November Chairman's Report
The American Kennel Club has been advocating for purebred dog owners since our founding in 1884. Yet in 1990 we stepped up our efforts in the political arena with the formation of the Canine Legislation department. Now the time has come again for AKC to further enhance our role in protecting owners' and breeders' rights. As we gear up for the 2008 legislative year, which promises to be one filled with breed bans, breeding restrictions, litter permits, excessive licensing fees and other threats to our rights to own and breed dogs, we want to remind fanciers about our commitment.
As the number and intensity of our battles increase, we too must increase our arsenal of weapons to combat such onerous proposals. In the last few years from coast-to-coast we fought high profile battles on various proposals, from California’s mandatory spay/neuter bill to New York’s “crop and dock ban” and hundreds of others in between.
In response to these growing threats, we established the AKC Canine Legislation Support Fund. This fund was created to enhance the AKC’s Canine Legislation Department’s ability to send staff across the country to meet with lawmakers and constituents as well as hire consultants and lobbyists at the state level. This fund can accept non tax-deductible donations from individuals, dog clubs, and organizations. This fund’s need was demonstrated, when for the first-time ever, AKC hired a state lobbyist in California to combat AB 1634.
On another, but equally important and supporting front, the AKC has also established the AKC Humane Fund to help spread the word about responsible dog ownership through public education and grant-giving. The AKC Humane Fund’s goal will be to accept tax-deductible donations from individuals, AKC clubs and other like-minded organizations to further its mission, “to unite a broad spectrum of animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible and productive pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making.”
The AKC Humane Fund’s focus will not be legislative but rather effecting canine culture in this country through positive involvement with American dog owners to create a stable, more enlightened dog ownership environment.
I also wanted to update you on the progress of the formation of our AKC Political Action Committee (PAC). As you may know, a PAC is a private organization that collects funds from its members and makes political contributions to elected officials and candidates for public office. PACs that solicit funds and make donations to federal officeholders and candidates must be registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Because of the unique membership structure of the AKC, the AKC first had to seek an Advisory Opinion from the FEC as to who its “members” were for the purpose of soliciting PAC contributions. On Oct. 11, 2007, the FEC issued an opinion holding that all of the members of the AKC member and licensed clubs were members of the AKC for solicitation purposes. At its November meeting, the AKC Board of Directors appointed the following AKC PAC Board members:
David Merriam - AKC Board member
Bill Newman - AKC Board member
Patti Strand - AKC Board member
Louis Auslander – Chicago, IL
Dr. Anthony D. DiNardo – Hartford, CT
Alan Kalter – Ann Arbor, MI
Gail LaBerge – Buford, GA
Walter Bebout – AKC
James Stevens – AKC
We look forward to working with the dog fancy to help influence legislation and expand our ability to educate the public about responsible dog ownership, which lies at the root of fighting all anti-dog bills. If everyone was a model responsible dog owner then legislation threatening our rights as dog owners and breeders wouldn’t be the reality it is today. While we believe in education as the key to all problems concerning dog ownership – it’s clear that more is needed – and we know the tools we have just put in place will help us accomplish that. For more information please visit www.akc.org.
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