Legislation & Breeder Rights

115 – Commercial Kennels and Show Dog Breeders: On the Same Side with Craig Curry

Commercial Kennels

A Personal Note from Your Host: Laura Reeves

Commercial Kennels are a good thing? What the, what??

The awareness process that resulted in today's podcast has been a challenging one for me. Like most of you, I was raised in the heyday of PETA/HSUS/ALF “documentaries” on the horrors of “puppy mills.” Starving, beaten, neglected, bred to death animals. These images have informed my view of commercial kennels for well over two decades.

Mr. Bill Shelton

Imagine my surprise when, from the mouth of one of my idols, Mr. Bill Shelton, comes the notion that the purebred dog fancy *needs* commercial kennels… I almost choked on my pizza. What about ethical breeding? What about proper placement? What about preservation of a breed?

His response (in a nutshell): The pet owning public in the country is 85 *million* homes. Depending on whose numbers you like, 4-9 *million* new pets are acquired each year just in the US. So I start doing the math… 170 (+/-) AKC recognized dog breeds. Let’s use a nice round number like 5,000,000… That is a LOT of zeros. So let’s say EACH of those 170 recognized dog breeds produces 294,117 puppies each year. Um, except endangered breeds like Otterhounds and Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Sussex Spaniels produce MAYBE 100 puppies *worldwide* each year. So now our odds are skewed significantly higher for the top 10 most popular breeds.

One report I found from 2013, conducted by the Swedish canine organization, showed *worldwide* annual registration of 293 breeds with a *total* of 2,276,864 dogs registered in the reporting year. These figures include the US, UK, Canada and much of Europe. In other words, every single purebred dog in the *world* registered with their respective countries of origin would not meet the annual demand of the pet owning public in the US alone.

So Where Will The Dogs Come From?

So what I’m trying to tell you here is that hobby breeders, preservation breeders, those of us who devote blood, sweat and tears to producing the very highest caliber of purebred dogs for  discerning pet owners simply *canNOT* fill the demand for pet dogs in this country.

Where do the rest of the dogs come from? In some cases from the retail rescue market, including documented importation of hundreds of thousands of dogs from overseas. (Please listen to NAIA’s Patti Strand on this topic in episodes 43 and 104 if you haven’t already.)

In many, many cases, these dogs come from commercial kennels. Some of those facilities, remain, without doubt, far below our standards of expectation. But what this interview shares is the results of one person going above and beyond to help the commercial breeders learn, improve and step up in their role of meeting the public’s demand for healthy pets.

Commercial Kennels in Indiana

Commercial kennels in Indiana over the course of the last 10 years have replaced subpar facilities, implemented health testing, maintenance grooming, socialization and even rehoming plans for retired animals.

As you browse through these photos, step back for a minute and ask if your own facilities are this good.

Now, am I so naive as to believe this is a 100 percent compliance situation across the country? Of course not. But I *have* learned that I was naive enough to be manipulated by groups who would like ALL of us to lose the right to own and breed dogs in the manner we see fit.

Keep An Open Mind

I understand this interview may push your comfort zone. It clearly did mine. But I also believe that we should learn lessons from these folks. United we stand. Divided, we fall. Helping commercial breeders improve the quality — and quality of life — for pets they produce for members of the public who are not interested in waiting two years for an exceptionally well bred companion is a win-win. Making healthy pets from veterinary supervised and approved facilities available to new pet owners, instead of feeding the retail rescue industry as just happened in California, keeps all of our pets healthier in the long run. As Craig says in the interview, it’s about the *dogs*.

I hope you will listen with an open heart and an open mind.


Link to Swedish report:



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106 – Sheila Goffe – AKC Vice President Government Relations: How to Impact

Sheila Goffe AKC

Shiela Goffe, Vice President AKC Government Relations

Sheila Goffe, Vice President AKC Government Relations, provides us with specific, actionable projects to impact the world around us.

Ensure your all breed and parent clubs have Legislative Liaisons  – and that your LL’s information is up-to-date with AKC GR.

A Legislative Liaison is one of your club’s most essential links to AKC GR.  AKC GR provides important legislative alerts and communications to our liaisons via e-mail, and asks them to in turn share it with their club members.  Timely alerts provide notifications of proposals up for consideration, and information on how we can work together to protect your rights. Getting the word out quickly to local dog owners is essential to fighting bad legislation.  Learn more about our Legislative Liaison program.

