Form Strategic Alliances—Two More Things Your AKC Club Can Do TODAY

2018-09-13 | , American Kennel Club

There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you can rally to your cause, the better. ‒ Mark Shields, author and political commentator.

Our dogs work together at tasks and at play. Picture a team of Alaskan Malamutes pulling a sledge of firewood, a brace of Pointers intensely indicating game birds, Kuvasz guarding their flock, and even a litter of rowdy puppies playing tug-of-war with a sofa cushion.  By combining strength, smarts, and determination, dogs and dog advocates can accomplish more together than they can as individuals.

Successful grassroots advocates form strategic alliances with like-minded groups and work together on common issues. How can AKC clubs increase their impact and effectiveness by joining forces with other organizations? 

First, Identify your allies. There are individuals and groups—both small and large—that are working to preserve their rights to own and enjoy a variety of animal species. AKC clubs can take a leadership role to bring these individuals and groups together to join efforts in protecting the rights of all animal owners.

Reach out to pet owners and enthusiast groups. These may include cat fanciers, pet bird keepers and breeders, people who love pocket pets, and owners of reptiles and legal exotic animals.

Strong alliances can be formed with sportsmen who participate in and promote hunting, hiking, camping, and other activities with dogs. Sportsmen’s advocacy organizations are often willing to share information, contacts, and materials. They frequently work with AKC clubs, federations, and other groups to conduct outreach activities that advance the mutual goal of preserving and protecting the rights of animal owners.

Consider forming alliances with agricultural organizations that are often targeted by inflammatory animal rights-based propaganda. Like responsible dog owners and breeders, they share an interest in opposing legislation and regulations that are incorrectly based on emotion, false claims and hyperbole. The promotion of sound, science-based animal husbandry practices is a mutual goal for farmers and for dog owners and breeders.  

Work with pet industry professionals such as groomers, boarding kennel operators, trainers, and others who may be targeted by overreaching proposals. Bring to the table veterinarians who are knowledgeable about canine reproduction and who are familiar with reasonable, science-based standards for dog care.

Next, share mutually relevant communication with your allies. Include them in your grassroots outreach and copy them on your public-facing communication.  Sign up for their newsletters and alerts. Invite them to your meetings, and attend theirs. Work together to exchange information on issues that affect animals and animal owners in your state and community. Rally together to the cause. When appropriate, reciprocate and support your allies on their issues.

Working together with groups that share a common goal—or a common challenge—helps raise the profile, amplify the message, and increase the clout of all participating groups. 

These two steps regarding forming strategic alliances, when combined with four steps your AKC club can do to stay ahead of anti-dog legislation will empower your club and other animal advocates to stay better informed, to take action against problematic legislation, and to work together to support good measures that protect our animals and our rights. 

Let’s recap six steps your AKC club can take TODAY on behalf of the dogs we love:

  1. Appoint, equip, and enable a Legislative Liaison for your club, and back up that person. Contact melissa.ferrell@akc.org if you need assistance.
  1. Update your club’s officer list and contact information at event-ops@akc.org.
  1. Let AKC GR know if your club officers and Legislative Liaison are not getting AKC legislative alerts by sending a message to doglaw@akc.org.
  1. Quickly advise AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org when local canine legislation is discussed or introduced in your county or city.
  1. Identify your allies and form strategic alliances with like-minded groups, those who face similar challenges, and those who share common ideologies.
  1. Share mutually relevant communication with allies. Include them in your grassroots outreach. When appropriate, reciprocate and support your allies on their issues.

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

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