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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many states are shutting down all but what they deem to be essential services and businesses – and AKC is asking for your help in ensuring our dogs continue to get the supplies and services they need and deserve.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) joined this week with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and other animal industry and pet care leaders to urge government officials to help ensure the well-being of animals and their owners by allowing businesses that provide products and services for the care of pets to continue to operate during the COVID-19 response.  Dennis Sprung, AKC President/CEO, along with more than 780 pet care professionals from across the U.S., sent an open letter to federal, state, and local government officials asking that pet service and supply stores be listed as essential retailers that are exempt from mandatory closures.

“During this extraordinary time, we are challenged to care for our families, neighbors and friends. Our dogs are part of this community.  Whether they are pets or service animals, dogs provide remarkable benefits and support to their owners, especially amid uncertainty.  For the continued well-being of these animals and their owners, we must have access to pet foods, supplies, and services that may not otherwise be available.  The AKC is proud to join with other representatives of the pet care community in asking governments to exempt from closure these essential businesses,” said Sprung.

How You Can Help:

AKC asks concerned pet owners to join us in communicating this important request.

If you live in IL, PA, CA, NJ or WA: No action is necessary; officials have already indicated that they will consider pet suppliers as critical business for the purpose of remaining open.

If you live in CT, OR: We urge you to contact your legislators as soon as possible. We understand decisions regarding closures could be made as soon as Sunday, March 22.

If you live in NY: A close order, which does not specifically exempt pet product suppliers, has just been made by the Governor. You may wish to respectfully urge your legislators to encourage the Governor to reconsider allowing pet suppliers to remain open.

We ask all concerned pet owners to contact your own state legislators and governor and ask them to declare that businesses that provide products and services for the care of pets be declared essential businesses.

Please respectfully tell them:

  • You are a constituent,
  • Share the role your pets play in your family – especially during times of uncertainty such as these, and
  • Explain how important it is for owners to be able to care for their pets, keeping in mind that not all pet products may be available in grocery stores.

Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and type your address into the “Find Your Elected Officials” box on the home page to find the contact information for both of your state legislators and your governor, and reach out to them TODAY.

AKC Government Relations continues to closely monitor all changing and evolving legislative issues during this pandemic.  For the latest information, visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center at