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Taking Command Newsletter

What’s New from Government Relations – June 2021

A hot topic in June is the announcement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it is temporarily banning the importation of dogs from countries at high risk for canine rabies, effective July 14. American Kennel Club Government Relations quickly responded with a legislative alert on the issue and a blog with information about the ban and available exceptions for personally owned dogs belonging to US citizens living abroad.

The CDC began a multi-state investigation following the recent importation of a rescue dog that tested positive for rabies. This was the fourth known rabid rescue dog imported into the US since 2015.

The CDC announcement sparked discussion—and some misinformation—across social media channels. AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to provide facts and updates as new information becomes available. Stay informed on this and other issues by viewing AKC GR’s blogs, important legislative alerts, and other online resources.

Currently, the US Government purchases approximately 80 to 90% of its explosives detection dogs from Europe, and there are fewer dogs available from overseas as those countries face their own rising terrorism threats. The CDC’s action to ban importation of dogs from 113 countries could further reduce the availability of detection dogs, putting our national and public security at increased risk. The AKC Detection Dog Task Force (DDTF) is working with stakeholders and allied organizations to address this shortage.

Earlier this month, the DDTF held a second webinar in the series Getting Puppies Started Right for Detection: Experts Compare and Contrast Successful Approaches. View this and past webinars to learn more about the DDTF, the AKC Patriotic Puppy Program, and how you can participate.

In related news, AKC and its affiliate organizations support law enforcement K-9s through the AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop program. In May, AKC Reunite announced enhancements to its matching grant program that helps fund purchases of K-9 police dogs and donates to police departments throughout the US. This is great information to provide to lawmakers! It is beneficial to share news and information with legislators about all the great things AKC, AKC affiliates, and our clubs do on behalf of dogs, dog owners, and our communities. This helps position your club members and the AKC as THE dog experts. It also helps counter false claims made by representatives of extremist organizations.

As many state legislatures adjourn their 2021 sessions, lobbyists and supporters of problematic bills double down on pushing to get their legislation passed in last minute votes, attaching amendments to other bills, and getting bills included in special sessions.

Read about late session political maneuvering on a Texas pet store bill and why this type of legislation matters to all dog owners and breeders. Similar bills in New York, other states, and local communities would serve to restrict consumer choice and deny new pet owners important state consumer protections that hold sellers accountable for false advertising and selling sick puppies.

Emerging trends to watch during remaining 2021 sessions and in future sessions include legislation that would change the legal status of dogs by giving animals the legal rights and privileges of humans. Promoted as “animal advocacy” bills, these measures are a step toward severing the human/animal bond, ending the keeping of animals as pets and working partners, and curtailing use of animals for food, fiber, and other purposes.

When state legislatures adjourn, attention often shifts to local legislation. Residents of affected communities can attest that an overreaching city or county ordinance can have tremendous negative impact on responsible dog owners, exhibitors, sportsmen, and breeders within the jurisdiction. If you hear discussion of canine policy where you live, or if you learn that an animal ordinance has been introduced, please contact AKC GR at and let us know! We can provide analysis and tools to assist you in supporting positive proposed ordinances and in favorably amending or opposing bad local legislation.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, the AKC GR team looks forward to seeing you at AKC events. As always, please contact us at with questions or for information on how you, your club, and your fellow dog advocates can get involved.