Get involved and be a positive resource for canine expertise in your community.

Join community groups, a political party or similar organizations. Don’t forget that all-breed clubs are also intended to be a resource for the community! Introduce yourself in person, in social media and in writing to local leaders and offer to serve as an expert resource.  Whenever you speak with someone on this topic, always follow up. Follow up takes only a minute: a phone call, email, or social media contact. Wherever possible, provide more information of interest that will remind your contacts of the expertise you have to offer. (A link to AKC’s resources on the Economic Benefits of Dog Shows  or the impact of dog shows by state and similar expertise can go a long way toward demonstrating your expertise).

Be proud of the great work you do as a breeder/exhibitor/club member and share the love of dogs and your breed with others.

A positive approach can be contagious. Attend town hall meetings with political leaders and bring a positive face to exhibitors and breeders.  Know, understand and obey the laws governing dogs that apply to you. Do they need changing? We can help you with that.

Share information about the good things you, your club and AKC does for the community.

Do you teach classes? Provide therapy dogs? Donate to the local shelter? Participate in microchip or health clinics? Compile a list of the good things your club and club members do in the community and be proud to share that information (for examples, see AKC  Above and Beyond.)  Developing positive relationships with leaders in your community shows them that people who show, breed dogs or own multiple dogs are an asset to the community.


When you become an approachable expert resource, you will likely learn about and have opportunities to weigh in on canine proposals before they become a problem.  AKC GR is always available to help you with this. Tips for getting involved and informational resources are available on the GR Toolbox at www.akcgr.org.

Take advantage of AKC resources to provide educational opportunities in your community.

September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month. Is your club holding an event for the public?  Even if they aren’t, AKC resources make it easy for you to take important and meaningful actions, such as: inviting local leaders to your dog shows and events, inviting a local official or your local animal control professional to speak at a club meeting, and awarding a legislator of the year or dog friendly community award to leaders and communities that already show they care about responsible dog owners and respect the purebred dog tradition.  See www.akc.org/government-relations or akcgr.org for more information about available awards, micro grants for educational activities and other ways AKC can help you get involved in your community.

Learn about the issues!

The Key Issues section of akcgr.org provides succinct information on some of the most common legislative issues that threaten the fancy, purebred dog ownership and breeding. AKC GR Blogs provide details and commentary on some of these issues.

ALWAYS call, send an email, or attend a hearing if you receive an AKC legislative alert.

AKC GR’s targeted alerts are distributed only to communities directly impacted by issues, and we rely on legislative liaisons to help deliver those alerts. AKC GR provides sample letters and step-by-step information to make this process easy. Always be respectful and professional in your communications. If you get a personal response from a legislator, we’d love to hear about it. More tips and instructions for communicating with legislators is available online and in these guides:  Communicating Effectively with Legislators, Make Your Contact Count.


Our job is to be a resource for you! Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org if you have any questions or need assistance on a legislative/public policy issue.

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104 – NAIA: Patti Strand Asks “What is YOUR Elevator Speech” for Purebred Dogs

naia patti strand

NAIA President Patti Strand Wants to Know... What’s YOUR Elevator Speech for Purebred Dogs?

NAIA President Patti Strand shares elevator speech strategies for talking with the public and gives PureDogTalk listeners the inside track on breaking news about upcoming legislation.

An elevator speech is a very short statement, less than 30 seconds long, that allows us to talk in a positive way with folks who oppose purebred dogs, dog breeders, crop and dock, or pets in general.

"Dog breeders are the public relations face of the sport of dogs,” Patti Strand reminds us. “You want to have something ready to say. Every chance you get, is one you should be prepared to take advantage of.”

“Someone saying something negative can be the opening,” Patti adds, “but the key is to get the conversation started.”

“And remember,” she notes, “body language is important. Often it IS the message.”

How much do you love your dogs?

“I think the most important thing for people to understand is how much you love dogs. Everyone in our community is devoted to their dogs. It’s easy to prove — whether it is time devoted to your dogs, the  financial outlay, volunteer time dedicated to a local shelter, we can all easily demonstrate our devotion to our dogs,” Patti said.

What are your real concerns?

