The American Kennel Club (AKC) has become increasingly aware of anecdotes where radical animal rights activists have targeted individual dog breeders or enthusiasts with harassment, slander or retaliation. In some cases, these incidents appear to relate an individual’s participation in the political process, such as testifying at legislative hearings or working on legislation to protect their rights as dog owners, enthusiasts or breeders.
Part of AKC’s mission includes working to protect the rights of dog owners. AKC breeders and enthusiasts are experts on dogs and are an invaluable resource for their communities. "Whether testifying at hearings, speaking out in defense of responsible dog breeding, or engaging with the public on positive canine activities, their voice is crucial to the future of responsible dog ownership -- and our breeds. We value those efforts enormously and will not stand idly by as they come under attack, said Sheila Goffe, Vice President, Government Relations.”
AKC believes it’s vitally important to assemble data and develop a better understanding of how extremists use harassment as a weapon against responsible dog owners and breeders, particularly if it’s concurrent with proposed breeder legislation or in specific geographic “hot spots”.
To this end, the AKC has created the Task Force on Anti-Breeder Harassment and Retaliation. Comprised of representatives from multiple AKC departments, its focus is creating a centralized incident tracking database of reports of harassment; conveying information to potential future targets; and providing resources to help those who suspect they are being targeted, along with tips on how to avoid becoming a target in the first place.
Staff from AKC GR introduced the new resources in a webinar for legislative liaisons and club leaders on August 20. (Click here for a presentation pdf.)
AKC is seeking reports and research on harassment of dog breeders to develop a better understanding of how extremists use harassment as a weapon against responsible dog owners and breeders, and to provide expanded and improved resources for dog breeders and enthusiasts, policymakers, and the public at large.
To learn more or view the Anti-Breeder Harassment and Retaliation website, visit AKCGR.org/akc.harassment