Before You Vote Do Your Research

Elections serve a special purpose—not only for our country—but also for our sport of Purebred dogs.

As an American citizen, one of our greatest privileges is our right to vote. The voting process in our democracy allows each of us to be a voice in our future. Our rights and privilege to vote are significant. Surprisingly, on average, only about 50% of all registered voters submit their ballots. When we vote and send individuals into office to represent our best interests, we are, in general, giving them permission to make laws and regulations that we feel are in the best interest of the people. Many people do not take the time to review the voting records or the platforms of the various candidates.

Many of you reading this will ask, “What does this have to do with our passion for the sport of purebred dogs?”

Well, if you have been following the social trends of this century you would know that it has a great deal to do with our future.

Everywhere we live, the animal rights groups and extremists are slowly eroding our ability to breed, own and exhibit our beloved best friends. Groups like PETA, HSUS, and other organizations are constantly lobbying our various city, state, and federal governments to place more and more restrictions on our sport.

Laws have been—and are being—enacted everywhere in our country to regulate how many dogs you may own, {to determine} who may or may not breed dogs, to regulate kennels, and so on. Each time one of these new regulations goes into effect another one of your rights as a breeder, exhibitor, and dog owner is being infringed upon.

By doing a little research, I found where the Heritage Foundation has reported that from 2008 through 2015 there were over 22,000 new regulations put in place, imposing Americans with over $22 billion in costs each year while also limiting or eliminating a variety of our freedoms. Further research has shown that some of these regulations have been rolled back, but many still exist. Although there are times when government regulations serve the greater good, there are also many regulations that place unfair burdens on the average American family as well as on American businesses.

Our rights (not only as Americans, but also as dog lovers) are being threatened. We must band together in our various communities to seek those politicians on the local, state, and federal levels who will not further infringe and restrict our right to enjoy, breed, and exhibit our purebred dogs. Our rights as dog owners, breeders, and exhibitors are on the line.

This article is not about supporting a Democratic or Republican agenda. Rather, it is about all of us trying to sort through the various media propaganda to try and make informed voting decisions that may impact our sport and our rights as dog owners.

Since history has shown that only 50% of Americans vote, I suggest that if you are a part of the other 50% it is time to take a serious interest in our future. Do the research and put in the effort to cast your vote. (If you think your vote does not matter, remember to be silent when those who do vote determine an outcome you do not like.) This principle applies to every organization, including the AKC and your local kennel club. The great thing about our democracy is the right to free speech and the ability to vote.

All elections are important. Those of us in the fancy need to be conscious at the ballot box to elect officials who believe in our freedoms as granted by the constitution. We cannot continue to elect into office those individual candidates who will work to further infringe on our rights as dog lovers.

Take the time to exercise your right. You will be glad you did.

Walter Sommerfelt

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