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2016 AKC Legislative Conference Empowers Dog Advocates from Across the U.S.

Animal advocates from Maine to Hawaii recently traveled to the 2016 AKC Legislative Conference in Raleigh, NC to hear about current trends in canine legislation and how to effectively protect the rights of dog owners, exhibitors and breeders.More than 80 AKC Legislative Liaisons, club and federation representatives, and animal welfare leaders learned from experts and received new data and tools to help inform and empower dog advocates in their states and communities. The July 22-24 conference provided training on how to successfully oppose problematic canine legislation, proactively support positive measures, counter false information, and improve the well-being of dogs.

The conference began with a tour of AKC offices, followed by an evening screening of “The Dog Lover”. “This is ammunition that the animal welfare community needs for arming itself against animal extremism,” commented Craig Curry of Protect the Harvest.

In one of the most riveting presentations, keynote speaker Dr. Cindy Buckmaster, Director, Center for Comparative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, admonished animal advocates for failing to educate the public about their hobbies, breeding programs and the good work they do. She said that animal rights fanatics have filled this informational void with fiction, and challenged true animal lovers to speak now or forever rest in peace.

“I’m glad she’s on our side!” said a conference participant following Buckmaster’s presentation.

Additional sessions discussed ways to engage club members in effective advocacy; how national and state sportsmen’s caucuses work to protect rights of sportsmen; the growing dog sales and importation industry that operates under the guise of dog rescue; steps animal owners should take when animal control is at the door; AKC’s initiatives to improve canine health and well-being; how legislation and regulations affect dog owners; and advocacy tools that are available from AKC Government Relations.

The conference included an interactive workshop on how to write effective commentary that influences policymakers and a panel discussion on state and community outreach programs, grassroots lobbying, and how to work with lawmakers to promote positive canine policy.

“We hope everyone made new contacts and received important information that will help them increase involvement among dog lovers. By working together, we can ensure that future generations will be able to own, train, compete with, and breed quality dogs. Take this information home, share it, and use it,” said Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President Government Relations.

The AKC Legislative Conference is one of many resources that AKG Government Relations offers to dog owners who want to become a better educators, motivators, and promoters of affirmative messaging about purebred dogs, dog breeding, canine events, and the joy of dog ownership. For more information and canine advocacy tools, visit