A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — January 2016

This issue of Taking Command reviews major issues and emerging trends in legislation. Among other developments, an increasing number of proposed laws seek to establish arbitrary dog care requirements that are not based on scientific criteria or accepted animal husbandry practices.

For example, some states and communities have proposed laws that would require owners to provide dogs with “constant and unfettered access” to an outdoor enclosure. Others are doing the exact opposite, making it a crime to leave a dog outdoors unattended, even in a safe enclosure with shade, water, other animals as companions, and a snug dog house.

2015 Legislative Year in Review

In 2015, AKC Government Relations (GR) tracked more than more than 1,700 federal, state and local bills, as well as a variety of regulations at the state and federal levels. The GR team is already tracking a number of pre-filed bills, early session, and carry-over bills for the 2016 legislative sessions.

Click below to view analyses of major issues and emerging trends in legislation:

Additional details are available on the AKC Government Relations Legislative Action Center.


A new law was signed in New York that allows domestic violence victims to bring their service or therapy dogs with them to an emergency shelter.

The AKC was proud to support this important legislation. Victims of domestic violence are in a vulnerable and frightening situation, and the practical assistance and comfort that a service/therapy animal provides can be essential.


In 2015, numerous new laws passed around the country that were supported by the AKC and will benefit dogs and dog owners. Here are some highlights.


New York’s four-legged finest are now officially representing the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that names the “working dog” as the official New York state dog.

All breeds trained to provide a service are celebrated in this law, from the German Shepherd Dog that stands guard at Grand Central to the Belgian Malinois that patrols with police to the sweet Golden Retriever that leads his visually impaired owner around the city to the many more working dogs around the state.

Legislative Information and Updates

Each year, thousands of dog-related laws and regulations are proposed at the federal, state, and local levels. Congress, 33 state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session.

Visit the 2016 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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