Summertime means parades, picnics, public events—and legislatures adjourning or going into recess. Over the next few months, many state and federal legislators will be back in their districts. This is an excellent opportunity to let them know about the wonderful things you and your club do for dogs and the community, and perhaps even consider inviting them to a club meeting or local dog show. Make sure to take advantage of this break in legislative session to show your legislators first hand why your sport and your dogs are so important.
And if they come to a local show, remind them what a huge economic impact these shows have on the local community. Our research has demonstrated that exhibitors at AKC conformation dog shows spend an average of $685 per show weekend. This means spending by AKC dog show exhibitors for a show weekend could inject more than $1.7 million into the local economy. And because AKC dog shows are an educational and family-friendly event, large spectator gates can generate additional revenues for cities and towns statewide.
These are very important facts to mention to state legislators or local officials that are considering canine legislation: Not only do restrictive laws hurt dogs and responsible owners/breeders, they also impact local businesses and the community at large who benefit from responsible dog owners participating in AKC events in their area. As a reminder, every year the AKC Government Relations department publishes State Economic Impact Statistics for every state in the country. This resource provides the number of dog clubs in your state, the number of events per year, and the number of dogs participating in the events.
The New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs (NJFDC) recently engaged in some wonderful outreach on behalf of dogs in the state. On June 10, the federation traveled to the Capitol in Trenton with three therapy dogs: a Collie, a Sheltie, and a Great Dane. Their goals were simple: to discuss a bill making the Collie the New Jersey State Dog, request amendments for two upcoming problematic bills, and to educate legislators about AKC Reunite and the great programs they have. To learn more about this successful Tale from the Trenches, click here.
You can also sharpen your skills this month with a webinar hosted by the AKC GR’s Vice President, Sheila Goffe. Sheila will give an overview of the current efforts of the Government Relations team to protect the rights of dog owners. Sheila will be available to answer questions and engage in discussion with attendees. Learn more about how to participate in this event.
During these summer events and meetings, if you find your legislator is especially helpful and supportive of our issues, consider nominating them for a Legislator of the Year Award. This award is a wonderful way to recognize those legislators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership and breeding, the well-being of all dogs, and the advancement of dogs in your community. AKC provides this award, but we depend on you – their local contacts – to nominate and present this award at a show or other special ceremony. This award is one more way for you, as constituents to honor the legislators you work with. For more information on this award, click here.