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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is pleased to announce that State Representative John T. O’Connor of New Hampshire will be presented with the 2018 AKC Legislator of the Year Award for New Hampshire. Angela Ferrari, Legislative Chair for AKC’s New Hampshire federation, the Dog Owners of the Granite State (D.O.G.S.), will present the award later this month.

“D.O.G.S. is grateful to the many state legislators who worked tirelessly this past year to ensure responsible canine legislation” said Ferrari. “However, special thanks are being sent to Chairman O’Connor for his leadership, professionalism, and advocacy on behalf of all responsible dog owners and purebred breeders in New Hampshire.”

“Representative O’Connor’s leadership continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to responsible dog ownership,” said Sheila Goffe, Vice President of Government Relations for the AKC. “We appreciate the tremendous good he does for dogs and dog owners in New Hampshire.”

Representative O’Connor serves as Chairman of the Environment and Agriculture Committee. This past legislative session, Chair O’Connor’s committee significantly amended a bill that otherwise would have imposed potentially unconstitutional bond-for-care requirements for anyone accused of animal cruelty – regardless of a finding of guilt. The troublesome measure also would have expanded the state’s definition of ‘commercial kennel’ to include certain traditionally non-commercial dog enthusiasts, owners, and hobby breeders.

Representative O’Connor helped ensure that the final bill – which passed the New Hampshire General Court with the support of the American Kennel Club and D.O.G.S — was constitutional, effective, and fair. He is also currently serving on a commission established by the Governor to examine what changes need to be made to the state’s animal cruelty and neglect laws. John T. O’Connor represents Rockingham 6, and was first elected to the chamber in 2010. He has owned Newfoundlands.