A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — August 2015

Do your local lawmakers view AKC clubs and their members as knowledgeable, valued community resources?  Do they contact you first when considering changes to dog policy in your city or county? 

Effective canine advocates get to know their elected and appointed officials on all levels of government before issues arise, and they are at the forefront when laws and regulations affecting dog owners are discussed. They establish their credibility by being involved in the community and are always professional, trustworthy, and prepared with valid, reliable information.


The fact-filled AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) table was once again one of the most popular stops at the 2015 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), held this year in Seattle, Washington. Melissa Ferrell, GR Research Coordinator, and Jennifer Clark, Canine Legislation Manager, met and provided information to legislators and staff from nearly every state.

AKC GR has been a part of this annual event for 19 years and is regarded as one of the most popular booths at the conference. Many lawmakers stopped by to discuss specific legislative questions and to get AKC’s insights and input on issues affecting dog owners. Others shared their dogs’ photos and stories, and one representative proudly talked about his new litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies.


AKC GR is pleased to offer a new educational video, All Politics Is Local—Tips for Successful Canine Advocacy. This presentation by Mike Houchard of the Conyers Kennel Club discusses how to establish credibility and effectively communicate with legislators and policymakers in local communities. Learn key questions to ask when a new ordinance, rule or policy is discussed and how you can get involved in the lawmaking process.

AKC clubs and federations are encouraged to share our new video and the accompanying handout at meetings and public education events. This video, and other AKC GR presentations, can be played online or saved to your hard drive or DVD/CD for presentation to an audience.

Be sure to visit the GR Toolbox often for the latest materials you can use for canine advocacy and to help educate others about the importance of promoting and protecting responsible dog ownership, breeding, and events.

Photo © AKC Reunite.

Thousands of Illinois pet owners will now have a better chance of being reunited with their beloved pets thanks to House Bill 4029, which was signed into law recently by Governor Bruce Rauner. The Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners (IFDCO), AKC’s official Illinois state federation, worked with key sponsor Senator Thomas Cullerton to initiate the legislation, which requires animal shelters and rescue groups to scan intake animals for a microchip multiple times before releasing the animal. This extends the provisions of SB1632, which required the same procedure of animal control facilities. The American Kennel Club was proud to support both of these measures, which help reunite lost pets with their owners.

Click for full-size image.

Question: What do these dog owners have in common?

  • Owners who hike and camp with their dogs
  • Owners in residential developments with architectural and fencing restrictions
  • Disabled and blind owners
  • Owners of working, herding, hunting, field trial and sled dogs
  • Owners of escape-artist dogs

Answer: These and other good dog owners may choose to utilize tethering to provide their dogs with exercise and keep them safe.

Providing dogs with secure housing, exercise, playtime, and socialization is a concern for all owners. In recent years, tethering as a method of confinement for dogs has become a controversial topic, and numerous legislative proposals to ban or restrict tethering have been introduced in response to requests by anti-tethering activists and animal rights groups.

Few U.S. dog owners would be surprised to hear that federal law prohibits bringing a dog into the United States from countries that are not rabies-free, unless it is fully immunized against the disease. But if you live near a border and travel across borders on a regular basis, it can be easy to forget this rule. And doing so could land you and your puppy in a world of trouble.

A year ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidance clarifying federal regulatory requirements for importing dogs from countries that are not rabies-free. The guidance reinforced that existing federal law requires that all dogs brought into the United States from rabies-positive countries be fully immunized against rabies and accompanied by a valid certificate of vaccination.


The latest edition of In Session, AKC Government Relations’ newsletter for members of Congress and their staff, is now available online. In Session discusses national issues impacting canine policy, provides issue analyses/white papers on issues of importance to dog owners, highlights a Capitol Hill canine, and provides updates on AKC and AKC club programs, good works and events.

Please consider printing current and previous issues of In Session and personally sharing them with your colleagues and your lawmakers.


The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to partner with state federations, dog clubs and concerned owners to protect the rights of dog owners. The tireless response of responsible breeders, owners and fanciers across the country truly makes a difference! Visit the 2015 Legislative Successes page to view examples of recent results of their good work.

Legislative Information and Updates

Each year, thousands of dog-related laws and regulations are proposed at the federal, state, and local levels. So far this year, AKC GR has been monitoring more than 1,600 measures at the state, local and federal levels that could impact dog owners. Congress, 11 state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. California is in special session.

Visit the 2015 Legislation Tracking page for the most up-to-date information on state and federal legislation. This site, updated each weekday, provides the latest bill text, status, and links to legislative alerts posted by the AKC.  Click on the links below to view highlights of issues that are being tracked by AKC Government Relations:

Federal— issues that may affect all dog owners in the US
State — issues specific to your state.
Local— issues at the city and county levels

Please contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org for more information or to let us know what’s happening in your local community.

Visit us at AKC.org


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