A Publication of the AKC Government Relations Department — May 2015
 
What’s New from GR: AKC Introduces New Online Legislative Action Center
 

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) is pleased to announce the launch of the new online AKC Legislative Action Center (LAC). This microsite, designed by the AKC Government Relations Team and hosted by CQ Roll Call, Inc., was created to make it easier for dog lovers to learn more about and advocate on key legislative and regulatory issues that impact dogs and dog ownership. The site is accessible from the AKC.org homepage and from AKC’s GR webpages.

Some of the new features and tools are provided in response to your requests. Check out the orange tabs for Legislative Tracking, the GR Toolbox, recent Legislative Alerts, and Government Relations News and Blogs. You’ll also see educational and advocacy resources organized by issue, the AKC GR twitter feed, and a tab for supporting the efforts of the Canine Legislative Support Fund or AKC PAC.  There’s also a new search box where you can identify and get contact information for your federal and state representatives.

Selected alerts posted on the AKC Legislative Action Center homepage will include a tool that allows constituents to contact their representatives directly, using their choice of AKC GR talking points, and without having to leave the site. In the coming months, this feature will be made available through a mobile app.

The Legislative Action Center is integrated with AKC GR information found on the AKC.org website, where you can continue to access familiar resources such as the toolbox, state and federal bill tracking, newsletters, economic impact information, educational presentations and videos, position statements, and information about AKC Government Relations.

We invite you to view a brief welcome video and tutorial that will acquaint you this great new resource for dog advocates. Please contact the AKC GR team at doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720 with any questions.

 

Sidewalk cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining patios in New York may soon become dog-friendly if proposed legislation supported by the American Kennel Club becomes law. The New York Senate recently passed Senate Bill 4327, which would give food service establishments the option of allowing customers to bring their pet dogs onto outdoor dining areas.

Participating restaurants would be required to comply with a number of health and safety requirements, including providing a separate outdoor entrance for guests with dogs; prohibiting dogs from being on chairs, benches, seats and other fixtures; and following specific sanitation and cleaning procedures. Dogs must be under the control of the owner and either on a leash or in a pet carrier.

A bill to protect private property rights in North Carolina has been approved by the General Assembly, but not without a strong fight from animal rights groups.

House Bill 405, known as the “Property Protection Act”, would expand current law to hold a person liable for damages when they intentionally access a non-public area of someone else’s premises and “engage in an act that exceeds the person’s authority to enter those areas….” In other words, if someone accesses a private area of another person’s property without permission, they can be held liable for any damages.

 

In the most recent of several initiatives to recognize the canine-human bond and to protect pets and their owners, the American Kennel Club has announced strong support for federal legislation (HB 1258) that would protect the pets of victims of domestic violence.

The 2015 Pet and Women Safety Act (the 2015 "PAWS" act), sponsored by Congresswomen Katherine Clark and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, would amend current federal domestic violence protections to include pets in protection orders for human victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.

Rep. John Bradford greets "Beast", a retired AKC champion Great Dane. © Phil Guidry for AKC.
 

It was one of the busiest days of the legislative year in North Carolina, but that didn't stop legislators, legislative staff, and state employees from responding to the AKC's invitation to "stop by on your lunch break and hug a dog!" at AKC's 4th annual "Canines at the Capitol" event on the lawn outside the North Carolina State Capitol.

The AKC brought a variety of dogs ranging from a retired AKC Grand Champion Great Dane, to a National Dock-Diving Champion Border Collie, to a 9-month-old long-haired Dachshund puppy for legislators, staff and the public to meet. Attendees also enjoyed watching some of the dogs dash through the obstacles on an agility course. One staffer later told AKC staff that a group who couldn’t make it outside due to committee meetings went to a window to watch the dogs run through the course.

 

At the April AKC Board Meeting, the American Kennel Club re-emphasized its recognition and concern about the linkage between domestic violence and the abuse of pets with a new Canine Legislation Position statement on Protections for Pets Under Domestic Violence Acts.

The new position statement advises that the American Kennel Club supports additions to states’ domestic violence statutes that allow for the issuance of protective orders that seek to guard pets from harm, risk of harm or alienation. Such protections should include prohibiting alleged abusers from contact with pets and permitting grants of temporary exclusive care or control of a pet to a petitioning alleged victim. Statutes may also provide appropriate financial remedies for the petitioner to provide for the care of the animals subject to a protective order. These provisions should not impact the legal status of animals as property.

The New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs (NJFDC) and the Hangtown Kennel Club of Placerville, CA (HKC) have each been honored with an American Kennel Club Community Achievement Award. The awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts from AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who promote responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership. 

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 1,400 measures at the state, local and federal levels that could impact dog owners. Congress, 26 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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