A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — March 2016

Primary elections across the U.S. are narrowing the list of candidates who will be on the ballot on Election Day, November 8. To preserve the future of purebred dogs, it’s important to identify dog-friendly candidates and use your vote to elect those who will protect the rights of responsible dog owners, exhibitors and breeders. Here are four steps that every dog owner should take during the 2016 election cycle.

  1. Make sure your voter registration is up-to-date, and consider hosting a voter registration drive at an upcoming dog show or event.
  2. Find out where, when, and how to vote — including absentee and early voting options. Check on current requirements for proof of identity.
  3. Become an educated voter – identify and support those candidates who respect your rights as a responsible dog owner.
  4. Mark your calendar for the upcoming elections, then get out and vote!

Here are some ways to determine if a candidate will work to protect your rights as a dog owner.

Senator Tom Cullerton, Illinois State Capitol Police Investigator Steven Speaks, and his police dog Quinn. Photo © Illinois Senate Democrat Staff. Used with permission.
AKC Illinois Federation Works with State Senate to Support Retired Police Dogs

A bill is moving through the Illinois Senate that will allow retired police dogs to be adopted by the officer or employee who had custody of the dog during its service.

“As a dog owner myself, I recognize there is a special connection formed between an officer and their dog,” bill sponsor Senator Tom Cullerton said in a press release. “It’s important that we honor this relationship and give retiring police dogs a loving home.”

This bill was presented to Senator Cullerton by the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners, AKC’s official state federation for Illinois, who worked together last year on a bill that created new requirements for shelters to help lost dogs get home more quickly.


AKC Government Relations now has information available on the economic impact of dog shows in each state in 2015.  This information, downloadable by state, helps demonstrate to legislators a tangible reason to support dog shows, fanciers and breeders.

To view this information, visit the Government Relations Toolbox and scroll down to “Economic Impact of Dog Shows”, or go to the AKC Legislative Action Center and check out the home page or click on the “GR Toolbox” tab. 

While there, be sure to check out the many tools and resources available to help you be effective advocates!

Legislative Information and Updates

Each year, thousands of dog-related laws and regulations are proposed at the federal, state, and local levels. To date this year, AKC GR has been monitoring more than 1,800 measures at the state, local and federal levels that could impact dog owners. Thirty-three state legislatures are currently in regular session. Washington is in special 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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