This July, federal policy has been heating up. AKC Government Relations has been working to educate Congress on the many problems and concerns with two bills that could negatively impact dogs and responsible breeders.
One-size-fits all mandates such as the Puppy Protection Act (HR 1624) may sound great on the surface, but they are problematic because they increase emphasis on paperwork compliance rather than positive, performance based outcomes. Consider this: dogs are the most diverse species of mammals. What is appropriate for one breed may not be appropriate for another, and these rigid requirements could undermine appropriate care.
Goldie’s Act (HR 1788) would allow dogs to be seized and possibly euthanized for vague, subjective reasons and would not allow USDA to differentiate between paperwork errors and true neglect or harm to animals. While zero violations of any rules or laws should be the goal, the care and wellbeing of animals must always be a priority. Reporting paperwork errors in the same manner as care violations also creates a misleading perception about breeder licensees and creates a new target for animal extremists who use those public databases to identify breeders.
Instead, the AKC supports strong enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including new rules currently part of a 3-year implementation process set for completion in fall 2024.
Late last month AKC’s Sheila Goffe provided a briefing to Congressional staff on the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), its current requirements, and impact on dog ownership. The AKC also created a one pager on Understanding the Facts of Dog Breeding Laws to further comprehension of what laws are already in place. AKC GR also published the latest In Session newsletter, featuring Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida.
And not only is involvement important for the AKC’s Government Relations department, but it is critical for its nearly 5000 clubs to get involved. As the dog subject matter experts in their communities, club members are best positioned to influence elected officials on dog-related legislation and laws. Cutting through the noise created by non-experts can be a challenge, but AKC has developed some tried-and-true tips to make advocacy easy.
In this issue, you will also find a legislative overview of the first six months of 2023, with examples of the many ways club members, federations, and breeders worked to educate lawmakers so far this year. These, and many more articles, may be found in this issue of Taking Command.