It’s a new year and legislatures in all 50 states are – or will soon be – in session and deliberating on bills on a broad range of issues.
Already, AKC Government Relations has seen several hundred bills across the country with the potential to impact dog owners and breeders – and we need your help to be a voice for your dogs and breeding program!
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) reaches out to legislators and works to educate them on the impact of bills on dogs and breeders. However, the most effective voice is yours: A breeder in their state/community who will be directly impacted by the legislation.
Unfortunately, animal-related bills are often written and introduced by those with little knowledge and understanding of animal care and breeding. Often, lawmakers will hear about a concern in the community and want to “fix it.” Also, animal rights activists will approach them with ideas and convince them it will make a positive difference for dogs. However, these bills are often flawed and based more on emotion than science or knowledge of animal husbandry. This is why it is essential that your lawmakers hear from you – the real dog experts right in their community.
Here are a few simple things you can do today to make a difference for your dogs and breeding programs:
- Introduce yourself to your elected representatives. We recommend reaching out to both your state legislators and county/city officials. Let them know before bills are introduced that you are a constituent, a responsible dog breeder in their community, and a resource for them if they have questions. You can use AKC’s sample introduction letter as a template.
- Make sure you are signed up for AKC’s legislative alerts. AKC Government Relations sends out legislative alerts when we need you to take action on legislation. AKC legislative alerts provide you a summary of the bill, talking points, and information on how to contact the appropriate lawmakers. You can sign up here.
- Watch your local media and monitor your local government’s website for proposals that could impact dog owners. (Then, contact AKC Government Relations if you hear about issues of concern). The AKC GR team does not not have the ability to track every county and local government across the country, and often local proposals are the ones that have the most immediate and direct impact on you and your breeding program or kennel. We often learn about local proposals from dog owners like you who are following local news. Unfortunately, when it comes to local issues, if we do not hear from local constituents, we may not hear about it until after a measure has passed.
Likewise, when you hear a story about a cruelty situation, dog attack, or other issue regarding dogs, there is the possibility this can spawn new legislative proposals. Reach out to AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 816-3720. We can help you review proposals, develop talking points, and reach out to lawmakers.
- Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and share our resources with lawmakers. The AKC Legislative Action Center (akcgr.org) has a broad range of sharable resources to help educate lawmakers about the value of responsible breeders, talking points on specific legislative issues, brief videos to explain complex issues, and the economic impact of AKC on each state – just to name a few! Visit the Key Issues and Toolbox sections of the website and share relevant information along with your personalized messages to help lawmakers better understand how policy can impact dogs and responsible breeders.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you are not alone! The AKC Government Relations team is here for you and ready to partner with you to be an effective voice for you and your dogs. Together, we will fight for effective and reasonable solutions to protect your breeding program for years to come!