In December 2016, the Caribe Kennel Club presented an AKC Legislator of the Year Award to the Honorable Senator Jose Luis Dalmau Santiago in a brief ceremony at the Capitol Building in San Juan. The award, according to club Show Chair Teresa Y. Santana, DMD, was to demonstrate the club’s appreciation for the Senator’s “balanced and unbiased legislative work on proposal PS 1631.”
PS 1631 sought to address the issue of street dogs in Puerto Rico by imposing a mandatory spay/neuter law on all dogs in Puerto Rico and ban the sale of all dogs for five years, which would have punished responsible breeders and fanciers in Puerto Rico and prevented residents from obtaining a well-bred, quality purebred dog raised in Puerto Rico.
The Senate Health and Nutrition Commission conducted a public hearing on this proposal. In his role as Vice President of the Senate and President of the Commission, Senator Dalmau ensured that he was well-prepared to publicly question proponents of PS 1631 on their statistics and reasoning for the proposal, as well as to ask for facts about how exactly proponents intended to handle the issue of stray dogs since this proposal did not actually address this problem. In the hearing, he also announced that he would not have time to prepare a report about the law and allow it to advance before the end of the legislative session.
“He made a difference so the proposed law PS 1631 was laid to rest,” explained Santana. He told the Caribe Kennel Club that proponents ended up taking many of his comments out of context and “slammed him in social media.”
It was Senator Dalmau’s leadership on this proposal that led the Caribe Kennel Club to nominate him for an AKC Legislator of the Year Award. During the presentation, club members thanked him for his work and, provided him with information about the mission of the American Kennel Club.
“Senator Dalmau humbly accepted the award and said the award meant a lot to him,” Santana said. “…He pledged his support and would welcome initiatives from organizations like us that promote responsible dog ownership.”
The AKC continues to work with the Caribe Kennel Club and others in Puerto Rico to promote responsible dog ownership and find more effective solutions than this proposal. Read AKC’s editorial on PS 1631 for more information on the proposal and AKC’s position.