You’ve probably heard the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” AKC club members may wish to ponder a similar question, “If your club does great things for dogs, do your lawmakers know?”
Positive publicity in the media and in legislative chambers helps underscore that experienced dog owners, breeders, trainers, and exhibitors are the best sources of information about dog care and should be the first to be consulted on dog-related policy.
Most AKC clubs across the U.S. host events and provide ongoing public education programs to encourage responsible dog ownership. Many clubs do an excellent job of promoting their events and activities. But some clubs may not include public outreach in their event planning. That’s a missed opportunity!
Does your club offer training classes, AKC Canine Good Citizen® seminars and testing, or other resources for dog owners? Do club members volunteer on behalf of pet food banks, pet therapy programs, humane societies, rabies/microchip/pet health clinics, or other community services? Does your local or parent club support canine health research, rescue, etc.? This is good news that should be shared.
Take steps to ensure that the press and your elected officials, law enforcement authorities, and policymakers are aware of the tremendous knowledge and value your AKC club brings to your community! Getting involved is important because even a well-meaning legislature can unwittingly enact policy that can have devastating repercussions on dog owners. AKC GR can assist you with outreach to legislators—please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A great example of this in action was the Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland, who hosted their first ‘Maryland Canines at the Capitol’ in late February. Responsible Maryland dog owners, breeders, and trainers were on hand to answer questions about purebred dogs. They enthusiastically provided policymakers with facts about the positive impact dog owners, breeders and club have in their communities. They also provided examples of AKC and Maryland dog clubs promote responsible dog ownership and advance the wellbeing of dogs throughout the state.
Overall, having your club represented at your state’s capital is a great way to showcase all the great things you are doing and introduce yourself to legislators as a subject expert on dogs. And remember, money talks, so when you are meeting with your legislator, make sure to use the new 2018 State Economic Impact of Dog Show Statistics. These statistics demonstrate the tangible impact that dog shows and purebred dog owners have on a state and local community.
Also this month, AKC was represented at the Kansas Pet Professional’s Day at the Capitol in Topeka. During the day, there were numerous conversations about past and future legislation and great contacts were made. AKC GR staff also participated in the Missouri Pet Breeders Association annual conference, giving a presentation about legislative trends and issues, and networking with breeders in the region.
We welcome the opportunity to work with you to help you reach out to your elected officials and educate them about the positive impact of supporting purebred dog owners and responsible breeders.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact us at 919-816-3720 or email@example.com if we can be of assistance in helping you or your club present a positive message to your lawmakers.