July 2011

From our Nation's Capitol
The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress 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 Capitol Hill.
News from the State Capitols
Eleven state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Four states are in special session and two states have special sessions forthcoming. AKC GR is tracking nearly 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.

Sign Up Now to Host an AKC RDO Day
The American Kennel Club invites its affiliated clubs and dog-related organizations to host AKC Responsible Dog Ownership (RDO) Days in September. These fun and interactive events celebrate the special bond between humans and their dogs and educate the public about the importance of responsible dog ownership.

"More than 550 organizations across the U.S. held AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day events last year, inviting local community members to take part in Meet the Breeds, AKC CAR microchip clinics, AKC Canine Good Citizen testing and more," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "We encourage more organizations to join us in 2011 to help us spread this important message in a very fun way!"

Read more.
A Call for Nominations: The Bebout Award
The Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation ("Bebout Award") supports and recognizes outstanding efforts of AKC federations and owner/breeder organizations that have been actively involved in educating legislators about responsible dog ownership issues and have worked to preserve the fights of responsible owners and breeders.

AKC GR is accepting nominations for this award, which honors an organization for significant contributions in support of responsible dog owners in the public policy arena. Honorees receive a commemorative certificate, as well as a $1,000 donation to their organization to assist with legislative efforts.

Download the Bebout Award nomination form here.

The Continuing Problem of BSL
The type of bill most frequently analyzed by AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) is breed-specific legislation. Breed-specific legislation, or BSL, is any measure that seeks to ban or place restrictions on particular dog breeds or dogs with certain physical characteristics.

Breed-specific bills are often introduced in quick response in a community where a person has been injured by a dog. These tragedies arouse concern and bring attention the need for enforceable laws to protect citizens from dangerous dogs.

Read more.

In the GR Toolbox: Resources for Opposing BSL
The AKC Government Relations Toolbox provides resources you can use to educate lawmakers and your community about problems with breed-specific laws and suggestions for better solutions:

Visit the AKC GR Toolbox for these and other downloadable materials. Be sure to check the toolbox often, as new resources are added regularly.

Welcome to the July issue of Taking Command.

This is the time of year when we remind dog lovers that although many state legislatures are on recess or adjourned for the year, it's important to use this time to meet with your state and Congressional representatives while they are in their home districts.

When legislators are at the capitol, they must address a wide variety of issues, many of which don't directly impact their constituencies. But when they're at home, they focus on the needs of constituents and possible plans for re-election. This is the best time for you to establish personal connections with them.

Meeting a legislator is like meeting a new neighbor. Keep it simple, friendly and polite. You already share a common concern about your community. Like meeting other neighbors, the best way to develop a good relationship is if you don't immediately ask for a favor. Instead, tell them about your interests and concerns. Talk about your kennel club's activities. Invite them to be a special guest at a club event, training session, or local dog show. This is a great way for legislators to meet your friends, too. The AKC Government Relations Department is here to help you work with your legislators and be an advocate for dogs.

As a caring and responsible dog owner and breeder, you can be proud to tell legislators about the good things you, your club and the AKC do for all dogs. Ask them if they know. . .

The AKC is the world's largest not-for-profit dog registry and the nation's greatest resource for information about purebred dogs.

AKC promotes the health and well-being of all dogs.

The AKC Humane Fund provides grants to support dog rescue activities, domestic violence shelters that aid abuse victims and their pets, and other programs that promote the joy and value of responsible pet ownership.

The AKC Canine Health Foundation is the largest funder of canine health research in the world, providing grants for scientific research to safeguard and advance the health of all dogs. Through translational medicine, many of these studies provide insight into human health solutions as well.

AKC Companion Animal Recovery is the nation's largest non-profit pet recovery service. AKC CAR gives back to the community in many ways, including providing low-cost and donated microchips, scanners and enrollments to rescue organizations and animal shelters. So far in 2011, AKC CAR's Canine Support and Relief Fund has given more than $340,000 to disaster relief and canine search and rescue (SAR) efforts.

This is just a small sample of the many AKC and AKC club programs that benefit dogs.

You have a lot to be proud of. Your legislators need to know that the AKC and our responsible dog owners and breeders are our nation's greatest force for the good of dogs.

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