Recently, we have seen a number of successes across the country that will have a positive impact on dogs, dog owners, breeders, and our sport. These include amendments to bills in Rhode Island (House Bill 7045 and Senate Bill 2055) that will protect humane tethering for hunting, herding, and sled dogs, and the passage of House Bill 506 in Ohio, which creates reasonable standards for commercial breeders and subsequently caused animal rights activists to remove a measure from the 2018 ballot that would have been detrimental to dogs, hobby breeders, and sportsmen.
These successes are in a great part the result of local clubs, liaisons, federations, and dog owners taking the time to contact their lawmakers and becoming advocates for their dogs and breeding programs.
Even as legislatures adjourn or go into recess for the summer, local governments continue to consider proposals that could have a significant impact on dog owners. One prominent issue under consideration is tethering, and when and how dogs can be tethered outside. Other significant issues include mandatory spay/neuter on a first impoundment and limitations on pet choice. We encourage you to check out the state and local updates in this issue of Taking Command and visit our Legislative Action Center for the latest issues around the country and how you can take action.
As we see this increase in legislation around the country, it’s important to remember the value of cultivating positive relationships with elected officials, especially at the local level, before an issue arises. Animal rights activists are very good at proactively communicating with local officials, convincing them of real and perceived animal issues in the community, and providing their ideas on how to fix it. Unfortunately, they hear a lot less from responsible expert owners and breeders. City and county officials need to know that they have expert, responsible dog owners and breeders that are quietly doing positive things for dogs and the community – and they need to hear from dog owners and enthusiasts before animal rights activists get to them and before legislation is introduced.
AKC Government Relations invites you to join us for our legislative conference on July 14-15 in Colorado, where you can learn about easy, positive outreach to community officials, how to win legislative challenges, and network with fellow dog owners and exhibitors. This extensive, two-day conference will address a variety of topics including the dangerous partnership of animal rights and law enforcement and how you can protect your rights. Other topics include discussing what dog owners need to know and understand about ballot initiatives, media training for dog enthusiasts, and easy ways we can work together to better protect our dogs and our sport. View our flyer for the full list of topics to be covered, and contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 to reserve your spot today.
Contact AKC GR if you hear of a pending canine legislative issue. If you or a fellow breeder, club member, or exhibitor hears about a local issue impacting dogs, encourage them to contact AKC GR. We can help connect local clubs and breeders and provide the tools and resources needed to communicate effectively with the city or county. AKC GR can be reached at email@example.com or (919) 816-3720.