It’s no secret that across the country, at all levels of government, anti-breeder and animal rights groups are pushing legislation that undermines ownership and breeding of purebred dogs. AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) works hard to track legislation of importance and advocate on behalf of clubs, breeders, hobbyists and sportsmen. However, the biggest influence on legislators and local government officials comes directly from their own constituents.
To call you to actions on critical issues, keep you informed of important matters, or bring you up to date on the current status of our efforts, AKC GR issues legislative alerts and informational updates to help and guide you in your individual efforts to advocate with your elected officials on behalf of your dogs, your breeding program, and the sport.
How do I receive notifications from AKC GR?
If you are a member of an AKC club, make sure your local club and national parent club has a designated Legislative Liaison. Legislative Liaisons (LLs) are a crucial link between the AKC GR team and clubs. LLs are typically appointed by their club, and they serve as a direct information channel between clubs/ club members and AKC GR. One of the most important things they do is simply to receive action alert emails from AKC GR and forward them to their club members. LLs have direct access to the AKC GR professional staff and are the first to receive information from AKC GR about legislative issues. They are also encouraged to follow local news and events and to let AKC GR know about potential issues of concern for dog owners in their communities.
An active legislative liaison in your club is most effective way to be sure you are receiving timely notifications. This person should have a valid email address and be willing to check it at least daily and quickly forward information to all fellow club members.
If you are not a club member, you can sign up to receive notifications through our RSS feed.
What types of communications are sent?
In general, AKC GR sends three types of emails on legislative activity: action alerts, informational communications, and legislative updates.
Action alerts are sent out to urge you to contact your legislator or locally elected to voice your position on legislation or a pending action. Depending on how quickly a vote may take place, the alert will contain phrases like: Call Today; Take Action Now; Express Concerns; Let Your Voice Be Heard; and Contact Your Representative or any similar language that encourages calling, writing, or emailing your elected officials, attending a meeting to show support or opposition to an issue, or making comments about the issue. When issued, an action alert will contain:
- A brief description of the legislation or pending action and when it is scheduled for a vote, hearing, or meeting.
- Requested action to be taken – voice opposition, support, or request amendments.
- Talking points to support the requested action or AKC’s position.
- Contact information for those official to be contacted prior to a vote.
Action alerts are issued as timely as possible but given how quickly some legislative bodies act (in some cases it can be even less than a day), you should always be prepared to take immediate action and to share the messages with your family, friends, club members, and follow dog lovers and encourage them to do the same.
Informational communications are sent out to provide awareness of bills introduced or scheduled for hearings, but no urgent action is needed. Typically, AKC is not taking an official position on bills in informational communications. As the name suggests, they are purely to provide information on bills that may be of interest to dog owners, hobbyists, or breeders. The communication may likely contain:
- A brief description of the proposal, meeting, hearing, or comment submission deadline.
- Any useful background information related to the item including dates, times, and locations.
- Contact information for pertinent lawmakers should you choose to take action.
Finally, legislative updates are sent out to update you on the current status or outcome of an alert item. Additionally, update alerts are sent out at the end of a particular state’s legislative session to provide a summary of the session and outcome of legislation that AKC GR was monitoring during the session. Along with providing the update, these alerts may contain:
- An update on legislative activity on a specific bill.
- A summary of what impacts, if any, the update could have on responsible dog owners, breeders, and their dogs.
- Contact information of those whom it may be appropriate to thank for either supporting passage, helping to defeat any measure, or working to provide favorable amendments to the legislation.
For more resources to assist you in advocating to protect the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders and advance our breeds and our sports, visit the Legislative Action Center (www.akcgr.org).