233 – AKC’s Team Scores on Detection Dog Legislation

AKC’s Detection Dog Legislation Promotes Purpose Bred Dogs

AKC Vice President Government Relations, Sheila Goffe and her Siberian Husky

AKC Vice President Government Relations, Sheila Goffe and her Siberian Husky

Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President Government Relations, joins me for a conversation about legislation and the old adage about law making and sausage making.

TSA came to AKC to address shortage of detection dogs in the USA several years ago. Dr. Carmen Battaglia led the development of the Detection Dog Task Force. The first legislation AKCGR worked on in this area was passed last year and required the government to provide a report on comparative expenses of acquiring dogs from overseas for this critical work. (Check out my interview with Mark Dunn from last year on that topic!)

Meanwhile, AKCGR and the Detection Dog Task Force have not rested on their laurels. Goffe has worked for years to establish relationships with legislators and create an “honest broker” reputation that came to fruition again this fall.

Passing new legislation

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) sponsored the Domestic Explosives Detection Canine Capacity Building Act which easily passed the House and then stalled in the Senate. By attaching the bill to a “must pass” funding reauthorization, Goffe and her team were able to assure passage of this new legislation which creates a Public-Private working group to develop a decentralized breeding network.

National Purebred Dog Day/Canines at the Capitol Event in 2017, with the award honoring the US Capitol Hill K9 Corps


Goffe said the very best part of the Congressional hearings was when a New York Congressman stood up and said, “We just need to breed more dogs.” This acknowledgement and support of purpose bred dogs and the breeders who create them at a legislative level is a huge leap forward, Goffe noted, in our ongoing battle to ward off anti-breeder sentiment.

This legislation ensures that US breeders will have access to support in building the best dog for the job of explosives detection. These dogs are high drive, stable minded, physically sound and have intense work ethics, Goffe said.

This team comprised of AKC, TSA, research universities and national experts in training, contracting, breeding will create a baseline of behavioral, medical, and technical standards for explosive detection dogs. Goffe is hopeful this can be accomplished before the end of 2018.

“This effort supports good breeders, is important to national security and is all about purpose bred dogs,” Goffe said.

Allison Foley stops by also with her Tip of the Week from the Leading Edge Dog Show Academy on dryer sheets and how they can be used effectively in the winter months!



Wednesday, 6/27 at 9 a.m., the Dallas City Council will consider a proposal that ALL dogs impounded in the city be altered before being returned to the owner. The current law has exceptions for show and performance dogs. This proposal is seeking to do away with that exception.

Show Up and Speak Up in Dallas, TX

Sheila Goffe AKC“With the recent incident of a stolen van with show dogs, imagine if those dogs were required to be sterilized before being returned to owners,” said Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President of Government Relations. “These dogs are the future of our blood lines, the future of our breeds. These are not the dogs that are creating what are legitimate problems in the city.”

AKC Government relations has detailed information available here with location, contact names, numbers and emails, talking points and more.

Goffe noted that responsible dog owners want to be part of the community to help the city with the dog issues it has. “Responsible dog owners aren’t the problem. Going after them isn’t the solution. This is a solution in search of a problem.”

Tips and recommendations from Goffe, most of which are applicable in any similar legislative circumstance:

  • You are a resident or you travel through Dallas. You are very concerned about the potential of a dog becoming loose by accident or mishap that you will not be able to have returned intact.
  • In 2017, 1100 AKC events were held in the state of Texas.
  • 150,000 dogs participated in AKC events in Texas just last year.
  • Large dog show weekends bring $1.7 million to community.
  • People who have breeding licenses, showing dogs aren’t the problem.
  • Spaying/neutering a dog owned by another person can be considered taking property. These dogs are valuable property, we appreciate them being treated as such.
  • One size doesn’t fit all.
  • First offense. Not an appropriate response.
  • Boston and Houston have both considered and decided against this type of proposal.
  • Physical bodies are what count. Call instead of email.
  • Show up! It makes more of an impact. They need to see, visually, that there are a lot of people out there who care. In an election year, especially, that drives home the point.
  • Stand or sit together. Wear clothing or color that makes identifiable as a group. Sign in on a topic. Make it known why you are there.
  • Speaking on behalf of xyz kennel club and the x number of members.
  • Several bullet points, each person focus on one point – 1-3 minutes to speak. Share a story about how this can impact you personally.
  • Be respectful.
  • Show reasoned argument why proposal isn’t good for the community.
  • Suggest alternative. “We’d like to help you, we have services to offer, invite to dog show. Develop a relationship. We’re the dog experts.”

“Our opponents always have representation at these meetings. It is crucial for us to show up and show the strength of our convictions,” Goffe said. “Many people who are involved in shelters and rescue, their hearts are in a good place. They are under-resourced, understaffed and frustrated. We support the good work of shelters. We just want to explain the difference, the nuance between responsible owners and irresponsible ones.”