Chairman's Report

June 2009

-- Legislative Successes Depend on Active Club Members and Breeders --

The AKC’s long-standing reputation and credibility as the authority for all matters relating to dogs are among the reasons why policymakers regularly seek our input when developing dog-related legislation. The AKC’s grassroots organization of nearly 5,000 local dog clubs, thousands of responsible dog owners and breeders, and the number of dogs and litters registered each year means that AKC support or opposition can help make or break the success of legislation.

Whenever state residents are threatened with unreasonable laws impacting responsible breeders and owners – and this year has seen more than 800 such bills across the country – the AKC Government Relations department works closely with AKC state federations, local clubs and breeders groups to address the problematic language. We provide these groups with significant resources, assistance, information and direct communications with lawmakers. This model works because, unlike for-profit competitors, the AKC puts its resources back into benefitting the dogs it registers and this includes legislation.

Policy officials throughout the nation recognize the AKC and its state federations as supporting reasonable laws that protect the rights of dog owners and breeders while ensuring integrity of the purebred dog and the welfare of all dogs. The AKC’s position statements are accessible and well-publicized. Legislators also know that the AKC is self-regulating: the AKC inspects its own breeders; has zero tolerance for neglect and abuse; and recognizes the obligations of dog owners to abide by clean-up ordinances, leash laws, nuisance laws and other reasonable regulations.

AKC staff continues to develop successful legislative strategies based on mutually respectful interaction with policymakers. In Nebraska a bill that would have heavily regulated breeders and capped dog ownership at 75 dogs was recently postponed indefinitely because AKC worked closely with breeders in that state. AKC constituents from Florida to Minnesota to West Virginia have worked with our talented staff and taken advantage of our useful resources and, as a result, have seen legislative successes in defeating bad bills.

In our ongoing efforts to provide these resources to our constituents, we are pleased to now offer a nationwide legislative tracking service. Updated daily this handy database gives fanciers access to pending canine legislation, including bill text, official legislative summaries, the latest legislative developments, the progress of specific bills, as well as the most up-to-date AKC legislative alerts and messages. We recognize that numerous bills are constantly being introduced nationwide and that is why we still rely on local club members to notify us of new legislation. If you hear of a bill we should add to the list, please alert us at doglaw@akc.org or call the Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720.

I encourage you to utilize our new tracking service and sign-up for our complimentary e-newsletter Taking Command, for up-to-date information on protecting your rights as responsible dog owners and breeders. AKC is here to help you prepare to engage in the legislative process with your state lawmakers. For more information visit: http://www.akc.org/canine_legislation/

Sincerely,


Ron Menaker
Chairman