Community Achievement Award

AKC Honors 2005 First Quarter Community Achievement Award Honorees

The AKC Community Achievement Awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts of AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations, and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who have successfully promoted purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored, and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership. The AKC accepts nominations year-round and names up to three honorees each quarter. The nomination form is available on the AKC web site, or by contacting Ron Rella, director of project administration, 260 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016. Each honoree receives a certificate and a $1,000 check payable to the club or federation’s public education and canine legislation efforts.

Charlotte McGowan – Newton, Massachusetts

The AKC honors Charlotte McGowan, recipient of the AKC Community Achievement Award for her diligent work on legislative matters related to the dog fancy. McGowan serves as Legislative Liaison for two parent clubs, the Papillon Club of America and the American Shetland Sheepdog Association. She was also recently appointed legislative chair for the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and the legislative point person for the National Animal Interest Alliance Trust, an association dedicated to promoting animal welfare, supporting responsible animal use, and strengthening the bond between humans and animals.

McGowan spends a great deal of time and effort defending the rights of dog owners. She reviews national and international news related to animal rights extremism in order to alert the AKC Canine Legislation department and other interested groups of impending legislation. She posts legislative news from all over the country to email lists informing the dog fancy and dog owners of current legislative issues in their locales.

“Charlotte is a wonderful resource. We can always call on her for assistance with legislative issues across the state of Massachusetts,” said Director of AKC Canine Legislation Stephanie Lane. “We were pleased to have her participate in Lobby Day last year.”

McGowan regularly attends hearings on Boston’s Beacon Hill. In 2004, for example, she spent three days in Boston lobbying against a proposed bill that required anyone who bred more than one litter a year to be licensed.

McGowan lobbied all 40 state senators and recruited several other people to join her lobbying efforts. The breeder-licensing bill died in the conference committee.

McGowan often speaks about legislation at Massachusetts dog club meetings in order to get more people involved. She recruits dog owners to attend hearings, write letters, and contact their legislators.

Port Chester Obedience Training Club (PCOTC) – Port Chester, New York

The Port Chester Obedience Training Club receives the AKC Community Achievement Award in honor of its public education efforts throughout its community, as well as in the greater New York Metropolitan area.

“In 2004 the PCOTC celebrated 64 years as one of the leading dog training clubs in the Tri-State area,” said club member Daphna Straus in her nomination of the club. “For over six decades PCOTC’s expertise in developing well-behaved family dogs and trial champions has grown along with the variety of activities the club offers.”

During the past two summers, handlers and therapy dogs from PCOTC offered a “Reading with Rover” program for children ages 4 to 11, at the Mt. Kisco Public Library in Mt. Kisco, NY. The program gives children who have difficulty learning to read the opportunity to practice reading aloud to a friendly and non-critical audience — a licensed therapy dog.

PCOTC members regularly give demonstrations on obedience, agility, and rally at public events. During the events, they promote responsible dog ownership and basic obedience training.

Last year, PCOTC presented a rally demonstration at the annual American Veterinary Medical Association Conference in Philadelphia. Members of PCOTC appeared on the Today Show with an AKC spokesperson to promote AKC and AKC-affiliated clubs as the best sources for information on how to train dogs successfully. PCOTC members also gave an obedience, agility, and rally demonstration during Responsible Dog Ownership Day in Manhattan’s Central Park as well as at the Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s annual walkathon fundraiser at FDR Park in Yorktown Heights, NY.