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What’s New in GR March 2021

What’s New in GR March 2021

March came in like a lion and continues to roar for the American Kennel Club’s Government Relations department (AKC GR). The GR team is currently tracking over 2,000 pieces of legislation and has sent out a record number of alerts to ensure that your rights as a dog owner, breeder, and fancier are not infringed upon.

We are so grateful for your calls, emails, and posts on social media. 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, the GR team is most successful when we partner with dog owners who also reach out to their legislators as constituents. Your involvement is vital to preserving the rights of responsible individuals to choose, breed, own, properly care for, and assure the future of our beloved dogs.

This month, AKC GR had the opportunity to table at two dog shows – The Tarheel Cluster in Raleigh, NC and the Country Music Cluster in Shelbyville, TN. Showing our presence is vital for ensuring you have the most up-to-date information and materials.

Because the pandemic has dramatically decreased our face-to-face and hand-to-hand contact, the department has relied on alternative methods to passing out brochures and handouts. AKC Government Relations has utilized posters displaying QR codes of our various handouts to reduce reliance on paper and other physical materials. Visitors to the AKC GR booth could talk with staff, or stop briefly, maintain social distancing, and simply hover their cell phone cameras over QR codes to download the materials they wished to view, save, or send on.

We know how important it is to ensure you are informed and stocked with the latest educational materials. It is when people feel comfortable with their arsenal of materials, are they able to ensure their local press, law enforcement authorities, and policymakers are aware of the tremendous knowledge and value their AKC club brings to the community!  To help with this, we have unveiled a new, one-page informational handout specifically for lawmakers to highlight the work of AKC and local clubs. We encourage you to share this document to help introduce you, your club, and AKC to your lawmakers.

As we go through this legislative session, we want to honor those advocates, legislators, and communities who have made a significant difference for dog owners.  This month, we honored Massachusetts Rep. Tackey Chan as legislator of the year. If you know of a policymaker or club member deserving of a legislative award, nominate them for one of the awards offered by AKC GR.

Finally, a new study published backs concerns from the AKC Detection Dog Task Force about over-reliance on foreign-sourced dogs being placed as Government Working Dogs (GWD), yet there remain issues with domestic sourcing.  Check out the recent articles on this issue and learn how you can join AKC in addressing this significant need in our country.

As always, if you hear of an issue in your state or community that affects responsible dog ownership, please let us know. AKC GR can assist you with outreach — please contact