Taking Command
A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Dept - September 2014
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What’s New from GR

Election Day 2014 — November 4 — is just weeks away. Are you registered to vote? In many states, voter registration closes 30 days prior to the election date, so if you’re not already registered, time is short!  Click here to view voter registration information and deadlines for your state.

Voter turn-out for “mid-term” elections (an election that takes place in the middle of the President’s term of office) is historically lower than in Presidential election years.  But the importance and impact of the upcoming election should not be underestimated.  The officials we elect this November — especially our local and state level policy makers — will have tremendous influence on animal laws and regulations that impact our daily lives.

In addition to the thousands of local officials who will be elected to city, county and state offices, all 435 members of the US House of Representatives, 33 of the 100 US Senators, state legislators in 46 states, and 36 state governors will also be elected. 

Over the next few weeks, you can help ensure the future of responsible dog ownership by spreading the word about the importance of voting for lawmakers who respect the rights of responsible dog owners, exhibitors and breeders.  AKC Government Relations provides a one-page printable flyer you can use when encouraging friends, family and colleagues to vote for dog- and breeder-friendly candidates. AKC clubs are urged to feature the flyer in print and online newsletters and distribute it at club meetings and events between now and Election Day.

Take a moment to click here and review “Elections: Ideas for Identifying and Supporting Dog-Friendly Candidates” from the June 2014 issue of Taking Command.  Share what you learn about candidates with your fellow dog owners and breeders so they, too, can make informed choices at the ballot box. Then get out and vote!

A single vote — your vote — could decide the outcome of an election, especially in local races.  November 4 is your opportunity to make a difference.

Judicial Updates
In judicial news, in August the Oregon Supreme Court issued an opinion that animals are the “victims” in animal cruelty crimes, while reiterating that Oregon law continues to regard animals as the property of their owners. This overturned a lower court’s conclusion that only people can be victims within the meaning of criminal statute.  Read more about this decision. 

This month, a Jefferson County (AL) circuit court judge ruled that a Clay, Alabama, dangerous dog ordinance is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced as written. The ordinance required owners of “pit bull” dogs and pit bull mixes to register their dogs with the city, comply with confinement and muzzling requirements, and procure liability insurance.  It further banned bringing new pit bulls into the city and required that puppies born to existing pit bulls be removed from the city within a specified time frame.  The case potentially may be used as secondary authority in other courts.   

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