What’s New from AKC Government Relations
This issue of Taking Command highlights major issues and emerging trends in legislation over the past year. In 2019, the Government Relations department tracked more bills than ever before. 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. As a whole, some of the greatest successes occurred when we partnered with dog people who also reached out to their legislators as constituents.
In 2020, your involvement will be vital to preserving the rights of responsible individuals to choose, breed, own, properly care for, and assure the future of our beloved dogs. AKC Government Relations can help you protect your rights as a dog owner in your community, but we need your commitment too. As you consider your resolutions for the year ahead, please include these five easy steps to protect your right to own and breed dogs. The time you spend maybe one of the best investments you make this year for your dogs.
• Set up a brief meeting with your local representatives or legislators now. A friendly, 10-minute meeting to introduce yourself – especially before an issue arises – will help you to establish yourself as an expert when your legislator needs someone to call for input on future issues. In the meeting, share the wonderful things you and your club do for the community and responsible dog ownership in general. Encourage them to contact you on canine legislation issues. If you know of a legislator that is particularly supportive of dog owners, consider nominating them for a Legislator of the Year award.
• Participate in outreach programs to personally demonstrate the value that responsible breeders, owners, and hobbyists bring to their communities. Recognition of the value breeders and dog owners bring to the community is an important part of legislative success. Responsible dog ownership programs that engage the public are great for schools, community centers, fairs, and other community gatherings. AKC can provide suggestions and tools and help you make your event a success.
• Get involved in the upcoming elections. This year, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 35 of 100 U.S. Senators, 13 governorships, and a large number of state and local elections, will be contested. Take the time to make sure your voter registration is up to date and that you know the dates of the upcoming elections. Electing dog-friendly candidates is the most effective way to ensure your rights are protected. Lawmakers are especially eager in election years to go out in the community and meet constituents. Invite them to come speak for a few minutes at the beginning of your next club meeting or give them a tour of your show or event. Show them what you are doing on behalf of dogs and help them understand what it means to be a responsible fancier, breeder, or sportsman.
• Watch for canine legislation and issues in your community. AKC GR monitors and tracks legislation at the state and federal level, but we depend on input from you to learn what’s going on in municipalities across the country. Contact us when an issue arises. We will work with you to connect with other clubs and breeders in your area and provide you with the tools you need to educate your lawmakers and fight bad legislation.
• Know your local laws. Make sure that you are aware of any new laws that were enacted last year in your state and local community. Knowing your laws and complying with them are important aspects of responsible dog ownership.
Thank you for continuing to partner with us. We encourage AKC clubs that do not already have one to appoint a Legislative Liaison to serve as an important contact person for AKC GR.
AKC Government Relations is here to help you! We provide information and tools to assist you with legislative issues that may arise in your community or state. AKC GR staff members are also available to help analyze legislation and connect you with others in your area who can help you communicate with lawmakers.
For questions on legislation, or to advise us of an emerging local legislative issue, please contact the AKC GR Department at (919) 816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.