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

Do you know your lawmakers?  Do they know you?  This issue of Taking Command features examples of effective outreach to legislators by individuals, clubs, and federations that tirelessly work to educate their elected officials about issues that affect dogs and dog owners.

Effective advocates begin their outreach efforts before a bill is on the table. They communicate with lawmakers about the great things AKC clubs do in their communities to support responsible dog ownership.  They involve elected officials in local dog events and honor those legislators who are supportive of dog owners and responsible breeders. They demonstrate their knowledge and establish their credentials as the dog experts. They encourage legislators and their staff members to contact them—and other AKC clubs and federations—on canine legislation issues.  

Raising awareness about the value breeders and dog owners bring to the community is an important part of success in ensuring that dog laws are fair and reasonable. Hosting and participating in responsible dog ownership programs and events that engage the public are great way to counter anti-breeder and anti-dog ownership propaganda. This can be a daunting task, because special interest groups, including some that represent extremist viewpoints, spend millions of dollars each year lobbying for increasingly restrictive laws that seek to severely limit our rights to own, exhibit, hunt with, and breed purpose-bred dogs.

Unless our lawmakers hear from dog-owning constituents who provide different viewpoints and real facts, their perceptions may be based on questionable “dog overpopulation” statistics from 20 years ago and the images of sad-eyed puppies and kittens in TV ads that beg for dollars.  Such images may be compelling, but they fail to recognize that more than 82 million dogs live in good homes in the US. The vast majority of US dogs are loved and cared for by more than 47 million responsible owners. These owners deserve to have the choice of getting their next puppy or dog from a responsible breeder.

The American Kennel Club is committed to protecting this freedom of choice and ensuring a bright future for all dogs. We hope the updates in these pages will also guide you in our shared mission.

 
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