The dog days of summer have been busier than ever for the American Kennel Club Government Relations (AKC GR) team and advocates. This August marks the launch of several new initiatives and resources to better serve dogs, dog owners, and the community at large.
AKC has noticed an increase of reports of animal rights activists targeting dog breeders and enthusiasts with harassment, slander, and retaliation for participation in the political process. To this end, we have created the Task Force on Anti-Breeder Harassment and Retaliation. Comprised of multiple AKC departments, its focus is creating a centralized incident tracking database of reports of harassment; conveying information to potential future targets; and providing resources to help those who suspect they are being targeted, along with tips on how to avoid becoming a target in the first place. As part of this initiative, the task force has created a new microsite www.akcgr.org/harassment devoted to this issue, with additional resources for dog owners, including information on avoiding nuisance complaints and why legal compliance matters.
The GR team remains active in tracking COVID -19 policy issues impacting AKC and dog owners throughout the pandemic. This has evolved from advocacy to ensure that dog owners continue to be able to access pet supplies and essential services and providing information on how AKC can stay open during the pandemic; to liability information related to the holding of events, and advocacy for targeted liability limits related to virus transmission for events in compliance with recognized health and safety guidelines. The AKC Legislative Action Center’s COVID-19 Resources Page is updated daily with the latest information on state regulations impacting dog owners, events, and businesses. The resources page also includes timely blogs on the latest information and tips on what club members and dog owners can do from home to continue being effective advocates.
GR is also continuing to advocate for federal and state laws to limit liability for clubs and events related to COVID-19 transmission when events are held in compliance with CDC and other jurisdictional health and safety recommendations. Information about these efforts, the status of various proposals, and how clubs/individuals can get involved is available on the COVID-19 Liability key issue page at www.akcgr.org/covidliability.
AKC GR recently released the latest version of In Session, AKC’s congressional and policy newsletter. The latest issue highlights Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his Australian Shepherds. The issue focuses on the new Healthy Pets Importation Act (HR 6921). Did you know that nearly 1 million dogs are imported into the U.S. each year, and the vast majority never receive more than a quick visual check before distribution? This bipartisan bill supported by the AKC can help protect pets and public health. We encourage you to review the issue and to share it with your member of Congress.
AKC GR also launched the fourth annual Companion Animal Law Writing Contest. The contest is open to all students currently enrolled at an ABA-accredited law school. The contest will offer a first-place prize of $2500 and a second-place prize of $500. This year’s topics, which include hypotheticals on the legal status of animals and forfeiture as a criminal sanction, offer students the unique opportunity to discuss real life examples facing animal owners at the forefront of animal law. Entries will be judged by legal and public policy professionals with experience in laws impacting companion animals. Winning submissions will be published. If you know any law students, we encourage you to share this opportunity with them.
And finally, in today’s world, masks have become the newest accessory! The AKC PAC is excited to provide you with the opportunity to show you care about the future of our breeds, protecting the health and wellbeing of our dogs, and all those you encounter at shows and in your daily activities. Your donation of $12 or more to the AKC Political Action Committee (PAC) gets you a handsome AKC PAC mask and the reassurance of knowing you are helping to protect your rights as a dog owner. 100% of contributions to the AKC PAC go directly to supporting legislative candidates who value and support the rights of responsible dog owners, breeders, and enthusiasts. Share your commitment with other fanciers and enthusiasts by wearing your PAC mask at your next dog show or event.
Be safe and well, and take care of each other. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.