As we prepare for the 2021 sessions, we’re also looking back on 2020.
2020 was a memorable year for many reasons. With fewer public events and more Americans working from home, dog lovers increasingly relied on their four-footed friends for comfort and the opportunity to participate in a whole new, fun world of AKC virtual events and competitions.
2020 was also another record year for AKC GR. The GR team tracked some 4,211 dog-related legislative proposals bills in 2020 – an 83% increase over the 2,300 bills tracked in 2019. More than 700 of these bills were related to COVID-19, and many impacted dog owners, clubs, events, and pet-related businesses. Aside from measures related to COVID-19, we also experienced an increase of 51% in other canine legislation tracked.
The AKC National Championship in December was particularly special because it highlighted the dedication of breeders and breed enthusiasts to showcase their dogs and the breeds even under challenging circumstances. Show, Shop, and Leave was the theme of the 2020 AKC National Championship, held in conjunction with the AKC National Obedience Championship, AKC Rally National Championship, AKC Agility Invitational, AKC Fast CAT Invitational, and other competitions planned and presented with safety foremost in mind.
AKC GR staff was present at the event with a booth to update exhibitors about legislation, introduce extensive new resources for advocacy, and share information about the AKC PAC. To assure participant safety, the booth was also virtually paperless: Visitors to the AKC GR booth could stop briefly, maintain social distancing, and simply hover their cell phone cameras over QR codes for materials they wished to view or save.
New resources highlighted at the National Championship included the latest comprehensive policy brief on Consumer Protection/ “Puppy Lemon Laws” and sample introduction letters for you and for your club to use this month to introduce yourself to your new legislators.
In total, GR released some 25 new resource materials in 2020 for to help you be effective advocates for your dogs. We encourage you to visit the AKC Legislative Action Center (www.akcgr.org) to see the new resources and get the latest legislative alerts and tools to aid you in communicating with your legislators.
2021 is already shaping up to be a busy year. Please be sure to review the many legislative updates in this issue and continue to visit the Legislative Action Center for the latest information for your state. If you hear of an issue in your state or community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you for all your dedication to dogs in the past year and are committed to continuing to partner with you in the new year as we fight to protect our sport, breeding programs, and purebred dogs.