The AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) table was once again one of the most popular stops at the 2016 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), held this year in Chicago, Illinois. Melissa Ferrell, AKC Government Relations Research Analyst, and Jennifer Clark, Canine Legislation Manager, met and provided information to legislators and staff from across the country.
The American Kennel Club has been a part of this annual event for 20 years and has become one of the most popular booths at the conference. AKC GR provides information on canine legislative issues, as well as the many positive things the AKC does on behalf of dogs. Many lawmakers stop by to discuss specific legislative questions and to get AKC’s insights and input on issues affecting dog owners. Others share their dogs’ photos and stories, many proudly proclaiming they own an AKC-registered purebred dog. Legislators told GR staff that the AKC booth is always one of the highlights of the conference for them, and one legislator even asked to get his picture in the booth to show his family.
Each year, AKC GR receives comments from numerous legislators and legislative staffers about how much they appreciate AKC’s pro-dog messaging and common-sense solutions. Several expressed their frustration with the aggressive approach taken by many animal rights groups and said they much prefer AKC’s positive, respectful approach to communicating with legislators.
The National Conference of State Legislatures is one of a number of conferences and events that AKC GR staff participates in and expand AKC’s connections with legislators and like-minded organizations that share a commitment to animal welfare and protecting the rights of responsible animal owners. “It is a wonderful opportunity to renew relationships, meet new colleagues, and share ideas and experiences that allow us to continue to protect our shared interests and beloved animals,” said Jennifer Clark.
“The NCSL conference provides a great opportunity every year to meet face-to-face with legislators, legislative staff, and other organizations and share the AKC’s message of celebrating purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership and breeding,” said Sheila Goffe, Vice President of AKC Government Relations. “We are proud that AKC has earned the reputation of being the true experts on dogs and the reasonable, common sense voice for canine legislation.”