AKC Taking Command - a publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
March 2014
What's New from GR
AKC Government Relations is pleased to report that 17 states have now enacted laws that prohibit or restrict breed-specific legislation (BSL). An 18th state, Utah, has passed a measure that is currently awaiting the governor’s signature. Six additional states are considering similar measures, and several local communities have recently rejected or tabled BSL proposals. However, BSL continues to be introduced at the city and county level in many regions and is the most frequent type of local legislation tracked by AKC GR. More information on AKC’s ongoing efforts to oppose BSL appears in this month’s Taking Command.

One of the most disturbing aspects of breed-specific laws is the damaging effect they may have on working, service or assistance dogs. In response to these concerns, the AKC has updated its canine legislation policy position to express support for the right of disabled individuals to keep appropriately trained service or assistance dogs to perform essential functions without regard to the dog’s breed or phenotype.

The AKC is also aware of a disturbing trend among certain dog owners who misrepresent their dogs as service animals for the purpose of obtaining privileges otherwise reserved for working or service animals and their human counterparts. This unfortunate situation has been observed in stores, restaurants, hotels and other venues that do not admit pets. It has also occurred on airlines, where misrepresentation of a dog as a service animal in order to avoid shipping it as cargo may reduce space available to those who truly need it.

Accordingly, the AKC has issued a new position statement that supports the right of disabled individuals to use public transportation or receive other public accommodation for their service dogs and condemns fraudulent claims of persons who characterize their dogs as service animals in order to obtain privileges they would not otherwise be entitled to.

With more than 1,300 measures before lawmakers so far this year, keeping up with current proposals can be a challenge. See "Legislative Information and Updates" for highlights on federal, state, and local issues that affect dog owners. Please contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org when you hear of a local (city or county) issue in your community. We rely on you to advise us when local measures are discussed or proposed. Together we can make a difference.