A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — July 2015

With growing momentum, dog owners across the country are challenging anti-breeder and anti-dog ownership rhetoric with facts, science-based evidence, and good old common sense. Lawmakers are learning that the most accurate and reliable information about dog ownership, care, and breeding comes from experienced breeders, trainers and exhibitors rather than angry protestors, misleading petitions, and animal rights lobbyists.

Photo by Mary Bloom.

Dog lovers all over the U.S. have reason to celebrate news from the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), which recently concluded one of the most in-depth studies of shelter data yet, and found that the number of dogs entering U.S. shelters has dropped to new lows. Digging deeper into the matter, NAIA also learned that only about three percent of dogs in our country’s shelters are purebreds.

The study paints a new picture of the current state of shelters, often perceived as overcrowded dumping grounds for unwanted and indiscriminately-bred animals. In fact, many of today’s shelters must turn to overseas sources to fill a growing demand for rescue dogs, relying on a widespread but little known importation practice called “relocation”.


The American Kennel Club is pleased to present the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs (VFDC) with the Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation in recognition of their effective coalition-building and educational outreach on behalf of Vermont dogs and dog owners.

VFDC members work in cooperation with other animal, agricultural and veterinary organizations to support positive legislation to protect dogs and the rights of dog owners and to amend or defeat problematic bills. Recommendations from the VFDC have been included in measures to clarify statutes governing animal control, welfare, and sales in the state.


An October 2010 list published by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) called “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen” included the kennel of Mary Ann Smith. The list, which purportedly listed, “some of the worst licensed kennels in the state,” was part of a public relations campaign designed in some measure to urge voter support of Missouri Proposition B, a 2010 ballot initiative that sought to limit the number of dogs a person could own.

Ms. Smith sued HSUS, claiming that their statements about her kennel were false, scandalous, and defamatory. The lower court dismissed the claims, but a state appellate court reversed that decision on June 29. The case has been remanded and will now be heard by the lower court.

Click for full-size image.

A groundbreaking shelter study released by the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) reveals that U.S. animal shelters are reporting an all-time low in the number of purebred dogs available.

The study finds that only about five percent of the dogs available in U.S. shelters are purebred; a significant departure from the 25% figure commonly assumed. If pit bulls (a commonly misidentified dog) and Chihuahuas (which are the leading import dog for relocation programs) are removed from the purebred total the percentage drops to closer to 3%. 

The New York Pet Welfare Association (NYPWA) filed a complaint against New York City and its City Council in the U.S District Court, Eastern District of NY, over a new law governing how pet stores may source the pets they sell. City pet stores received a temporary injunction from the new law, which had been due to go into effect on June 1.

The NYPWA is an association of pet stores, dog and cat breeders, veterinarians, pet owners and others whose mission includes ensuring that pet owners continue to have access to healthy, humanely raised, purebred pets.


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, 12 state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. Alabama 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.

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