February 2012
AKC Legislative Leaders Share Experiences at Raleigh Conference Workshop
Some of the leading minds in canine legislative policy met on January 28-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina, to network, share experiences, and learn more about issues that impact responsible dog owners.

The AKC Legislative Conference brought together AKC legislative liaisons and AKC state federation representatives for two days of educational presentations and panel discussions on current legislative and regulatory measures, emerging trends, court actions, and how to prepare for and respond to threats to responsible dog ownership.

Read more.
AKC Legislative Liaisons and representatives of AKC federations from across the nation gathered at the AKC Legislative Conference in Raleigh. Photo by Tim Golden ŠAKC
Your Vote and Voice Are More Important Than Ever
With 2012 campaigns already underway, it is important that dog owners join together in support of candidates who will defend our rights to responsibly own, exhibit and breed our beloved purebred dogs. Now is the time to tell incumbent and aspiring candidates for office that their positions on dog issues will be a significant factor in determining who will get your vote in the upcoming elections.

Read more.

AKC CLSF Announces Westminster Getaway Winner
The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to announce that Hugh Dean Lemley of Bedford, Pennsylvania, is the winner of the Ultimate Westminster Getaway contest. One hundred percent of the proceeds went to the a AKC Canine Legislative Support Fund (CLSF), which supports AKC's outreach, educational and advocacy efforts on responsible dog care and legislative issues that impact dog owners, exhibitors and breeders.

Read more.

A Warrior Lost – In Memory of Diane Makinney
She wasn't a breeder, or an exhibitor. She wasn't a player in AKC events, and most dog people would not have batted an eye at the mention of her name. But her arguments were sound, her judgments credible, her legislative skill natural, and her ability to deliver results uncanny. Never one for the spotlight, she was a determined warrior who did more to protect the rights of dog people than almost anyone else.

On January 23, the dog world lost one of their great warriors with the death of Diane Makinney. Read more.
Winter 2012 Issue of In Session Congressional Newsletter Now Available
The latest edition of AKC GR's In Session Congressional newsletter is now available online. This canine policy newsletter, which is delivered to each member of Congress, is designed to educate lawmakers about key issues and trends in canine legislation. Each edition of the newsletter addresses a policy issue and provides an in-depth policy analysis. Each issue also highlights a member of Congress and their dog.

The current issue features Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, his Shih Tzu, "Snuggles" and Yorkshire Terrier, "Koda." It also discusses the problem of inconsistent breed-specific dog ownership policies across military bases that force responsible owners of well-behaved dogs of certain breeds to either give up their pets or to seek much more expensive private housing options. AKC breeds that have served alongside our U.S. service men and women are profiled, and winners of the 12th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) are highlighted.

Consider printing out copies to share with fellow dog lovers and to hand-deliver to your lawmakers. Click here to access current and past issues of In Session.
New in the GR Toolbox: Updated State Economic Impact Statistics
AKC GR is pleased to announce that updated 2011 statistics have been added to GR's flyers on the economic impact of purebred dogs by state. Click here, and then click on your state for information on the number of AKC events and entries and the economic value of AKC registered dogs in your state.

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.
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
Forty-four state legislatures and the District of Columbia are in regular session. Including bills carried over from the 2011 session, AKC GR currently is tracking more than 1,200 state bills. 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 doglaw@akc.org.

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 doglaw@akc.org. 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.
The first few weeks of this year have been very busy for the AKC’s Government Relations (GR) Team.

We are already monitoring over 1,200 bills at the state and federal level this year. At the state level, these bills include positive legislation such as the repeal of breed-specific legislation (Florida and Ohio), and problematic issues such as mandatory spay/neuter (Hawaii), breeding restrictions (West Virginia and Hawaii), and many other measures across the United States.

At the federal level, supporters of the problematic PUPS bill (S. 707/H.R. 835) made a strong push for new cosponsors over the last months of 2011. The AKC and other dog-friendly groups are pushing back, highlighting the damaging impact it could have on small breeders/owners and sportsmen who keep and breed only a few dogs but – as the result of joint ownership agreements – could be forced to establish commercial-style facilities rather than keeping their dogs in their homes or hobby kennels. Among those most impacted would be the small, responsible breeders – breed experts, mentors and educators who are cornerstones of their communities, advocate for responsible dog ownership and dedicate their lives to wellbeing of the dogs.

In late January, AKC GR conducted a national legislative conference/ workshop for the leaders of AKC state federations and legislative liaisons. The conference brought together legislative and federation leaders – both new and experienced – from across the country to share and learn from each other's experiences. Participants learned the basics about political involvement, grassroots empowerment, and working with legislators; and how AKC can provide resources and assist clubs, individuals and groups working to protect the right to own and breed dogs responsibly.

Success in protecting responsible dog ownership in the coming year will require that we work together on a variety of issues and prepare for upcoming elections. In this issue of Taking Command, we highlight the importance of voting for dog-friendly candidates and how your club can sponsor a voter registration drive.

AKC GR will continue to provide you with timely alerts, legislative updates and tools, and advice for long-term policy success. Take a moment to check out some of our latest offerings, including the 2011 economic impact statistics by state, which are now available in the online toolbox located on the AKC GR webpage.

And while you're there, please note the new AKC Government Relations web address: akc.org/governmentrelations. The old address will continue to work, but we hope the new, shorter version will be easier for you to remember and that you will visit it often to get the most up-to-date information and resources available to help you be a successful advocate.

All the best,

Sheila Goffe
Director, AKC Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Email: doglaw@akc.org
Government Relations
Legislative Alerts
2012 Legislation Tracking
GR Toolbox