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2022 was another busy year for the AKC Government Relations Department (GR). The team monitored approximately 2,400 pieces of canine legislation and some 680 regulations impacting dogs, dog ownership, and canine health and wellbeing.

Oversight and jurisdiction of animal issues differ at the federal, state, and local levels. As such, the types of policy issues in canine legislation and regulation also vary between the different levels.

  • At the federal level, the most common categories of legislative proposals in 2022 related to: Working dogs (including detection and service dogs), the Animal Welfare Act (including breeder regulation and dog importation), and animal research/testing.
  • At the state level, the most common animal legislation issues included animal cruelty, animal control, covid-19 related bills, and working dogs (primarily regarding service dogs). It should be noted that most bills to regulate breeding, regardless of jurisdiction, are described by their proponents as “animal cruelty” bills.
  • At the local level, the most common proposal continues to be bans on the sale of pets at retail pet stores. In addition, the GR team addressed several bills seeking to regulate breeders through zoning, licensing, and other means.

The U.S. Congress is already in session, and all 50 states will also be in session in 2023. Following the 2022 elections, there are also a number of new lawmakers who may not be aware of AKC clubs, our sport, and canine legislation.

The GR team provides direct outreach to lawmakers, but our most valuable asset is your engagement and involvement. We rely on working with you – impacted dog owners – to assure a bright future for dog ownership. Lawmakers depend on their constituents for guidance on issues of importance to their communities, as well as their own re-election and political future. They want to hear from you! This is why AKC GR provides not only testimony and legislative action alerts (geotargeted, online, and/or via text), but also a wide range of additional resources for you.

We encourage you to check out our resources, including easy-to-use key-issues pages, 2-minute explainer videos, updated economic benefits information, printable issue handouts, comprehensive policy briefs and model legislation, sample letters, blogs with news and advocacy information, and much more in our Legislative Action Center at