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Over the past year, the AKC and the purebred dog world have been the target of unprecedented threats. The prospects of unreasonable federal regulation and legislation are very real, and we continue to face similar challenges in state houses across the country. Biased and misleading media reporting influenced by radical animal rights groups are designed to undermine the AKC’s commitment to opposing their extreme anti-animal agenda and to preserving our proud history and the future of healthy, responsibly-bred and -owned purebred dogs.

Recently, the AKC issued a challenge to every club president and Delegate directly requesting that club leadership join the fight to protect our rights as responsible dog owners and breeders by supporting the AKC Canine Legislative Support during the 2013 Club President’s Challenge. The request is simple: challenge your member club to contribute at least $300 to the AKC Canine Legislative Support Fund (CLSF). (AKC Licensed clubs are asked to contribute at least $200.)

The role of the AKC Government Relations (GR) Department is educational and informational in nature. The Canine Legislative Support Fund provides resources that help AKC GR to expand that scope to include additional political advocacy and education initiatives.

Unlike the AKC Political Action Committee (AKC PAC), which provides campaign support for political candidates, the AKC CLSF focuses specifically on issue advocacy and education. The CLSF can accept funds from any person or group, and contributions can come directly from your club’s general funds.

AKC CLSF funds help underwrite the following activities:

  • Formal representation (lobbying) in Congress and key statehouses,
  • Educational programs for legislators and the public about responsible and fair policies for dog breeding and ownership,
  • The AKC GR Legislative Liaisons Conference. The next conference takes place in Raleigh, NC, January 25-26, 2014. The conference features top-tier speakers and educators who will provide tools and training for fighting back against animal rights extremists, working effectively with legislators and the media, effective political advocacy, using social media to advance responsible dog ownership, and taking the lead on dog-related community issues. It also provides an excellent opportunity for participants to network, share and learn from the experiences of other legislative liaisons and advocates from around the country.
  • Development and distribution of AKC GR online seminars/downloadable advocacy presentations,
  • Presentations and conference calls such as the September 2013 APHIS-AKC breeder conference call,
  • Legislator of the Year (Holt) Awards for your state and Congressional policymakers.
  • The Walter Bebout Award, which recognizes legislative leadership and helps defray costs for federations and owner/breeder organizations involved in advocacy to preserve the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders.

Starting this year, the AKC President’s Challenge to support the Canine Legislation Support Fund will take place only during odd-numbered years, allowing the AKC PAC to raise funds during election years.

Please ask your club(s) to support the AKC Canine Legislative Support Fund, and consider making your own donation to the fund and/or buying a ticket for the 2014 Westminster Getaway drawing to support the activities of the Canine Legislative Support Fund.

As published in Perspectives, the AKC Delegates’ Newsletter, Vol. 26, No. 4, December 2013.