What’s New from GR
Although August is traditionally a slow time for legislation, this past month has been exceptionally busy for your AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) team. After a six-year wait, USDA APHIS released new regulations intended to reduce the harmful effects of importing and placing potentially sick puppies in pet homes in the United States. The regulations prohibit importation of dogs into the US for resale unless the dogs are at least 6 months of age and meet basic health clearances. These requirements, which were part of the 2008 Farm Bill, represent years of effort by the AKC, NAIA, and other dog experts concerned about the public health impact of large numbers of puppies imported into the US with little oversight.
Another significant success took place in North Carolina — the home of AKC’s operations center — where the AKC and like-minded animal welfare organizations held off animal rights-inspired amendments to a must-pass budget bill. The proposed amendments would have required certain owners of multiple dogs to be licensed and regulated as dog "dealers", even if they did not breed those dogs or engage in commercial activity.
September — and AKC Responsible Dog Ownership (RDO) Month — is just around the corner. In 2013, 650 AKC clubs around the country celebrated dog ownership with their own RDO Days.
AKC’s flagship RDO Day event takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 20 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. All dog lovers are invited to bring their dogs to try out beginning agility equipment and rally exercises in the AKC My Dog Can Do That! ring. You can also take your dog through the 10-step AKC Canine Good Citizen® test, get your pet microchipped, meet and learn about different breeds, watch demonstrations of dog sports, talk to members of local kennel clubs and rescue groups, and participate in a variety of family-friendly activities. AKC GR sent invitations to local and state legislators to personally invite them to attend with their families and dogs, enjoy the activities, and learn about the great things AKC clubs do in their communities.
If your club has the volunteers and the location, why not plan your own AKC RDO Day event for September or later this fall? RDO events can take place any time and they’re a wonderful way to reach out to the public and your legislators. Events held before the upcoming November elections offer an excellent opportunity for candidates to meet their dog-loving constituents (and potential voters) and learn about the contributions your club makes to your community! Clubs that hold an RDO Day event in September are eligible for a special RDO Day Community Achievement Award.
AKC Government Relations can assist you in planning and funding your public outreach and educational efforts through an AKC Canine Legislative Support Fund Educational Grant. And nominations are still being accepted for 2014 Legislator of the Year Awards. This is a great way to recognize US and state senators and representatives for their commitment to responsible dog ownership and breeding. Please contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your recommendations for this prestigious award.
Read on to learn more about the latest in canine legislation and ways you can make positive changes for dogs and dog owners in your community.