Election day is quickly approaching. Although Tuesday, November 5th, is an off-year election for most states, there are still a number of important races going on throughout the country including gubernatorial races in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi and state legislative elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and New Jersey. Local elections are also taking place throughout the United States and, while not as high-profile, are critical in protecting your rights as dog owners and breeders.
Over the last few months, AKC GR has addressed a number of local law proposals across the United States. In some instances, lawmakers have been creating a new dog-related ordinance for over a year without input from anyone with breeding or fancy experience. Check out the Local Issues section of this newsletter for the latest proposals we are seeing – some of which include mandatory sterilization for any offense (and in one city that included using a retractable lead).
This is why it is essential for local lawmakers to know they have clubs and other dog experts in their communities – and we have tools that can help you. Visit the AKC Government Relations Legislative Action Center for talking points on policy issues, economic impact information for your state, and even sample letters to help you and your club introduce yourselves to your elected officials. Encourage your lawmakers to work with you and other dedicated, informed dog owners and breeders when researching and considering dog-related issues. Be the first community representatives who come to mind when dog-related issues arise.
Consider inviting lawmakers to local dog events and honor those legislators who are supportive of dog owners and responsible breeders. Recently, the Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs presented the AKC Legislator of the Year award to Connecticut State Representative Doug Dubitsky, in recognition of his work to promote reasonable, bipartisan legislation on dog-related issues.
Also, if you know of a person or club that is making a difference for dogs in your community, consider nominating them for a Community Achievement Award. This award is for an AKC-affiliated club or AKC-recognized federation or an individual who is a member of an AKC-affiliated club or AKC-recognized federation who successfully promotes responsible dog ownership within their community, or effectively introduces, monitors, or respond to legislative issues affecting dog ownership.
Finally, it’s hard to believe, but the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin will be taking place in Orlando before we know it. If you’re at the show December 13 – 15, be sure to stop by the AKC Government Relations booth for a custom caricature of you and your dog by renowned caricature artist Rafael Diez to support the AKC PAC; updates about recent legislative trends and issues that impact you as a dog owner; and to learn more about Service Dog Pass®, a voluntary, verifiable credential in development to improve access for service dog teams and reduce service dog fraud.
If you need assistance in reaching out to your lawmakers, or you have a pending policy issue in your community, reach out to us! AKC GR is here to partner with you to continue to protect our dogs, our sport, and our breeding programs.