August 2012
AKC RDO Days — Show Your Legislators You Support Responsible Dog Ownership!
Dog in RDO t-shirt
  Photo by Mary Bloom, courtesy of AKC.
The most successful advocates at state legislatures are those who have developed relationships with their public officials. One of the best ways to do this is by inviting them to your club meetings and community events.

Throughout the month of September, hundreds of clubs around the country are hosting Responsible Dog Ownership (RDO) Days. These educational events feature fun activities for current and future dog owners. Each day is unique and can include programs such as meeting various breeds, obedience and agility demonstrations, instruction for children about safety around dogs, Canine Good Citizen® tests, and information on local resources for dog owners.

RDO Pet Promise
Click here to view and sign the AKC Responsible Dog Owner Pet Promise.
RDO Days provide excellent opportunities to acquaint legislators and other public officials with the benefits that responsible dog owners bring to their communities. When you invite lawmakers to your event, you also give them a great way to interact with their constituents and learn the value of supporting responsible dog owners.

AKC's GR Department can help you invite legislators and local officials to your event. Contact us at (919) 816-3720 or for assistance and suggestions.

For more information on RDO Days and how to schedule one in your area, visit the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days website.
Comment Period on Proposed APHIS Rules Now Closed — 70,000+ Dog Owners and Breeders Signed AKC's Petition
The public comment period on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed rule regarding "Retail Pet Stores and Licensing Exemptions" closed on August 15.

Thousands of comments were submitted, and the agency's review process is ongoing. Read more here.
The Legal Profession Weighs In: Repeal Breed-Discriminatory Ordinances
In early August, the American Bar Association (ABA) adopted a policy urging all state and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to adopt comprehensive breed-neutral dangerous dog/reckless owner laws. The policy, which was championed by the Animal Law Committee of the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, seeks to ensure due process protections for dog owners, encourage responsible pet ownership, and promote policies that focus on the behavior of both dog owners and dogs. Furthermore, the policy urges the repeal of any breed-specific provisions in state and local law.

Click here to read the ABA's news release on its new breed-neutral dangerous dog policy.
Legislative Successes
The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to partner with state federations, dog clubs and concerned owners to protect the rights of dog owners. The tireless response of responsible breeders, owners and fanciers across the country truly makes a difference! Visit the 2012 Legislative Successes page to view some recent results of their good work.
From Our Nation's Capitol
The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2012 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 in regular session. Bills have been prefiled for the 2013 session in four states. So far this year, AKC GR has tracked more than 1,450 state bills that could impact dogs and dog ownership. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit the 2012 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 assistance 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.
Proposed breeder regulations on the federal level, newly-introduced breed-specific and limit laws in local communities, and record-setting heat bring new meaning to the "dog days of summer."

The period for commenting on a USDA/APHIS proposed rule that would deleteriously impact small hobby breeders closed on August 15. The American Kennel Club's petition to protect responsible small breeders closed August 13 with more than 70,000 signatures. On behalf of AKC and responsible breeders everywhere, thank you for your tremendous participation.

The next step is that APHIS must review and address every comment received. Given the complexity of this issue and the number of comments obtained it will likely be months before we receive feedback from APHIS. Visit our USDA/APHIS Regulation Resource Page for more information on next steps and the latest news on this front.

August is traditionally a quiet month for state and Congressional legislative action, especially in a major election year. Congress is currently in recess until September and most state legislatures have adjourned. Legislators generally use this time to reconnect with their constituents and campaign for re-election. This is an ideal time to meet with your representatives in their local offices and share your perspectives and expertise on dog issues.

Remember, most legislators are not dog experts and some may not even be aware of key issues. A pleasant and respectful introduction to communicate your willingness to provide information and share your experience is a great investment for the future. Volunteering on a campaign of your choice is another great way to connect with local legislators and get to know those who may be making decisions about issues important to you in the future.

September — and AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days — are just around the corner. Clubs and dog-loving organizations throughout the country conduct more than 600 local events to teach new and experienced dog lovers alike about responsible dog ownership. AKC's fourth quarter Community Achievement Award, and its $1,000 contribution, is set aside solely for AKC clubs and AKC-recognized federations that participate in September RDO Days.

Has your club or federation made plans to reach out to your community next month with AKC's message about responsible dog ownership? If so, please also invite your local legislators and media to stop by. This is an ideal opportunity for them to learn about all the great things responsible breeders do in their communities.

To learn more about RDO events around the country and how you can get involved, click here.

All the best,

Sheila Goffe
Director, AKC Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
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© 2012 American Kennel Club