Shouldering bright blue tote bags with the American Kennel Club logo prominently displayed on the side, AKC Legislative Liaisons from across the country ascended the steps of Capitol Hill on September 29th, ready to bring the fancy's concerns to Congress. The Hill visits were the culmination of this year's Lobby Day, an event hosted by the AKC's Canine Legislation department in an effort to increase our organization's visibility in the Capitol. With many purebred dog owners calling on their Senators and Congressmen at the same time, Lobby Day served as an effective, coordinated way of raising awareness about the fancy's federal legislative agenda.
Attendees at this year's Lobby Day were chosen in recognition of their commitment to responsible dog ownership and to reasonable, effective canine legislation. The two-day event began with an afternoon training workshop that was held at the Lowes L'Enfant Plaza Hotel. Following an afternoon of issue briefing and instructional presentations, Legislative Liaisons enjoyed cocktails and dinner at the hotel, compliments of AKC. The following morning, fanciers received last-minute instructions for their upcoming appointments with Members of Congress over breakfast. Then they headed off enthusiastically to their meetings carrying materials and issue sheets outlining AKC's position on key federal concerns. These materials, along with responsible dog ownership leashes, were left behind with the Senators and Congressman to serve as future reminders that AKC and the purebred dog fancy are invaluable resources when it comes to canine legislation and animal welfare issues.
Fanciers' presentations to legislators and their staff were extremely well-received. Many Legislative Liaisons felt positive about having secured support for several of AKC's issues, while others were pleased to have simply put those concerns on their legislators' radar screens, laying the groundwork for future lobbying efforts. Regardless of their outcome, these Hill visits made AKC and the purebred dog fancy more visible to Congress, in effect personalizing our sport.
When Lobby Day attendees said goodbye to Washington on Wednesday afternoon, they may have left materials behind, but they took home a great deal more: new information and ideas to share with fellow fanciers, fresh contacts in their Congressional offices, a new network of colleagues to call on for help with canine legislation, and, hopefully, a renewed energy and enthusiasm to continue their outstanding lobbying efforts. Lobby Day 2004 took the American Kennel Club's legislative program to a new level, and we extend our appreciation to everyone who helped make it possible.
For more in-depth coverage of AKC's Lobby Day 2004, please visit the article Fanciers Head to Capitol Hill.
Click on the images below for an inside look at this year's event!
AKC’s Canine Legislation department hosts Lobby Day on the Hill…