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Taking Command Newsletter

What’s New from Government Relations December 2021


Happy Holidays from the Government Relations team! As we wrap up the year, we want to thank you again for all the energy you have put into making 2021 a great success. While still battling a new pandemic-induced landscape, the GR team continues to work across the United States to fight legislation and equip you to be effective advocates for your dogs.

We were especially excited to get back into the field and see all of you and lawmakers who impact canine policy. Just before press time, team members represented AKC at policymaker conferences for Connecticut municipalities (Stacey Ober) and the National Assembly of Sportsmens Caucuses (Sheila Goffe). Other team members provided seminars at parent club national specialties and localized legislative conferences with the goal of educating and promoting advocacy. Southeast Regional Manager, Patty Van Sicklen, gave us a first-hand account on how building relationships with decision-makers ensure positive pet policies in the future.  Charley Hall, our Mid-Atlantic Legislative Analyst and Outreach Coordinator, went to the epicenter of Virginia County Government to introduce himself as a subject expert and someone to collaborate with on future canine legislation.

Developing relationships with lawmakers make a difference. For example, when a New Hampshire bill was recently introduced that sought to suspend the use of canine units in law enforcement, our Legislative Analyst for the Northeast Region, Stacey Ober, met directly with the bill’s sponsor to answer any questions and clear up any misconceptions.  Ultimately the bill was withdrawn.

In addition to working on state and local issues, AKC GR continues to monitor a number of federal and international regulations impacting dog owners.  From updates to Canadian Dog Import Laws, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requiring an emergency contingency plan, AKC GR made sure to keep you updated through our alerts and blog posts.

Additionally, AKC staff administer the AKC Detection Dog Task Force, which hosts a monthly webinar series which covers a range of topics related to addressing the shortage of U.S. -bred explosives detection dogs.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out via email (, phone (919-816-3720).  We also encourage you to visit our Legislative Action Center. We are continuously updating legislation tracked and creating new materials to help you communicate with lawmakers, like our newest  Issue Analysis regarding ear cropping, tail docking, and debarking.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the American Kennel Club Government Relations and have a safe and prosperous New Year!