A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department
A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — July 2016

What’s New from AKC Government Relations


As this edition of Taking Command goes to press, the AKC Government Relations Department is preparing for our biennial legislative conference this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. More than 80 participants representing clubs and federations from around the nation will participate in two days of networking, advocacy training and development. Stay tuned for reports on this exciting program in next month’s issue.

We are also excited to be working with Congress to pass a resolution establishing a National Purebred Dog Day to celebrate the importance and value of purebred dogs. You can learn more about Senate Resolution 447 in the federal legislative updates in this issue, as well as our Summer issue of In Session, AKC GR’s Congressional newsletter, which is now available online.

Congresswoman Lujan Grisham and her Shih Tzu “Kiwi”. Photo © Office of Congresswoman Lujan Grisham. Used with permission.

Everyone loves a happy ending. And some of the most heartwarming are those of lost dogs being reunited with their owners. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico knows this personally through the incredible story of her Shih Tzu “Kiwi”—a story she described as “a sad experience that had the best ending ever.”

“[A few years ago], Kiwi got scared [over] some fireworks in the neighborhood and ran away,” she explained. “I was in the middle of my second campaign for Congress, and I dropped everything to look for her. She didn’t return and I was heartbroken.”

Thirteen months later, this story took an amazing turn.


On July 18, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service launched a new web site intended to help international travelers easily determine travel requirements for pets. The site, called APHIS Pet Travel, provides up-to-date information and import requirements for over 130 countries and territories, including required time frames for obtaining a health certificate, updating vaccinations, diagnostic testing, and administration of medications/treatments for those dogs traveling to other countries.

The California Federation of Dog Clubs presented the AKC’s Dog Friendly City Award to the Whittier Mayor and Council.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is pleased to announce that Whittier, California has been awarded the AKC’s Dog Friendly City Award in recognition of their support of responsible dog owners and breeders in the city. The California Federation of Dog Clubs was able to formally present this award to Mayor Vinatieri as well as Councilmembers Fernando Dutra and Josue Alvarado at the city’s new dog park.

The Whittier City Council worked closely with the American Kennel Club’s federation, the California Federation of Dog Clubs (CFoDC), in 2015 to approve an ordinance which protects responsible dog owners.

New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs President Jeff Ball meets with legislators in Trenton.
Video Provides a Look Inside New Jersey Federation’s Lobby/Educational Day

In late June, the AKC Government Relations team joined members of the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs (NJFDC) for their annual lobby day at the state capitol in Trenton. A new video provides a glimpse into the message, hard work and accomplishments of that day.

Federation members brought several dogs to help meet and greet legislators, set up information booths at the capitol building, met with their legislators throughout the day, and attended a hearing.

Last week the Oregon Supreme Court handed down a decision in Oregon v. Newcomb regarding the relationship between animal cruelty and a dog’s legal status as personal property. The court allowed a blood sample, taken from a dog seized without its owner’s permission, to be admitted into evidence. The dog was seized after an animal cruelty investigator visited the owner’s home and determined there was probable cause to charge the owner with second degree animal neglect.

More significantly, the Court declared that dogs are not ‘mere property’, but are sentient beings that occupy a special position in people’s hearts and in the law; and even criticized current Oregon law for not correctly reflecting modern roles pets play. While the decision is certainly legally provocative, it may not be quite the landmark that activists are describing.

Patty Van Sicklen represented AKC Government Relations at the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Southern Legislative reception.
AKC Government Relations Co-Hosts Southern Legislative Reception

AKC Government Relations co-hosted a policy reception with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) and the Kentucky Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus on July 11, 2016 at the annual meeting of the Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference in Lexington, KY.

Senator Robin Webb, NASC Executive Council President, urged legislators, state fish and wildlife agency agencies, and sportsmen’s organizations to work together to protect and advance sporting traditions.

Patty Van Sicklen, AKC Legislative Analyst, provided educational materials and discussed issues that impact owners and breeders of hunting and sporting dogs. Representatives of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation spoke with attendees about policy issues and provided sportsmen’s economic impact information.

AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day Returns for its 14th Year—Host an Event!

The American Kennel Club is gearing up for the 14th annual AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days (AKC RDO Days) this summer and fall when hundreds of clubs and dog organizations around the country will host free events to educate the public about the responsibilities and unlimited joys of dog ownership.

“AKC RDO Day is a great way for current and would-be dog owners to share knowledge, have fun, and celebrate the unconditional love we receive from our canine companions,” said AKC President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung. “Each year, the AKC invites its more than 5,000 affiliated dog clubs – and all other pet-related organizations -- to educate the public in their community. We thank those who join us year after year and encourage organizations that have not yet held an event to step up to the challenge in 2016.” 

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 2016 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 2,000 measures that could impact dog owners. Six state legislatures are currently in regular session, Utah and Hawaii are in special session, and bills have been prefiled for 2017 in three states.

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 U.S.
State — issues specific to your state
Local/Other— issues at the city, county, and metropolitan levels, and in U.S. territories

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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