – that has done outstanding work in public education or government relations, consider applying for an AKC Community Achievement Award or a Bebout Award for legislative advocacy. It’s a simple application process, and the award money can help you expand your accomplishments.

In this issue of Taking Command, we highlight the latest legislative updates from around the county, the inspiring story of our latest Bebout award winner, the Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers, and exciting information about a breakthrough opportunity for homeowners insurance for owners of AKC registered dogs – regardless of the breed they own!

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