Last year, AKC GR tracked more than 2,100 bills and regulatory acts with the potential to affect dogs and dog owners. Success in protecting the rights of dog owners and ensuring the well-being of dogs is achieved through the hard work of dedicated owners, breeders, sportsmen, and exhibitors who take action. What was very clear this year in all these battles was that grassroots advocacy works! More and more we are seeing that lawmakers only want to hear from those who will be directly impacted. In 2018, we fought many of the traditional battles, such as breeder and kennel regulations, but we also saw some new and emerging issues, including an increase in bills regulating when dogs can be outdoors and bills impacting consumer choice of pets. You can read more about the key issues faced and lessons learned in our year in review article.
Breeders and exhibitors across the country are no longer allowing themselves to be defined in false and derogatory terms. Instead, they are speaking proudly about their dogs, their breeding programs, and their contributions to their communities. They are making themselves heard in the halls of government. They are meeting with their elected officials and presenting true and valid information about dog care, dog ownership, and the value of responsible breeders. They are pointing out the untruths in inaccurate propaganda statements that are used to push for increasingly restrictive and damaging laws that affect dog owners. Don’t miss the article on improving outreach to lawmakers to learn how to effectively tell your story about the breed and sport you love.
In 2019, if you have not done so already, we ask you to join the growing army of responsible owners, breeders, and dog enthusiasts who are committed to fighting for the well-being of all dogs, the rights of responsible dog owners, and for laws that are based on science, not propaganda. It is important to make sure your club has a quick-response communications team to help continue to respond to false narratives and bring facts and experience to the conversation.
The American Kennel Club was pleased to present 2018 AKC Legislator of the Year Awards to members of Congress and state legislators who worked with their constituents to promote responsible dog ownership and protect the rights of dog owners. If you reside in the state or district represented by one of the honorees, please take a moment to send a message of congratulations and thanks for his or her good works. We are always accepting Legislator of the Year nominations. Please consider nominating a lawmaker you believe had an impact on protecting responsible dog ownership.
Although 2019 will be a battle, as many pieces of anti-dog legislation are already being introduced, we take solace in the fact that we have you to help us defend responsible dog ownership and the right to breed, exhibit, and own your dog. If you become aware of a harmful piece of legislation, please call or email the Government Relations department at 919-816-9720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.