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Did you know that the American Kennel Club recognizes over 40 state and local federations, coalitions, and alliances? These hardworking organizations are made up of AKC-affiliated clubs and other concerned individuals who are interested in protecting and promoting the world of purebred dogs. They understand that by joining forces, they can wield a powerful voice with legislators and other public officials.

Most federations have humble beginnings. An unfavorable ordinance is proposed, and a few purebred dog owners find themselves organizing on the steps of City Hall. Whether their grassroots campaign is a success or failure, the effort is often the impetus for forming a local or state federation. Over time, their experience and knowledge about canine issues becomes well-known and establishes them as a credible resource for elected officials-one whom legislators look to for input when drafting or voting on animal legislation.

Federations mark their achievements at many levels. Some successes are felt by entire communities who participate in these groups' public education programs. Other successes are felt by fanciers who continue to enjoy the right to breed or keep multiple dogs on their property as a result of the federation's local legislative efforts. In many instances, federations are able to affect state laws on issues where a single dog owner's or dog club's voice might have been lost.

Establishing and maintaining local and state federations takes time, patience and energy, but their existence is critical if we are to ensure that legislative initiatives dealing with dogs have a positive effect on the fancy. Consider joining these talented groups and organizing a federation in your state or county. To help you get started, the Canine Legislation department offers an information packet entitled “Organizing State Federations.” The packet can be obtained by contacting our department (doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720) or through AKC's Order Desk (orderdesk@akc.org or 919-233-9767) by requesting part number GLGK04. If a federation already exists in your area, check to see that your club is supporting their efforts.

Responsible dog owners and breeders deserve the right to enjoy their dogs and their sport. Legislators can't hear you however, if you don't speak up! Make your voice heard–support or establish an AKC-affiliated federation in your area today!

Did you know that the American Kennel Club recognizes over 40 state and local federations,…