January 2012
New Year, New Dog Laws, and Elections – Are You Ready?
An important part of responsible dog ownership is compliance with all dog laws, including kennel, licensing, zoning, leash laws and animal control regulations on both the state and local levels. See the highlights of laws changed in 2011 that could impact you.
Tales from the Trenches – A Challenge to All AKC Clubs
At the December meeting of the Shenandoah Valley Kennel Club, AKC Legislative Liaison Sharyn Hutchens described the tremendous assistance that a state legislator provided to all responsible Virginia dog owners earlier in the year when he introduced a bill in the state legislature to protect the rights of responsible Virginia dog owners. Although the bill failed and the legislator was widely criticized by animal rights groups, the legislator firmly defended the rights of responsible breeders. It was clear that dog owners had a true and valuable friend. Read more.
Tales from the Trenches – Banding Together
Guest columnist Carolyn Alexander is a Bull Terrier breeder, AKC judge, and Legislative Liaison for the Del Monte Kennel Club, and a member of several other dog clubs. She is also the Bull Terrier Breed Columnist for the AKC Gazette. She writes about the importance of unified efforts to oppose breed-specific and anti-breeder legislation.

Bull Terrier people tend to be among the more insular of AKC breed families. It is time, however, to cast our awareness and fellowship farther afield. That doesn't mean we pay any less attention to Bull Terriers, but we do need to consider extending our familial embrace to include the wider world of dogs and to be concerned with all issues affecting canines and their owners. Read more.

AKC Announces Community Achievement Award Honorees
In December, the American Kennel Club® (AKC) honored the Concho Kennel Club, Council Bluffs Kennel Club and Savannah Kennel Club with Community Achievement Awards for their outstanding 2011 Responsible Dog Ownership Day (RDO Day) events. Honorable Mentions went to the Collie Club of Maine, Northeastern Indiana Kennel Club and Trap Falls Kennel Club. Read more about the honorees.
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
Thirty-seven state legislatures and the District of Columbia are in regular session. Including bills carried over from the 2011 session, AKC GR currently is tracking almost 1100 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.
In the coming year, responsible dog owners and breeders will be faced with many challenges. AKC's Government Relations Department (AKC GR) continues to track approximately 735 bills carried over from 2011 legislative sessions, and already, over 250 new state bills have been introduced for 2012.

January is the perfect time to take a few minutes to make sure you are prepared for the year ahead. For responsible dog owners and breeders, this includes making sure that you are aware of all the new laws that were enacted last year and prepared for legislative issues in the coming year.

The new year is also a great time to consider how we as dog lovers can learn from the past challenges and resolve to work together to better achieve our common goals. In a Tales from the Trenches feature, AKC Gazette Breed Columnist Carolyn Alexander discusses the challenges faced by owners of "bully" breeds and urges the dog world to put breed affiliation aside to work together to fight breed discrimination and the radical animal rights agenda that threatens all dog owners.

With an election year ahead of us, another easy and essential resolution for responsible dog owners/breeders is to make sure you are registered to vote and actually vote in each race. While many people follow national-level races, the outcomes of local races will likely have an even greater impact on your day-to-day activities and on how dog owners and breeders are treated in their own communities.

Guest writer and AKC Delegate Sharyn Hutchens shares her thoughts on an important and often overlooked aspect of political success – the critical need to support those legislators who defend the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders. In a Tales from the Trenches article, Ms. Hutchens describes how she challenged her club to take a stand – and got 100% member support.

Already, 2012 looks to be another record-breaking year for legislative challenges for dog owners. Whether the issue is at the federal, state, county or local level, AKC Government Relations is here to assist you.

Wishing you all the best as we work together in the coming year.

All the best,

Sheila Goffe
Director, AKC Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
Email: doglaw@akc.org
Government Relations
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2012 Legislation Tracking
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© 2012 American Kennel Club