What's New from AKC Government Relations
AKC clubs do great work in their communities. Consider the countless community services that AKC club members perform across the U.S.— seminars on dog care, training classes, canine health clinics, Responsible Dog Ownership Days, support for canine health research, rescue and fostering, educational matches, competitive events, youth and Junior Handler programs—the list is endless. Club members and experienced dog owners work together to share their expertise, promote responsible dog ownership, and involve others in activities that enhance the human/canine bond.
Unity and cooperation among dog owners is often most evident when our beloved dogs are affected by natural disasters. Just last week, the successful evacuation of hundreds of sled dogs from the Sockeye Fire in Alaska demonstrates that by working together, members of the dog community can accomplish great things. Dog owners in the Mat-Su Valley recognized the threat of fire, planned their response, and when disaster struck, they were prepared to save the sled dogs and other pets in their community.
Advance planning and working together is a great model for dog owners when faced with any challenge, including the threat of overreaching legislation. As state legislatures adjourn for the year, take this time to prepare for next year. If your AKC club does not have a Legislative Liaison, please appoint a member to this important position.
Does your club have a communications plan in place to inform and engage members and other dog owners in your state and community on legislative issues? If not, please contact AKC GR for ideas on how to rapidly disseminate information about bills that impact dogs and dog owners, how to rally support for good measures, and how to effectively oppose detrimental legislation.
Members of more than 5,000 AKC club have years of experience with dog training, competition, breeding, and the finest of dog care. Add it up. For many clubs, the collective years of expertise among your members may total in the hundreds, if not thousands of years. Who is better qualified to advise lawmakers on canine legislation? To help you demonstrate the number of AKC clubs and events in your state, updated 2014 statistics are now available in the AKC GR Toolbox.
Your elected and appointed officials need to hear from you when considering canine legislation. Don’t wait until a bad bill is filed and then scramble to react. Negative legislation can be as devastating to responsible dog owners as a fire, and can move as quickly. Be prepared. Act now.