Taking Command
July 2013
Tales from the Trenches —
Serving Communities as the Local Dog Experts

Guest columnist Jeffrey Ball is delegate for the Ramapo Kennel Club, president of the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs, and an exhibitor and breeder of Great Danes. He shares his experience working with city government to position local fanciers, club members, and the AKC as dog experts and to provide a resource to help prevent pet problems from developing in the community.

Across the United States, dog owners are increasingly affected by new laws and zoning restrictions enacted by their local governments. As the American Kennel Club (AKC) delegate for the Ramapo Kennel Club and president of the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs (NJFDC), I know the importance of remaining vigilant about proposed city and county ordinances. I would like to share what happened in my town.

Read more.

New in the GR Toolbox:
Economic Benefits of AKC Dog Shows
AKC Government Relations is pleased to unveil our updated “Economic Benefits of AKC Dog Shows” handout. This is an excellent tool to provide to lawmakers to demonstrate a tangible reason why they should support responsible dog owners and breeders.

The Economic Impact of AKC Dog Shows
The statistics contained in this handout are the result of a study conducted by AKC Government Relations staff of shows of varying sizes and lengths in different regions of the country. AKC GR survey research conducted in 2012 showed that spending by exhibitors continues to increase, and that the dog show participants spend on average more than $500 during a typical show weekend. Depending on the size of the show, more than $1.5 million may be injected into local communities in a big show weekend! These are significant statistics that are valuable to share with state and local lawmakers considering canine legislation proposals. The information is also valuable for clubs seeking a new site for a show or other dog event.

AKC GR thanks to the exhibitors at the events included in this study who took the time to respond to our survey! Your participation helps us make a strong, positive statement to legislators!

The handout may be downloaded by clicking here, or by visiting the Government Relations Toolbox and scrolling down to “Economic Impact of Dog Shows”.
Has Your Session Adjourned? Thank Your Legislators!

Many state legislative sessions have adjourned for the year. If your state is adjourned, we encourage you to take a few moments to contact those legislators who took a stand for responsible dog ownership and breeding this year!  Send them a brief note or contact their offices and let them know that you and/or your club as constituents appreciate their efforts this year.

This is also an excellent opportunity to reach out to those that perhaps did not support your position and you would like to educate on canine legislation issues and responsible dog ownership/breeding policies.

Many legislators will be back in their districts this summer and fall. Consider inviting your lawmakers to a dog show or another community event in which you are participating and tell them that you would love to show them more about what you and your club do for dogs and the community.

We encourage you to consider ways to thank those legislators who supported you and continue to educate all lawmakers about the importance of supporting responsible owners and breeders!

From Our Nation's Capitol
The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2013 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
Ten state legislatures and the District of Columbia are in regular session. Two states are in special session. So far this year, more than 1,100 state bills have been filed that could impact dogs and dog ownership. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit the 2013 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 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.
Help AKC fight anti-dog legislation
Director's Letter
Summertime means parades, picnics, public events — and legislatures adjourning or going into recess. Over the next few months, many state and federal legislators will be back in their districts. This is an excellent opportunity to let them know about the wonderful things you and your club do for dogs and the community, and perhaps even consider inviting them to a club meeting or local dog show.

This month, we are pleased to unveil the newest Economic Benefits of AKC Dog Shows handout, which highlights a study conducted by AKC Government Relations over several months in 2012 to determine how much money a dog show generates for a local community. Surveys were sent to exhibitors at shows of varying sizes in different regions of the country to determine how much they spent on transportation, lodging, and other expenses while in the host community. I would like to thank the many participants who who took time to fill out these surveys so that we could bring you this important information.

Our findings demonstrate that average spending by exhibitors at AKC dog shows has increased by 60 percent over the past eight years, and that shows have the potential to generate over $1.5 million in a community over a weekend. These are very important facts to mention to state legislators or local officials that are considering canine legislation: Not only do restrictive laws hurt dogs and responsible owners/breeders, they also impact local businesses and the community at large who benefit from responsible dog owners participating in AKC events in their area.

If you know of a legislator in your state who has taken a stand in support of responsible dog owners and breeders, consider nominating them for our James S. Holt Memorial Award for the Promotion of Responsible Dog Ownership in Legislation. This award, also known as the “legislator of the year” award, is a wonderful way to recognize those legislators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership and breeding, the well-being of all dogs, and the advancement of dogs in your community. AKC provides this award, but we depend on you, their local contacts to nominate and present this award at a show or other special ceremony. This award is one more way for you, as constituents, to honor the legislators you work with. For more information on this award, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

Thank you for all you do on behalf of our dogs and our communities.

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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2013 Legislation Tracking
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© 2013 American Kennel Club