Approximately 40 legislative liaisons, federation leaders, and dog owners and advocates from across the country travelled to Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington DC this past weekend to attend the AKC Government Relations team’s second regional legislative conference of the year.
The purpose of these conferences is to empower club members, dog fanciers, and leaders with the tools and resources they need to be effective advocates in their states and local communities.
Those who attended the conference enjoyed networking with advocates across the United States and engaging in lively discussions during presentations on a broad variety of topics, including:
- The Good News is the Bad News is Wrong: Secrets of Extraordinary Grassroots Advocates – Amy Showalter
- Media Engagement and Community Outreach for Purebred Dogs – Susi Szeremy, Founder, National Purebred Dog Day, and Chris Sweetwood, AKC Delegate, Trap Falls Kennel Club
- An Insider View: Rules for Maximum Impact – Wendy Jordan, Lobbyist and former Senior Congressional Staffer and Member of AKC Board of Directors
- Using Social Media to Fight Misinformation – Casey Whittaker, Animal Agriculture Alliance
- Dog Trafficking and Retail Rescue –the Basics and Updates from NAIA
AKC GR staff also provided information and presentations on working together to fight anti-dog and anti-breeder legislation, the latest legislative trends and hot issues, and practical ideas on how dog owners and fanciers can communicate with lawmakers on canine legislation.
On Monday, May 1 – National Purebred Dog Day – the conference moved to the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center. Morning sessions included additional presentations on federal legislation and briefings from AKC lobbyists on the do’s and don’ts of meeting with members of Congress and staff. Guy Fisher, AKC Manager of Club Development, spoke on AKC’s new Club Outreach program and ways that dog enthusiasts can use these resources, combined with Government Relations assistance to protect their rights.
On Monday afternoon, participants had the opportunity to meet with their congressional staff offices, take a tour of the Capitol and celebrate National Purebred Dog Day by attending a Congressional reception in honor of National Purebred Dog Day.
“AKC’s legislative conferences are a great opportunity for participants to come together and learn new information and network with others who are in the trenches fighting each day in their communities on behalf of their dogs, our sport, and responsible breeders,” said Sheila Goffe, Vice President, AKC Government Relations. “We thank all those who attended, and look forward to continuing to work and partner with them in this important fight.”
The AKC Government Relations team will continue to host additional regional conferences throughout the country in the future.