Recently, we focused on the importance of reaching out to your local lawmakers at the start of the new year to let them know you can be an expert resource for them on dogs and canine policy. But there’s another side to that equation that’s equally important: Reach out to the community – both the community of fellow dog fanciers, breeders, exhibitors and club members, as well as the general public – to educate them about canine legislation issues and how they impact dogs and our sport.
Contacting your lawmakers about pending legislation and proposals is essential. It is our first line of defense against bad legislation and it’s crucial to our success. But for sustained success, we encourage you to think about reaching out to your community at large to teach about responsible dog ownership and breeding and all that you and your clubs do on behalf of dogs and dog owners is the other part of that equation. Visit the AKC Government Relations Legislative Action Center toolbox for resources you can use in your communication efforts, and as always, the AKC GR team is here to help you! Contact us if we can help you in your efforts to reach out to your lawmakers and community. Remember, one of the most valuable things you can do is to reach out and educate before an issue arises to prevent future problems.
Earlier this month, the GR team invited lawmakers from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to serve as Honorary Chairs for the annual Meet the Breeds event in conjunction with the Westminster Kennel Club shows. Many of these lawmakers, their staff, and families attended to meet dogs, interact with constituents, watch the agility championship, and learn more about the AKC and responsible breeders. The event was a great success, with over 100 Honorary Chairs lending their support for responsible dog ownership. AKC also honored Representative Ted Toho and Representative Vicky Hartzler with Legislator of the Year awards for their valiant advocacy for the inclusion of responsible pet importation language in the 2018 Farm Bill.
With most state’s legislative sessions in full swing, the AKC GR team has been busy fighting problematic legislation. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, ways to get involved, or local policy you come across. We appreciate all you do!