Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation Awarded to Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs

The American Kennel Club is pleased to present the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs (VFDC) with the Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation in recognition of their effective coalition-building and educational outreach on behalf of Vermont dogs and dog owners. 

VFDC members work in cooperation with other animal, agricultural and veterinary organizations to support positive legislation to protect dogs and the rights of dog owners and to amend or defeat problematic bills. Recommendations from the VFDC have been included in measures to clarify statutes governing animal control, welfare, and sales in the state.

“We have developed personal relationships with key legislators, educated them about who we are and what we stand for, and just as important, educated them about the agenda and strategy of some of the most visible and well-funded anti-breeder national groups that initiate many of the bills that come before them,” said VFDC president Deborah L. Brown. 

VFDC member clubs promote responsible dog ownership through presentations on canine behavior, structure, training, and nutrition and by taking part in in animal-related festivals and events throughout the state. They contribute to animal welfare by participating in regional and national breed rescue, hosting canine health clinics, supporting canine health research, securing foster homes for dogs in need, and raising funds to provide veterinary care for seriously injured or ill dogs whose owners cannot afford to provide treatment.

Six years ago, the VFDC joined the Vermont Traditions Coalition, group of traditional land use organizations that “use all of our collective power and resources to fight, as one, to protect all of our traditions wherever they are threatened statewide.” 

“Joining forces with other like-minded organizations to fund two full-time, year-round paid professionals in the Vermont statehouse is the single best strategic move the VFDC has ever made.  Through the Vermont Traditions Coalition, we are now part of the legislative process every single day,” said Brown. “These relationships and our mutual respect have resulted in the passage of not one spurious anti-breeder, anti-responsible dog owner bill in the past six years. The fight is never over, but so far, we are winning.”

“The Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs is a model federation. Their community service, their ability to partner successfully with other organizations, and their hard work and success in canine advocacy are truly inspiring,” said Sheila Goffe, AKC Director of Government Relations. 

Named for the late Director of the AKC Government Relations Department, the "Bebout Award” recognizes federations and owner/breeder organizations that demonstrate exceptional commitment to educating legislators about responsible dog ownership issues and who work to preserve the rights of responsible owners and breeders. Winners of the Bebout Award receive a $1,000 donation to the organization to help offset the costs associated with their legislative efforts.

For more information about the Bebout Award, contact AKC Government Relations at  For an award nomination form, click here.