The AKC Government Relations Department (GR) is dedicated to protecting the rights of all dog owners, promoting responsible dog ownership and ensuring that laws governing dog ownership and breeding are reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory. The Government Relations department leads the AKC’s legislative efforts and identifies its goals as “working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership” (AKC Mission Statement.) GR further identifies its mission as educating and informing responsible dog owners and breeders about the issues that impact them as well as monitoring and positively impacting legislation that affect them.
The AKC recognizes that advocacy works best when those who are directly affected by legislation take the lead in working with policymakers. Success in canine legislation requires involvement by those who will be affected by policy changes. As a matter of course, the AKC does not hire professional lobbyists on behalf of constituents.
The AKC encourages all dog owners to know, understand, and follow the laws of their jurisdictions. The AKC cannot provide legal advice or advocate on behalf of individuals. The AKC supports strong enforcement of the federal animal welfare act. Other, official AKC position statements on canine policy issues are available on the AKC website.
With 125 years of experience in the study and welfare of dogs, the AKC is a leading expert on dog ownership, care, well-being and public policy issues that pertain to dog ownership. The primary role of the AKC in the area of canine public policy is educational and informational. GR provides a variety of services in the area of government relations, including:
- Tracking and reviewing legislation for potential impact on fanciers and the general dog-owning public.
- Developing and sending materials and statements of opposition or support as necessary to local, state and federal officials in order to ensure that legislation dealing with dogs is reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory.
- Working directly with clubs, federation members and other allied groups to assist and empower them in developing and implementing strategies to advocate for the rights of responsible dog-owners and breeders, and to train trainers about issues in canine legislation, lobbying and other advocacy techniques.
- Providing issue-based policy expertise including policy briefs, model legislation/sample laws, and alternate language to policymakers, clubs, federations, and individuals involved in the development of canine policy.
- The AKC PAC provides support to candidates for federal or state legislative office who support reasonable enforceable laws that protect the health and welfare of dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously.