AKC Canine Legislation Position Statements
The Treasure Coast Kennel Club supports the AKC's legislative efforts to better the welfare of our canine friends,
Airline Travel for Dogs
To ensure the safest air travel possible, the American Kennel Club strongly supports thorough training of airline staff who handle dogs, adequate environment controls in cargo spaces, and careful attention to record keeping.
The ability to ship dogs by air as excess baggage, cargo, or in the cabin is vital to dog owners, breeders, handlers and exhibitors who want to travel on the same flights as their dogs. We encourage airlines to serve their customers by continuing to offer these necessary services.
The American Kennel Club abhors acts of violence committed against dog owners, dog handlers, kennels, and research facilities by those who object to the keeping and use of animals. The AKC respects the right of all individuals to express and advocate personal opinions in lawful ways. We strongly condemn illegal actions such as the "liberation" of dogs or destruction of property. The AKC supports the right of Americans to breed, own, train, interact with, and exhibit their purebred dogs without interference.
The American Kennel Club strongly supports and actively promotes a wide range of programs to educate the public about responsible breeding practices and the responsibilities of dog ownership.
The American Kennel Club opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans or mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously.
"Dangerous Dog" Control Legislation
The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. We believe that, if necessary, dogs proven to be "dangerous" may need to be humanely destroyed. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.
The American Kennel Club supports state laws making any form of participation in organized dog fights a felony. The AKC unequivocally opposes dog fighting and the breeding and/or training of dogs for fighting. The AKC opposes the training of dogs for uncontrolled aggressive behavior toward other dogs and people.
Canine Population Issues
AKC commends experienced breed enthusiasts who are educating the public and other breeders about the need for long term commitments and responsibilities. We encourage them to help new owners address issues that could result in the relinquishment of pets. National research organizations have reported that the majority of unwanted dogs in the United States come from owners who are unable or unwilling to train, socialize and care for their dog. The American Kennel Club also encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs if they do not want to participate in AKC conformation events or engage in responsible breeding programs.
The American Kennel Club considers auctions and raffles not to be reasonable and appropriate methods to obtain or transfer dogs.
AKC's current inspection program shall include kennels/individuals offering dogs for sale at auctions.
Any dog sold at auctions that are under 8 weeks of age or without microchip identification will be ineligible for AKC registration and shall be placed on permanent referral. The American Kennel Club discourages Parent Club rescue groups from purchasing dogs at auctions. Although Parent Clubs may be doing good things for individual dogs purchased at auctions, it perpetuates the problem and tends to create a seller's market. Reciprocally, auctioneers seek more dogs of those breeds to offer at auctions. AKC applauds the work of Parent Club rescue groups on many fronts. However, AKC believes that the purchasing of dogs at auctions is not overall in the best interest of purebred dogs.
Ear Cropping, Tail Docking and Dewclaw Removal
The American Kennel Club recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health. Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.
Enforcement of the AnimalWelfare Act
The federal Animal Welfare Act enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is intended to regulate wholesale breeders, dealers and caretakers of dogs. The USDA has regularly strengthened the standards for humane care and treatment of dogs and other animals by persons regulated under the Act. The American Kennel Club supports increasing the number of USDA enforcement personnel dealing with wholesale dog operations and strong enforcement of the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.
Homeowners' Insurance and Dangerous Dogs
The American Kennel Club believes that insurance companies should determine coverage of a dog-owning household based on the dog’s deeds, not the dog’s breed. If a dog is a well-behaved member of the household and the community, there is no reason to deny or cancel coverage. In fact, insurance companies should consider a dog an asset, a natural alarm system whose bark may deter intruders and prevent potential theft.
Protection for Puppy Purchasers
The American Kennel Club supports reasonable laws and regulations intended to protect the petbuying public in obtaining a sound dog of the breed represented. Breeders and/or sellers should be responsible for providing certain refunds, replacements or reimbursements should the dog sold become ill or die from a condition contracted prior to the purchase. Such remedies should be conditioned upon the buyer's scrupulous adherence to the care and feeding program prescribed by the breeder and/or seller, as well as a timely examination by a state licensed veterinarian. Breeders and/or sellers should provide buyers with a written bill of sale detailing the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller. This bill of sale should also detail any exclusions to refunds, replacements or reimbursements.
"Guardian" vs. Owner
The American Kennel Club supports the use of the term "owner" rather than "guardian" when referring to the keeping of dogs. The AKC believes that the term guardian may in fact reduce the legal status and value of dogs as property and thereby restrict the rights of owners, veterinarians, and government agencies to protect and care for dogs. It may also subject them to frivolous and expensive litigation.
The term guardian does nothing to promote more responsible treatment of dogs. We strongly support efforts to educate the public about responsible dog ownership to ensure that all dogs receive the care, love, and attention they deserve.
Proper Care and Humane Treatment of Dogs
Dog owners bear a special responsibility to their canine companions to provide proper care and humane treatment at all times. Proper care and humane treatment include an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship, and training in appropriate behavior. The American Kennel Club believes that dogs should not be kept in circumstances or numbers where these needs can not be adequately fulfilled. Anyone convicted of animal cruelty where charges involved a dog will have all AKC privileges suspended.
