By Wendy J. Jordan, from the April 2016 AKC Gazette
With the 2016 President’s Challenge, the AKC Political Action Committee (PAC) is asking for your support and donations. We need your help to counter the negative messages politicians receive every day from the animal-rights lobby.
If you haven’t signed up to receive the monthly Taking Command e-newsletter from the AKC Government Relations Department, you should. (Subscribe here.) This provides updates about local, state, and federal legislation affecting dog owners. You can also be sure to regularly check the Legislative Alerts section of the AKC website.
It’s sobering to recognize how frequently, and in how many states, our right to own dogs, breed dogs, and work our dogs in the field are under attack. The agenda of the animal-rights groups is very clear: to make it as difficult as possible—and ultimately impossible—for us to breed dogs.
You can also visit the AKC Government Relations Legislative Action Center website, which offers extensive resources to help you be an effective advocate for responsible dog ownership and breeding.
In 2014 the legislature in Maryland, where I live, considered legislation to make it more difficult to dock tails, crop ears, or remove the dewclaws of puppies. Specifically, the original version of the bill would have required general anesthesia on puppies prior to these procedures. Since some of these procedures are carried out on very young puppies, for whom anesthesia can be particularly risky, the AKC’s Government Relations Department was in contact with the right legislators to express the concern of the fancy about these ill-considered proposals and work to amend the legislation.
The ability of AKC to reach the right legislators in all 50 states, as well as our federal officials, doesn’t happen in a vacuum, however. And that’s where you need to get involved.
If you care about your rights, take a direct role. Call your state legislator or member of Congress when you receive notice from the AKC Government Relations Department about legislation of interest to you. And, most important, call them when you support the legislation, not just when you oppose something. Legislators want to know what you think.
But let’s face it, we all have busy lives, and our ability to be “Johnny-on-the-spot” for every legislative issue in our town or state is stretched thin. That’s where AKC Government Relations and the AKC PAC steps in. The PAC board meets quarterly to consider requests and suggestions for contributions to politicians and candidates for office. We consider their past records, what legislative committees they serve on, and what district they represent.
The PAC can’t do its important work without contributions from individuals like you. If you are a member of an AKC club, please consider a contribution to the PAC.
If you think whatever you can afford to give won’t make a difference, you’re wrong! If all of us give just a little bit, it adds up to an amount that can show legislators who support the rights of dog owners and breeders that we value them. They’ve got our backs, and we’ve got theirs.
Also, please give strong consideration to making a recurring monthly donation. Even the minimum donation of five dollars a month—although we hope you’ll do more—really adds up. If enough people make recurring donations, it really helps the PAC to set a budget for future political donations, because we have a reliable funding stream. Visit the AKC Political Action Committee resources page to learn more about the PAC and ways to contribute.
Consider what you can do to support this fund to help protect your rights.
As AKC PAC Board Chairman Carl Ashby recently wrote in a message to AKC Delegates:
“Supporting the AKC PAC is one of the easiest things you can do to help protect our rights as dog owners and breeders.”