What's New from AKC Government Relations

With growing momentum, dog owners across the country are challenging anti-breeder and anti-dog ownership rhetoric with facts, science-based evidence, and good old common sense. Lawmakers are learning that the most accurate and reliable information about dog ownership, care, and breeding comes from experienced breeders, trainers and exhibitors rather than angry protestors, misleading petitions, and animal rights lobbyists.  

This month, the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs was honored with the Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation for their good work in providing legislators, state veterinarians, and the public with factual information about dog breeders; for their community service; and for their successful coalition building with other organizations. As a result of this effective collaboration, a diverse group of animal, agricultural, sportsmen’s and other Vermont organizations now work together on legislative and regulatory issues that impact dogs and dog owners. 

A new survey from the National Animal Interest Alliance has revealed that the number of dogs entering shelters has dropped significantly in the last few decades, while the number purebred dogs in shelters has dropped to an all-time low of less than five percent.  The study reveals common misconceptions about purebred dogs in shelters and discredits the myth that the choice of a purebred dog somehow hurts dogs in shelters.  It also highlights the need for additional study and oversight of U.S. pet shelters and rescue pets imported from overseas.

The AKC is pleased to welcome Davis Alexis as administrator for AKC Public Education. Although Davis is not technically part of the GR team, we look forward to working with her and embrace the crucial role that public education plays in forming future public policy. One of Davis’s first projects will be to reinvigorate the AKC Canine Ambassador program in which expert dog owners and breeders visit public schools to teach kids about dogs and responsible dog ownership. If you are interested in becoming an AKC Canine Ambassador or updating your existing status, contact publiced@akc.org.

The united voices of individual dog owners, kennel club members, AKC federations and allied groups are being heard by lawmakers across the U.S. As a result of your advocacy efforts, the tide is gradually turning against breed-specific laws. An increasing number of states have passed or are considering laws to prohibit local breed-specific measures and numerous communities have repealed existing breed-specific legislation. Despite this trend, breed bans and restrictions continue to be introduced in some areas. Concerned dog owners are urged to take action and to contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org when breed-specific measure are discussed or proposed in local communities. 

By working together, we can make a difference for the dogs we love.