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Your Voice Matters!

Stay informed and engaged with canine legislation to protect your rights as dog owners and breeders. Legislative changes can significantly impact our ability to care for and enjoy our companions. With laws constantly evolving at the federal, state, and county levels, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and share knowledge within your community. No single person can keep track of all ordinances and legislation nationwide, so everyone must be alert, informed, and ready to share information with their networks.

It is much harder to change ordinances or laws once they are established. Protect your freedom to own, breed, and exhibit dogs by actively supporting legislation that defends these rights and thanking the legislators who back them. Remember, your voice matters in shaping policies that affect the canine community—silence can be interpreted as consent.

DPCA LegislativeNetworking occurs one person at a time across multiple levels. You’ve likely already established many connections, even if you haven’t labeled them as such. These include dog show friends, puppy owners, veterinarians, local dog clubs, federations, dog food companies, and other breeders, to name a few.

On the local level there are:
BULLETS: businesses, mayors, county officials and nationally the NAIA (National Animal Interest Alliance), AKC, Calvary Group, legislators, Animal Ag Group, Sportsman’s Alliance, DPCA and Legislators. (Not all groups are listed; you can probably add more.)

Networking is a powerful tool for support, action, and communication. Numbers of supporters count and have impact for legislators—particularly their constituents/voters.

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Map provided by the Animal Agriculture Alliance.


This map provides insight into the interconnectedness of animal rights organizations, highlighting their shared funding and staffing.


Terms to remember:

Animal Rights organizations aim to grant human-like rights to animals, with some viewing our “use” of animals for “entertainment” as akin to slavery. According to these advocates, we do not own animals; instead, they seek to provide animals with legal rights similar to those of humans, potentially including legal representation in court.


Animal Welfare means that as dog owners, we protect and care for our animals. This concept is essentially the opposite of animal rights. “Legally, as “owners” of animals we are responsible for their care and we have the right to make appropriate care decisions for them.” –AKC











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To be your animal’s guardian means that you become a caretaker not an owner. Wards (in this case animals) have legal rights.  Applying guardianship law to animals would mean that animals have legal rights similar to human guardianship laws and would mean that animals have legal rights that can be recognized in court (i.e., animals would have legal standing).

This may subject owners to civil lawsuits file by third parties on behalf of the animal. State Advocacy Issue | American Veterinary Medical Association

American Veterinary Medical Association expands even further about the drawback of guardianship.

The American Kennel Club supports the use of the term “owner” rather than “guardian”.


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.

*Subject them to frivolous and expensive litigation.

*Does nothing to promote more responsible treatment of dogs


*New York has recently presented two new bills that aim to strengthen animal rights in the courtroom. The first would create a task force to improve animal protection laws and the other would establish animals as sentient beings in court, compelling the judiciary system to treat them as victims of crimes in cruelty cases.


*The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that animals can’t file lawsuits. Animal Legal Defense Fund has petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court to review the case.



Animal Rights Organizations start early!


*Animal Rights in the classroom

New York bill would expand the requirements for teachers to instruct secondary school students about humane treatment and protection of animals, requiring a publicly-available certification of compliance. Bills targeting the cafeteria in New York and Hawaii aim to mandate that public schools and universities offer plant-based meals upon request or eligible for purchase with a meal plan.

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There are several ways to find your legislators. Meet with them before any legislation arises to discuss. It’s always easier to address issues when you have an established connection.


National Legislators:

For Senators:

For House of Representatives: *



State and Local Legislators:


Find your representatives from National to local:

(You do not need to sign up (blue box). Use the box below it to find your representatives.)


Information about politicians with photos:

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Helping to keep you informed are these groups to follow for current information:


On X (formerly Twitter):


Facebook: Canine Legislation Alerts: United States


Pending Legislation:


NAIA Legislative Alerts:


AKC Legislative Alerts:

DPCA Legislative

The following links provide definitions, issues, templates, economic impacts, policy analysis and stories of successes and how to’s for legislative contacts and so much more.


AKC Legislative Toolbox:

If you are dealing with a canine legislation issue, please contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720 or

NAIA Legislative and Legal Resources: