What’s New from AKC Government Relations
The AKC Government Relations team is off to a busy start for 2021. Currently, 47 state legislatures are in session and many dog-related bills have already been introduced. Congress has been busy with organizing with new leadership, the impeachment, COVID and budgetary issues. So far this year, AKC GR is already tracking approximately 1,000 bills with the potential to impact dog ownership or canine wellbeing. We anticipate a significant additional amount of new canine legislation, both positive and problematic, to be introduced in the states, local communities and Congress over the next several months.
Recently, we focused on the importance of reaching out to your local lawmakers to let them know you can be an expert resource for them on dogs and canine policy. We’ve also provided a number of new key issue resources in the Legislative Action Center to help you communicate your views on important canine legislative issues.
Our latest updates to help you advocate for dogs include recently launched new software that allows us to offer you AKC Legislative Alerts via text messaging. To opt-in to receive text messages, please text AKCGR to 50457. After receiving the confirmation text, you will need to complete the registration by clicking on the provided link and saving your mobile number to your profile in our database.
One of several legislative issues in which we’re seeing a troublesome increase involves efforts to expand regulation of dog trainers and restriction of responsible training methodologies. Learn more about this emerging issue, see in our article in this month’s AKC Gazette.
Another ongoing troublesome issue that remains is anti-breeder efforts. Too often, these efforts not only include legislation but can also involve the bullying of responsible breeders or enthusiasts/ advocates who work to protect the breeds and our rights as breeders. To study and begin to address this issue, AKC launched the Taskforce on Anti-Breeder Harassment & Retaliation last summer. The goal of the task force is to educate and provide resources to breeders, dog enthusiasts and the general public about the problem of breeder harassment, how to prevent and avoid it, and what to do if you believe you are a victim of harassment or retaliation by anti-breeder groups or individuals because of your breeding or political activities.
Gathering timely, valid information is vital to the success of this initiative. To capture information, we’ve created an online form where breeders can confidentially report suspected anti-breeder harassment or retaliation. Analysis of reports will allow the Anti-Breeder Harassment and Retaliation Task Force to document trends, such as the frequency, geographical distribution, timing, and nature of harassment, and help support responsible breeders against efforts to bully them.
Another exciting initiative currently gaining traction is work by the Detection Dog Task Force to educate breeders about opportunities for helping to address the shortage of U.S.-bred and -trained explosives detection dogs. Join us on February 24th for the latest DDTF webinar, which will explore opportunities for confident puppies to become working dogs in areas other than explosives detection.
On a sad note, AKC joins many dog lovers and advocates in mourning the passing of Julian Prager, an extraordinary legislative leader, Bulldog breeder, and passionate advocate for dogs. Mr. Prager was active in animal welfare and canine issues throughout his lifetime, and advocated for many improvements to federal, state, and municipal dog laws. We are forever grateful for his tireless efforts on behalf of purebred dogs.
If you become aware of an issue in your state or local community or need assistance with public outreach, please do not hesitate to contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-816-3720. We will work with you to help you get the tools and resources you need. Thank you for your advocacy for dogs.