URGENT -  Vote and Preserve Your Rights to Own and Breed Purebred Dogs

The AKC Canine Legislation Department reminds all fanciers and concerned dog owners to go to the...

The AKC Canine Legislation Department reminds all fanciers and concerned dog owners to go to the polls tomorrow to make your voices heard. This year’s election is expected to be close at the federal level, but it is important to remember the impact of voting for your state and local leaders too, as these officials have the greatest ability to influence your right to own dogs.

At the state level we have seen an increase in legislation that seeks to regulate breeders, impose restrictions on tethering and establish consumer protection for puppy purchasers. For example in the 2003-2004 session we tracked 13 bills that would have established breeding restrictions and in the 2005-2006 session, that number has jumped to 32!

Local elected leaders, such as those who serve on city and county councils, are especially crucial because they draft local animal control laws including licensing, noise ordinances, dangerous dog laws and nuisance provisions. In the last few years we have seen a rise in local breed-specific proposals tracked by the Canine Legislation Department, from 63 in 2003 to 99 in 2006. In just the last few months we have seen mandatory spay/neuter ordinances proposed in Los Angeles County, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Indianapolis, Indiana and several other jurisdictions.

This type of legislation is a major threat to the fancy and the future of purebred dogs. There are several well financed and well organized local and nationwide groups that are working diligently to move these proposals forward and it is critical that fanciers counter by promoting canine legislation that is effective, enforceable and will preserve our rights to breed and own purebred dogs.

It is essential that concerned dog owners involve themselves in the legislative process. This begins with voting tomorrow and then following up with elected officials after the election. A good way to begin building a relationship with your representatives is to send a congratulatory note after the election. Even better, have your club send a letter on official letterhead congratulating them and offering to be a resource on any animal control legislation. Fanciers, responsible breeders and concerned dog owners must make their voices heard on these important issues.