Stay ahead of anti-dog legislation—four things your AKC club can do TODAY

2018-08-24 | , American Kennel Club

“Breed bans. Limit Laws. Mandatory spay/neuter. Breeding Restrictions and Regulations. Anti-cropping and docking laws. At every turn, it seems responsible dog owners face more and more restrictions on how they can interact with and enjoy their canine companions.”

This stark message appeared in a recent email from Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President Government Relations, to AKC club presidents, delegates, and corresponding secretaries. She urged every club to update their Legislative Liaison’s contact information or to appoint a Legislative Liaison if the club does not already have someone in that important role.

  1. Appointing, equipping, and backing up your club’s Legislative Liaison is a first step in staying ahead of anti-dog measures. Legislation can move in hours; therefore, a Legislative Liaison’s most important job is to promptly distribute AKC legislative alerts to fellow club members. Clubs should make sure that their Legislative Liaison (LL) is equipped to receive and quickly forward email messages from AKC Government Relations (AKC GR). 

Also, ask your club secretary or membership chair to regularly provide an updated member contact list to your LL that includes your members’ correct email addresses. To make your LLs role easier, format the emails in a list that can easily be cut and pasted. Some clubs may instruct their LLs to send emails as BCC (blind copy, so that the email addresses for each recipient are not visible). No matter how your club chooses to forward messages, be sure your LL has what they need to quickly forward time-sensitive information.

Your club may wish to consider forming a Legislative Committee to share responsibilities during busy legislative sessions or when hot issues are in play. Rapid communication is essential, especially when our rights to own, breed, and exhibit dogs are at risk.

Click here to learn more about how LLs—and club Legislative Committees—can take action on anti-dog legislation and support positive measures.  If you have questions or need a copy of the LL update form, please contact Melissa Ferrell, AKC Government Relations Research Analyst, at

  1. As you know, AKC registers dogs, not people. Because few dogs have email accounts or good keyboarding skills, it can be a challenge to reach dog OWNERS to provide information and updates about issues that affect our rights to own, exhibit, and breed dogs.

Communication from AKC GR is emailed to your LL and to additional club officials using the email addresses from your club-submitted officer lists—the information that your club provides to If these lists are not current or the email addresses are out of date, your club may not receive legislative alerts.

Many legislative alerts are sent geographically. Information about local legislation is usually sent to LLs and club officers in the affected city or county. Information and alerts with broader geographic impact are sent to the entire state and to Parent Clubs that may have members in the area.

AKC GR counts on club officers—and specifically your club’s Legislative Liaison—to quickly send this information on to your club members and to encourage them to act.Please update your officer contact information today to ensure that you receive legislative alerts for your geographic area.

  1. If you are a club officer or LL and you aren’t getting emails from AKC GR, let us know!  You may have fallen off the contact list or been unsubscribed. First, double check that your club’s officer contact information is current with AKC and update it if necessary. Next, send a message to to advise AKC GR that you are not receiving our emails. Include your current email address.

Please note that if you have unsubscribed from any email communication sent by AKC, it also may have unsubscribed you from getting emails from AKC GR. Likewise, if you forwarded a message to someone who then clicked “unsubscribe”, that person may have unsubscribed you from the mailing list as well. A good way to avoid this glitch is to copy and paste AKC alerts into a new email before you send them on to your contacts.

You can also view AKC legislative and informational alerts online at and at

  1. There are more than 39,000 local governments in the United States! AKC GR’s legislative tracking program provides information on federal and state legislation, but not on local measures. We rely on YOU to contact us when you hear about local discussions and proposals regarding canine policy, animal control regulations, and canine legislation

You can advise your AKC GR regional representative about local issues, or send a message to or call 919-816-3720. The information you provide will be forwarded to the person who primarily works on that area. 

Don’t wait! Every dog owner—whether an AKC club member or not—who hears about pending local canine legislation is urged to send a message to It’s better for us to hear about it more than once than to not hear about it at all!  Let us know about potentially problematic issues and also about good legislation that local dog owners may wish to support. 

Many states have excellent AKC-affiliated federations – groups that work together on canine legislation issues.  Include them in your communications about local issues that affect dogs and dog owners in your state. 

To recap, here are four things your club can do TODAY to help stay up-to-date on canine legislation:

  1. Appoint, equip, and enable a Legislative Liaison for your club, and back up that person. Contact if you need assistance.
  2. Update your club’s officer list and contact information at
  3. Let AKC GR know if your club officers and Legislative Liaison are not getting AKC legislative alerts by sending a message to
  4. Quickly advise AKC GR at when local canine legislation is discussed or introduced in your county or city.

For assistance, information, and to share your great ideas, please contact AKC GR at or 919-816-3720. 


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