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The AKC's Commitment to Being the Dog's Champion

(Thursday, July 12, 2012)

Joining AKC are more than 60,000 voices heard on its petition to protect responsible small breeders in light of proposed rule changes of the Animal Welfare Act. The American Kennel Club, in its leadership role as experts in breeding and raising dogs since 1884, provides dog owners, responsible breeders, and lawmakers careful analysis of proposed local, state, and federal laws and regulations. As a leading animal welfare organization AKC is dedicated to have a more informed public policy process. AKC speaks up for dogs based on more than a century of shared knowledge in the breeding and kenneling of dogs.

Enhanced Care and Conditions of Dogs Policy

As the only purebred dog registry with a routine inspections program, the American Kennel Club has inspected more than 55,000 kennels since 2000. The AKC spends millions annually to fund this program and to position inspectors across the country, committing boots on the ground to ensure compliance with its Care and Conditions of Dogs policy. The enhanced policy, passed by the AKC Board in April, provides American dog and kennel owners with guidelines detailing best practices that embody responsible dog ownership regardless of the number of dogs owned. These guidelines are meant as a basis for helping individuals ensure that dog care practices are performed and housing facilities are maintained in a safe, humane, and responsible manner. In addition to guidelines set forth in this policy, individuals are expected to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding ownership and caring for dogs.

Non-compliance results in the potential loss of an individual’s ability to use AKC services, such as registering their dogs with the AKC and participating at AKC-sanctioned events, as well as possible civil and criminal government sanctions, as a result of our cooperation with government authorities. We are committed to protecting the integrity of our registry, ensuring that all AKC dogs are cared for in a humane way, and that cruelty will be reported immediately to the proper federal, state or local authorities should our inspectors find such conditions. Our policy embodies AKC’s mission to promote responsible dog ownership and demonstrates our continuing support of efforts to strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for canine cruelty and neglect.

Protecting Responsible Breeders

Because of our long history and breadth of experience in advancing the care and conditions of dogs, and responsible dog ownership, we know that regardless of the number of dogs owned or the manner in which breeders interact with potential puppy buyers, a "one size fits all" breeder regulation is unfair and unenforceable and not in the best interest of dogs and consumers in this country. That experience has led us to the conclusion that the proposed USDA regulations will place an unfair burden on small, hobby breeders because the hobby breeder who raises puppies in their home will be impacted in the same way as the large scale commercial internet puppy seller. The AKC believes it is neither the intent of the Animal Welfare Act nor USDA to do this, and as the leader and expert in raising and maintaining dogs, the AKC is obligated to express its concerns to the USDA and share the benefit of its expertise.

We are the Dog’s Champion

The American Kennel Club® is a not-for-profit organization which, along with our more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, has a 128-year history advocating for dogs as family companions, advancing canine health and well-being, working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership. The American Kennel Club and the affiliates it has founded provide more services and resources to promote the wellbeing of dogs than any other organization in the country. Through the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the AKC has given more than $25 million to fund sound scientific research to prevent, treat and cure canine disease. Through AKC Companion Animal Recovery, more than $4 million has been donated to Canine Search and Rescue and pet-related disaster relief and preparedness efforts, in addition to offering recovery services seven days a week, 24 hours a day and reuniting over 400,000 dogs with their families. Furthermore, the American Kennel Club, along with its parent club rescues and affiliates, make up the largest network of dog rescue groups and volunteers throughout the country. These clubs rescue all dogs, not just purebred dogs, and attempt to locate loving homes for them. Through various education programs, including its annual Responsible Dog Ownership Days and AKC Meet the Breeds, the AKC teaches potential and current dog owners how to find the best dog for their family and ensure the best care for their dogs.

No other organization has done more to protect and support dogs than the American Kennel Club. No other organization is doing more today to protect and support dogs than The American Kennel Club. We are the Dog’s Champion.