“Once you establish that level of dedication, then convey your concerns. Concerns about ongoing breed specific legislation, importation of street dogs from Asia and the Middle East that bring dangerous diseases to our pets. You need to personalize the message in a positive way and establish that as owners, breeders and exhibitors of purebred dogs, we are trusted subject matter experts.”

Urge other owners to learn more

Patti says the final step is to encourage the person to learn more.

“What’s truly unique about our community is that most everyone is a volunteer in our sport. Our price tag is our commitment to our dogs. No matter what topics you list in your little speech, it’s all going to come back to love for the dogs.”


Here’s your "elevator speech" call to action listeners!

Try setting up a role playing game at your next kennel club meeting in which all of the members practice their elevator speeches.

AKC Government Relations has bullet points available on how to answer animal rights questions and current legislation opinions.


Breaking News: NAIA Animal Nation, Washington D.C.

October 2-4, 2017 NAIA Patti Strand

Introduction of legislation sponsored by NAIA to more carefully monitor importation of rescue dogs. “There is currently no one agency that can take charge of this area. CDC, USDA, Veterinary Services. The laws on the books are outdated and were created for people traveling with their own dogs.”

AKC will be introducing legislation regarding breeding and development of dogs for work with Homeland Security. The topic will be addressed at the NAIA conference in Washington DC in October.


For more information on today’s podcast topics, follow these links.



NAIA Homes for Heroes

More from NAIA

Homes for Animal Heroes


“Homes for Animal Heroes (HAH) is a national program dedicated to rehoming retired research animals, mainly dogs, and sharing the facts about the critical role animals in research play in curing disease. HAH is building a network of dog experts that can effectively work with research institutions to rehome retired research dogs in every state across the country, one location at a time. Our goal is to permanently rehome these animal heroes into loving homes through a comprehensive foster-based program.”


Discover Animals


“Instead of hands-on husbandry experience that our rural ancestors took for granted, most people today learn what they know about all animals from their pets, from the classroom, from TV, from popular culture, the Internet, zoos, circuses, and the various animal shows where aspects of husbandry are still understood and practiced.

It is our hope that this website will add to greater public awareness of animal issues and husbandry, help fill the void created by our isolation from so many of the animals we depend on and help correct the misinformation that too often leads to misguided and damaging personal as well as policy decisions in our culture.

Resource for interesting and factual information on all animals

Our mission is to be a key resource for relaying interesting and factual information about animals. It’s a colossal mission, and not one that can be accomplished overnight, but we are committed to providing a truly valuable resource for animal enthusiasts and professionals everywhere. Please stick around and watch us grow. If you like what you see, join in by contributing new information, photos, videos, scientific studies and articles.

This website is a project of the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) whose board members and their unique expertise working with animals is listed here. Please stay tuned and help us as we develop this resource. We have developed numerous ways for you to contribute your special knowledge.  Write us at support@naiaonline.org for more information or visit the Participate section of the website.

Read More:


One of the early observations on the retail rescue phenomena.



Comprehensive list of NAIA articles on a variety of topics



Guest editorial from Patti Strand regarding the need for more regulations of shelters and rescues.

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96 – Divorce, Disease, Disaster, Disability, Delay, Death and Your Dogs: Debra Hamilton Esq. – How to Make a MAAP Plan


Divorce, Disease, Disaster, Disability, Delay, Death and Your Dogs: Debra Hamilton Esq. - How to Make a MAAP Plan

What happens to your dogs in the event of divorce, disease, disaster, disability, delay, or death?

Don't Assume

Don't assume that family or friends know what your want, how to care for them, or who should have them.  Dogs are personal property.  Just because you assume that your breed friends will come to your rescue, reality is that they might not be able or willing to, or be legally able.

MAAP and Debra Hamilton, Esq

MAAP is a 4 step blueprint program from Debra Hamilton, a "legal expert" on animal disputes and an Irish Setter breeder.

4 steps of MAAP

  1. Make the plan you want to be followed-short term and long term. No ones knows except you what to do.
  2. Do it so your family doesn't feel guilty or obligated to care for the dogs, or if that is not what you want.
  3. Appoint the people to care for your dogs. Co-ownership's might terminate with your death.
  4. Publish it - give to friends, family, attorney and vet. Be sure that the MAAP plan is referred to in your living trust.

