A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — September 2015

Think back a moment. How did you first get involved in dogs? For most people, dog ownership began with a beloved pet. Dog shows and trials, club memberships, breeding and other dog-related activities came later. But first came that fuzzy pup or adult dog—the one that awakened a deep love for dogs that has endured.

This love of dogs is celebrated each September at AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days held across the United States. Members of AKC clubs, experienced dog owners, trainers, and breeders volunteer their time to share information about dog care and to invite others to join in the fun and excitement of AKC dog events. To help increase this educational outreach, AKC GR now offers a Spanish language flyer on responsible dog ownership.


An estimated 4,000 dog lovers attended the 2015 AKC RDO Day on September 19 in Raleigh, North Carolina to meet dogs of different breeds and learn about dog care, safety around dogs, and exciting canine activities. AKC Government Relations staff provided information about responsible dog ownership and updates on legislation that affects dog owners.

Earlier that week in a ceremony at City Hall, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane proclaimed September 19th as AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day. A copy of the proclamation was proudly displayed at the GR booth. State Senator Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. greeted constituents again this year at RDO Day and toured the event with AKC Government Relations Director Sheila Goffe.

Raleigh RDO Day activities included breed booths and parades; AKC Canine Good Citizen® tests, AKC’s My Dog Can Do That!; action-packed dog sport demos; face painting and activities for kids; a microchipping clinic; and booths hosted by local kennel clubs, rescue organizations and vendors.


A new and updated one-page Economic Benefits of AKC Dog Events flyer is now available in the AKC Government Relations Toolbox. This is an excellent tool to provide to community leaders and lawmakers to demonstrate a tangible reason why they should support AKC events and the breeders and dog owners who make these events happen.

The information contained in this new handout was summarized from a 2015 AKC survey that assessed the economic impact of AKC dog events in all regions of the U.S. The survey revealed that participants spend an average of $685 per trip in communities that host AKC events, and provides additional data about the significant economic contributions of AKC dog events.

The handout may be downloaded by clicking here, or by visiting the AKC Government Relations Toolbox and scrolling down to “Economic Impact of Dog Shows."


The American Kennel Club’s Government Relations department is pleased to announce that one of our most popular materials, Be Your Dog’s Best Friend…And a Good Neighbor, is now available in Spanish.

Download both the English and Spanish versions of this flyer for Responsible Dog Ownership Days, public education events, school presentations, and other outreach opportunities.


The AKC Board of Directors recently discussed problematic new “pet leasing” schemes in which prospective owners make hefty monthly payments for a pet, but may never receive legal ownership of their pet. In response to this disturbing trend, the American Kennel Club has updated the AKC Canine Legislation Position Statement on Protection for Puppy Purchasers to include the following statement:

AKC supports a ban on predatory pet leasing schemes that victimize potential owners, undermine a lifetime commitment to a pet, and do not confer the rights and responsibilities associated with legal ownership of a pet.

The Board acted after observing a rising trend in the leasing of pets in which an owner pays a monthly fee for a pet over a multiple-year term. Even after paying many times the value of the pet, the lessee may not own the animal.


On September 1, the New York state Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) declined to hear appeals in cases aimed to free two chimpanzees held privately in New York.

The cases were brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project, an animal rights group, which argued that the chimps displayed characteristics similar to humans and therefore should be granted basic human rights, including protections against unlawful imprisonment.

Honor Your Dog-Friendly Lawmaker with a 2015 Legislator of the Year Award

It’s time again to recognize state legislators and Congressional representatives who support responsible dog owners and breeders. Has your state or federal elected official taken a stand to protect responsible dog ownership? Here’s a way to express your appreciation.

Nominate a deserving legislator for the James S. Holt Memorial Award for the Promotion of Responsible Dog Ownership in Legislation. This award, also known as the “Legislator of the Year” award, is a wonderful way to recognize lawmakers who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership and breeding, the well-being of all dogs, and the advancement of dogs in your community or state.

We depend on you—individuals, AKC club members, and federations—to identify, nominate, and present awards to deserving legislators. The AKC selects honorees from among the nominations received and provides official AKC “Legislator of the Year” rosette awards for you to present to your representative at dog shows/trials, public education events, Responsible Dog Ownership Days, or a location of their choice.

This award is an excellent way for you, as constituents, to honor the legislators you work with and build on your existing relationships. For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.


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 that could impact dogs and dog owners. Congress, 10 state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular 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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