AKC Taking Command - a publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
March 2014
New in the GR Toolbox: New AKC Position Statements

AKC GR is pleased to announce new and revised AKC Canine Legislation Position Statements regarding working, assistance, and service dogs.

AKC’s prior position statement, “The Use of Dog for Assistance and Service”, has been retitled to reference working dogs and expanded to express AKC support for the right of disabled individuals to keep appropriately trained service or assistance dogs to perform essential functions without regard to the breed or phenotype of the dog. The revised version states:

Use of Working, Assistance and Service Dogs
The American Kennel Club strongly supports the training and use of dogs by humans, whose lives are enriched by dogs’ performing essential services. Dogs provide a wide variety of valuable services including: handicapped assistance dogs; drug, bomb, and arson detection dogs; and tracking dogs to locate missing persons and fugitives. The AKC opposes those who seek to define the assistance and service that dogs provide to humans as exploitative. The AKC encourages the continuation and further development of the use of dogs for these and similar purposes.

The AKC supports the right of persons who require a dog to perform essential services to be permitted to keep a dog without regard to the dog’s size, phenotype or breed.

AKC’s newest position statement supports the right of disabled individuals to use public transportation or receive other public accommodation for their working service dog. It condemns fraudulent claims of persons who characterize their dogs as working service animals in order to obtain privileges they would not otherwise be entitled to:

Misuse of Service Dogs
Service dogs are defined as those that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The AKC strongly supports public accommodations that allow individuals with disabilities to use service dogs.

The AKC strongly condemns characterizing dogs as service animals when they are not, or attempting to benefit from a dog’s service dog status when the individual using the dog is not a person with a disability.

AKC’s position statements are reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis by the Board of Directors and serve as the foundation for AKC’s positions on legislation or other public policy initiatives.

Be sure to visit the AKC GR 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.