March 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.
Representative David Reis is honored as the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners' Legislator of the Year. A proclamation was delivered by Margo Milde's Field Spaniel, Calico's Flying High, VCD2 ("Fly"), prior to Best In Show. Federation President Steve Hayden and Vice President Michele Kasten presented a special rosette.
News from the State Capitols
Forty-three state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. As of mid-March, AKC GR is tracking more than 950 state 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

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 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.

New Educational Video: The Dog Listener
The Dog Listener DVDKids and dogs go together like, well, kids and dogs! The American Kennel Club (AKC) believes that children should learn how to safely behave around dogs, how to approach a dog, and how to react when encountering a loose dog.

To help educate children of all ages about safety around dogs, the AKC created the award-winning DVD and educational kit, The Dog Listener. View the video and download a printable activity guide by clicking here.

Copies of the DVD and activity materials can be ordered for schools and youth groups by clicking here. More information about AKC public education is available here.
Spring Issue of In Session Congressional Newsletter
Now Available

In SessionThe Spring 2011 issue of AKC's Congressional newsletter In Session is now available. In Session is delivered to every member of the U.S. Congress and is available for you to view, too. This issue features Florida Congressman Tom Rooney and his Golden Retriever "Crosby," a frequent visitor to the Capitol. This issue also discusses myths about cropping, docking and other procedures, and highlights the fun, excitement and economic value of AKC Companion Events. 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 this newsletter by clicking here.
New in the GR Toolbox: Issue Analysis on Cropping, Docking, Dewclaw Removal and Debarking
AKC GR is pleased to announce that a new Issue Analysis is available online in the GR Toolbox. Dispelling the Myths of Cropped Ears, Docked Tails, Dewclaws and Debarking discusses the history, purpose and practical considerations of these procedures.  Use this new resource, along with other flyers and materials in the toolbox, to help educate lawmakers and concerned individuals about the reasons behind these common animal husbandry procedures.

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.

Brussels Griffon
The ears of a Brussels Griffon were traditionally cropped for protection when it cornered unwelcome animals in a stable. (Brussels Griffon/Mary Bloom © AKC®)
The AKC event season will soon be in full swing and many dog lovers will be spending their extra time contemplating the next important show or trial. Others will look eagerly to the new pups in their next litter. These events bring excitement to our lives.

Can you imagine what our lives would be like without these events? Wherever the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders are threatened, the world of dog events is also threatened. The AKC is dedicated to ensuring the future of purebred dogs, the wellbeing of all dogs, and the future of our sports.

As you and your club plan for and participate in upcoming events, think about how your event can also be an opportunity to assure the future for our traditions. Invite a legislator to attend your show and to present the Best in Show or High in Trial awards. Be sure to give the legislator a warm welcome and a pleasant and informative tour of the event.

If there's one legislator who has been particularly helpful in the last year, consider presenting a legislator of the year award. This kind of award is often of interest to the news media, so be sure you put out press releases and are available to work with the press. And the more interesting and creative you make the event or presentation, the more likely you'll get good coverage.

For example, one AKC federation, the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners, honored a legislator of the year at last October's Illinois Capitol Kennel Club dog show. The federation presented Representative David Reis with a special rosette. But perhaps the best part of the presentation was when Field Spaniel "Fly" personally delivered the rolled-up proclamation to the legislator (see photo at left).

Use your show as an opportunity to educate the public about dogs, important dog law issues, and the good things your club does in your community. Invite the public, provide tours, utilize the resources in the GR Toolbox for information on dog policy, and take advantage of AKC's extensive public education materials. Be the first in your community to screen AKC's new The Dog Listener dog safety DVD for kids.

Many judges donate their fees to charities or other good causes. When AKC Delegates judge at a show, they cannot charge a fee, but they may accept an honorarium to be signed over to a charity. At the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in December 2010, Delegate and former AKC Board member Pat Laurans demonstrated her leadership in this area when she became the first Delegate to sign her honorarium over to the AKC Political Action Committee (AKC PAC). This is an excellent way for clubs or Delegates to contribute to a great cause.

The AKC PAC supports the campaigns of legislators who share AKC's perspectives on canine legislation and dedication to responsible dog ownership. If you are a member of an AKC club, a donation to the PAC is an easy way to do your part. If all AKC Club members who participate in events throughout the year donated just the cost of a single entry fee to the AKC PAC, this would go a long way to support policy that secures the future of our dogs and our sports.

Although clubs cannot support the PAC, they can support the Canine Legislative Support Fund (CLSF). The CLSF helps support government relations educational and advocacy efforts, including the AKC Bebout Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation and AKC Legislator of the Year (Holt) awards. Many clubs donate a portion of their proceeds to legislative efforts such as the CLSF or their local AKC federation. For more information about the CLSF or the PAC, visit Two Ways to Protect Your Rights.

For more information or assistance with leveraging your event to benefit canine policy, contact the AKC Government Relations department. Thank you for your support.

All the best,
Sheila Goffe
Director of Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Government Relations
Legislative Alerts
2011 Legislation Tracking
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Two Ways to Protect your Rights

© 2011 American Kennel Club