This past weekend (Jan 27-29) I attended the 1st Legislative Conference of the American Kennel Club in Raleigh, NC. I was glad to be there to represent you, but clearly, I was more excited to be there to prepare to get you prepared for the issues that we face.
The first issue we are going to cover is the PUPS federal legislation that is being considered in Washington. Rather than to tell you about it here, I encourage you to look at the Legislative page of the OESCA website as I have put together “P.U.P.S for Dummies.” I am hoping none of you take offense to the name I gave my article. I am just very aware that it isn’t the breeder, the showman, or the old timers who I need to convince to become active against this bill. It is the majority of our membership who love the OES, but are strictly pet owners who love and care for their dogs and don’t realize how deadly this bill can become to our breed and all breeds. We need everybody, and I mean everybody to get politically active in this area.
If you are NOT a member of a breed club or an all-breed club, please consider getting involved. There are also performance clubs, herding, and therapy clubs that you can consider becoming associated with that can give you outlets of activities to get involved with other people who love their dogs and enjoy activities with them in the same way that you do. Why am I so adamant about this??? It is because in many circumstances at the local, county, or state level, just as in the federal level, you need to make your voice heard in whatever is going on in your area and it is hard to be heard as just an individual. Finally, get involved with your state dog federation. Some aren't called federations, but there is one in every state. www.akc.org/enewsletter/taking_command/2005/january/federations.cfm www.akc.org/governmentrelations/federations.cfm
You may be interested in knowing that the NRA continues to partner with the AKC because what we are trying to protect, our dogs and our gun freedoms are very closely related. Many NRA members are involved in hunting with dogs and we both can benefit from this partnership where our freedom to hunt or to breed are being threatened. Other groups like the Grange or the Farm Bureau are similar. Groups representing a lot of people will get your candidates attention!!
In addition, like it or not, I need to remind you that we are in an election year and this is the best time to contact those people who represent us and let them know what is important to us that they sit on the right side of the fence WITH us and they need to take notice if they want our vote! If you are NOT registered -- get registered! If your club has an event, consider inviting the necessary people who can register folks at your event. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting them to come and your organization will mean a lot to those who have successful campaigns in the Fall. AND don’t forget to vote! If the time comes to contact your state legislator, they have data bases and can tell if you are a consistent voter. If you’re not, you may not get to first base with your elected official.
AKC is working extremely hard in doing a fantastic job for all of us keeping us abreast of what is happening in Washington and each of our states. If you don’t believe it, try calling the Government Relations Office in N. Carolina (their number is on the Govt. Relations page at akc@org. www.akc.org/governmentrelations/index.cfm. Ask them any question or tell them any canine problem you are having. They are there to help and have loads of information to help you! These are people who are working for you! They are sharp as tacks when it comes to watching federal/state happenings on your behalf. As your legislative liaison, they keep me informed so I can keep you informed. In addition, I want to tell breeders to keep yourself legal!!! That means if you are to be licensed, do so!!!! Don’t give authorities a reason to request a visit or inspection. If you have limits to stay within, try your best to comply. This conference has reminded me that the numbers of canine seizures are very real and growing. Even though we are not the problem in over population of dogs, we recognize that the problem is often at the other end of the leash. By that I mean we have to take control of our dogs in every respect and be good citizens at every turn. When we accuse other dog owners, we actually are being “cannibalistic” and I urge you to think twice before you find fault with other dog owners. The conflict between what they are doing and what they should do is found in an “education solution.” Make a point to educate them in a nice way. If I have not made myself clear, let me know.
It has been my privilege to represent you at this conference. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.
OESCA Legislative Liaison