But I Already Have a Pet Trust

Pet Trusts are invaluable, but attorneys don't know everything you want with your dogs and Pet Trusts to not cover living instructions.

Want to Learn More?

Listen to Debra Hamilton discuss how to make a MAAP for your dogs.

Debra Hamilton

Debra spent 30 years as a practicing litigator, but she is now a full-time mediator and conflict coach for people in disputes over animals.

She works both nationwide and internationally. She has far-reaching experience in resolving interpersonal conflicts involving animals, and she is also well-known in the world of purebred dogs as a top breeder and exhibitor of Irish setters and long-haired dachshunds.

Debra speaks widely on the topic of how mediation techniques can help people address conflicts without litigation. She has presented at veterinary schools, the American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Law Association, the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, the Living With Animals conference, state bar association Animal Law Committee meetings, and animal interest group meetings.

Debra also writes a blog for Hamilton Law and Mediation and is a contributor to the Solo Practice University blog and the Canine Chronicle. She has been featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, and the New York Times.

As the principal at Hamilton Law and Mediation, PLLC—the nation’s first solo mediation practice dedicated to helping people resolve conflicts over animals—Debra uses alternative dispute resolution to help address disagreements over the family pet during divorce, neighbors’ arguments over a barking dog, and confrontations between clients and veterinarians and other professionals who work with animals. HLM also looks forward to helping animal rights and welfare advocates see the benefit of having a conversation about the best interests of all parties—especially the animals—to resolve animal-related disputes.

Debra is admitted to practice law in all New York State courts. She is certified as a mediator and collaborative professional and has worked with various court-based mediation programs in New York City (Queens-Community Mediation Service) and in Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York (Westchester and Rockland Mediation Centers).


Hamilton Law and Mediation

Prepare for Your Pet's Care - The Road Map for Long and Short Term Care for the Animals You Love.

Worried What Will Happen to your Pets?

Register for FREE Pet Care Planning Webinar

Nipped in the Bud, Not in the Butt

Conflicts over animals are among the toughest to resolve. People form deep emotional bonds with their pets—after all, they’re members of the family—so when a dispute involves animals, people get just as angry as if the clash were over their human children. When they’ve finally had enough, they head to court where the law treats the pet as property—as just a thing.

But there’s a better way: mediation. Whether your conflict is over who gets the cat in a divorce, how to deal with a barking dog, or any other issue, a neutral mediator can bring you and the other person together so you can hear each other out, acknowledge each other’s feelings, and resolve your dispute. Not only can mediation settle the conflict in less time and with less expense than litigation, but it can save and even strengthen relationships.

In Nipped in the Bud, Not in the Butt: How to Use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals, litigator-turned-mediator Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton introduces her proven techniques for addressing your conflict, working out a mutually satisfactory solution, and ensuring the well-being of the most important party—the beloved pet or animal in need.

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90 – AKC Government Relations is Fighting for You! – Phil Guidry, J.D.

AKC Government Relations

AKC Government Relations - Phil Guidry, J.D.

akc government relations phil guidry

Junior Handler and Cocker Spaniel breeder to attorney helping to lead the fight at AKC Government Relations, Phil Guidry's heart and soul is committed to the preservation of our breeds.

We ask you to listen to episode #90 as one of the most important episodes on puredogtalk.com so far...

Ever Wondered What To Do?

Phil Guidry gives hope and practical answers on how each of us can help protect and preserve our rights from the animal rights agenda.

Grassroots Super Heroes

You too can be a Super Hero!  Phil outlines simple actions that each owner, breeder or purebred lover can take on a local level to help preserve your rights.  Voters are more effective than lobbyists.

Adopt an Agenda

 "How do your eat an elephant?  One bite at a time".

AKC Government Relations is here to help.  Listen as Phil Guidry suggests adopting a single agenda and how to develop a relationship with local lawmakers.

Rumor and Kent

Rumor and Kent even showed up as high profile influencer's for pro dog legislation.

What Can You Do For Your Sport???

Click on the links below for resources and consider a donation to YOUR cause.