Purebred Dog Rescue
The American Kennel Club supports and encourages the efforts of clubs, organizations, and individuals to rescue adoptable purebred dogs. These dogs may originate from animal shelters, or from owners who can no longer care for their dogs in a responsible manner. The American Kennel Club encourages all such groups and individuals, after exhausting all possible means to contact the breeder of such animals, to spay or neuter all adoptable purebred dogs prior to placing them with a responsible owner.
Purebred v. Mixed
Responsible breeders breed dogs with desired characteristics, abilities and instincts. The offspring of their breeding programs are predictable in appearance, temperament and instinct. Purebred dogs are true to type when mated.
The American Kennel Club currently recognizes and includes more than 150 breeds in its stud book, and various dog registries throughout the world recognize more than 400 breeds. Some of the breeds are of relatively recent origin, while other breeds have existed since civilization began.
Neither the appearance nor the genetic characteristics of mixed breed dogs are predictable or self-perpetuating. The choice of a purebred dog permits the prospective dog owner to select the desired size, appearance, disposition and instincts with assurance that a puppy purchased from a responsible breeder will possess those defined characteristics. The belief that mixed breed or mongrel dogs are more vigorous, healthy, or well-adjusted than properly bred purebred dogs is a myth.
Responsible Breeding Practices
The American Kennel Club believes that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. Responsible breeders are expected to give careful consideration to health issues, temperament, and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes. AKC supports and promotes these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs, and commends those who offer similar guidance.
The AKC strongly opposes the breeding of dogs by those who do so without regard for the dogs' welfare. We support scrupulous enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and state and local regulations governing the humane care of animals. We further believe that USDA and other enforcement agencies should be given appropriate resources to ensure that regulations are met. In addition, the AKC Investigations and Inspections department conducts more than 4,000 kennel inspections each year. When AKC inspectors find kennels that do not meet our minimum care and conditions requirements, they educate and encourage those breeders to raise their standards or face suspension of their AKC registration privileges. Proper authorities are also alerted to any cases of animal neglect.
Responsible Dog Ownership
The American Kennel Club believes that owning a dog is a rewarding experience that brings great joy and happiness to any household. With dog ownership comes long-term emotional and financial commitment and a variety of responsibilities. Accordingly, we encourage potential owners to closely evaluate their lifestyle before deciding to obtain a dog and to give careful consideration to what breed will best suit them. They are encouraged to visit the AKC website, www.akc.org, to do their research.
AKC strongly urges puppy purchasers to seek reputable, ethical breeders as resources for their dogs. We further encourage owners to provide proper care, training and socialization to ensure that their pets remain happy members of their family, respectable members of the community and well-mannered canine good citizens. AKC and its affiliated clubs offer a wide range of educational programs and materials to teach dog owners how to reach these goals while enjoying their dogs for many years to come.
Spaying and Neutering
The American Kennel Club encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental breedings resulting in unwanted puppies. The American Kennel Club encourages breeders to discuss spaying and neutering options with puppy buyers who do not wish to participate in conformation events.
The Right to Keep and Enjoy Dogs
The human-canine bond predates history. Since the dawn of civilization, people have enjoyed the companionship and assistance of dogs. Dog ownership has existed in all cultures, races, climates and economic situations - by monarchs, monks, nomads, and peasants.
The American Kennel Club strongly endorses the right to own, keep and breed dogs in a responsible and humane manner. We believe that responsible dog ownership is compatible with most living arrangements. The AKC opposes unreasonable limitations on pet ownership, such as the prohibition of dogs for residents of senior citizen and government subsidized housing facilities.
The American Kennel Club recognizes the special obligation of dog owners, not only to their pets but also to their neighbors. The AKC supports "curbing" and clean-up ordinances, leash laws, nuisance laws, and other reasonable regulations designed to ensure that dogs and their owners remain respected members of their communities.
Use of Dogs for Assistance and Service
The American Kennel Club strongly supports the training and use of dogs to provide assistance and service to humans. Dogs provide valuable service as: seeing eye dogs; hearing dogs; therapy dogs; handicapped assistance dogs; drug, bomb, and arson detection dogs; and tracking dogs to locate missing persons and fugitives.
The American Kennel Club opposes those who seek to define the assistance and service dogs provide to humans as exploitative. The AKC encourages the continuation and further development of the use of dogs for these and similar purposes.
Use of Dogs in Research
The American Kennel Club recognizes the invaluable contributions to both human and veterinary medical knowledge and practices that have resulted from medical research on animal subjects, including dogs. The American Kennel Club believes that all efficacious alternatives to the use of dogs should be explored before using dogs, that the research should clearly necessitate the use of dogs, and that standards of humane care and treatment of such dogs should be scrupulously observed. Also, the American Kennel Club strongly believes that individuals who utilize dogs in research should bear full responsibility for ascertaining the source of their dogs and for assuring that suppliers comply with federal, state and local regulations.
Use of Dogs in Sporting, Working, and Competition Activities
The American Kennel Club encourages and strongly supports the interaction and mutual enjoyment of owners and dogs in sporting activities such as hunting and field trials; in working circumstances such as herding, tracking, and pulling; and in competition events such as dog shows, obedience trials, agility trials, and other performance events and tests. The AKC believes that dogs should be properly cared for, humanely trained, and not pushed beyond reasonable limits for which they were bred.