Congress welcomed purebred dog owners from across the country last week as part of the American...
Congress welcomed purebred dog owners from across the country last week as part of the American Kennel Club’s fourth-annual Lobby Day. Hosted by the Canine Legislation Department, Lobby Day gives attendees a chance to learn more about issues that impact fanciers on the federal level. More importantly, participants are given an opportunity to carry the fancy’s concerns directly to their legislators during pre-arranged meetings with their Members of Congress.
Expanding on past Lobby Day programs, this year’s event was held at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C. and included a full day of education and issue briefing opportunities. Presentations were made by Sally Brown-Shaklee, Director of Operations for Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin; Dr. Chester A. Gipson, Deputy Administrator for Animal Care with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Dr. James Holt, AKC’s Federal Government Relations Consultant; Walt Bebout, AKC Director of Canine Legislation; Sarah Sprouse, AKC Manager of Canine Legislation, and Larry Sorenson, AKC Director of Public Education. Sessions included in-depth information about the federal legislative process, tips for effectively lobbying a Member of Congress, and substantive issue briefings on three key agenda items: strengthening enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act through support of the Pet Animal Welfare Statute (PAWS), encouraging open access to microchip technology for animal identification, and AKC support of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS) requiring that disaster relief and emergency management agencies include provisions for the needs of households and individuals with pets in disaster relief plans.
The following morning fanciers met over a continental breakfast before heading to Capitol Hill. Carrying information packets and dog leashes to leave with their legislators, participants met with their Congressmen, Senators, and staff to discuss issues and educate Members about the sport of purebred dogs and the importance of responsible dog ownership. Fanciers shared personal stories about their involvement in the sport and about public education efforts their clubs and federations contribute to their states. Most importantly, they asked for support of AKC’s agenda items.
The AKC’s Canine Legislation Department extends its appreciation to everyone who participated in Lobby Day 2006. This event is an integral part of AKC’s legislative programs and over the years has exponentially increased the fancy’s presence in the Capitol. Due to this increased visibility in Congress, purebred dog owners are quickly becoming recognized in Washington as an authority on animal issues--a fact that helps to ensure that responsible dog owners’ rights, as well as the health and welfare of purebred dogs, are protected at the federal level.
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