BIO: Phil Guidry – Director, Policy Analysis, AKC Government Relations

Phil gained his first experience with AKC as a summer intern in 2002.  After receiving his law degree from Loyola University-New Orleans, he returned to AKC in early-2006 as a member of the Internal Consulting Group.   Before entering his current role, Phil served as Government Relations’ Sr. Policy Analyst for six years.  Other positions he previously held with AKC include Legislative Analyst and Director of Registration Development.

Phil’s involvement in purebred dogs dates back to the early 90s, when he started competing in junior showmanship, and claims handling his first Bred-by Exhibitor Champion Cocker Spaniel as his proudest achievement as a purebred dog fancier.  He currently owns a mixed breed cuddle monster called “Phoebe” and a very naughty 14-week old PBGV puppy called “Tabasco”.


Join in the fight to preserve your breeding rights!


AKC Toolbox gives your the answers!  Be prepared for challenges from animal rights and legislators.  Know what to say to your local city council.  AKC Government Relations is here to help!  We all need YOU to be the grassroots advocate.


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69 – Dog Savvy Lawyer: Jen Amundsen – Puppy Contracts, Estate Planning and Pet Trusts

Dog Savvy Lawyer

Dog Savvy Lawyer: Jen Amundsen

Dog Savvy Lawyer on Puppy Contracts

Puppy Contracts - you should have one!

Puppy contracts are are starting point for a conversation with puppy buyers about expectations.  This is where you memorialize how you are going to work together, what you expect from the buyer, and confirm that your expectations are going to be met.

Send the contract in advance for them to read.  Best to know if they didn't hear anything that you said about limited registration or spay/neuter before they show up to pick up their puppy.

Legal Considerations

Let's say you have a spay neuter in the contract but they breed.  this is a very hard scenario.  The mechanism for enforcement is a lawsuit, and even then establishing damages is difficult.

When you write the contract, put your home jurisdiction in it, and consider specifying the liquidated damages.  It may not always work, but in writing is best.

From the buyer perspective ...do not take it personally.  Breeders should explain that it is to show responsibility and to ensure safety of the puppy.  Consider adding a visitation clause with notice for checking on the puppy.

Estate Planning

Many have a will that includes the care of their dogs.  However, a will only deals with after your death.  If you are incapacitated, legal provisions should be taken for that situation.

A power of attorney that specifies who and how is to take care of your dogs and how they will be provided for is a good start.

Be sure to update a list of who the dogs are, and who they go to.

Pets are Personal Property

Pets are personal property and state specific law usually states that personal property passes to next of kin,  whether that is who you really wanted or not.  Be sure pets are clearly spelled out in your estate planning with contingent beneficiaries.

Pet Trusts

Most states now accept Pet Trusts that define the person to receive pets, a sum of money to care for the pets, and trustee that makes sure money goes to care of pets.

Call the Dog Savvy Lawyer for any advice or recommendations.  We hope you enjoy the episode.

In Case of Emergency - from PureDogTalk

Considering the miles that we drive to and from shows, trials and field events...often late at night, remember these tips:

  • Home Safe Buddy - Someone that knows when you should be home, what route you are driving, and your license number. TEXT or CALL your buddy when you arrive home safely.
  • Authorization to care for your dogs, vet number, and emergency numbers in your glove compartment in case you are unable to answer questions.
  • Identification on crates and dogs.  Leashes attached to crates.


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Dog Savvy Lawyer
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60 – National Purebred Dog Day: Susi Szeremy


National PureBred Dog Day with Susi Szeremy

May 1

Don't miss the fun and support your dogs by posting a photo with an I Love Purebred Dog Day sign!

Listen to Susi Szeremy Tell the Story of How it all Started

Susi and Laura laugh and entertain on this special day.

Find Me A Sign

Signs can be found here.  I Love Purebred Dog Day Sign

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43 – Fight for your Breeding Rights: Patti Strand and NAIA

naia patti strand

National Animal Interest Alliance

National Animal Interest Alliance and Patti Strand have been fighting for purebred dogs and animal ownership rights for 26 years.  Listen as Patti Strand gives an overview of the Animal Rights issues, the history, current public perception, and the propaganda war.

NAIA Trust

The NAIA Trust is the legislative arm of NAIA and greatly expands our legislative capacity and your ability to contact legislators directly.

NAIA Shelter Project

NAIA Shelter Project is the leading source of public shelter data in the US, which has enabled us to win countless legislative battles.

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