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New York, NY — The American Kennel Club (AKC) announced today that the Antelope Valley Kennel Club (AVKC), of Lancaster, California, has been named a recipient of the AKC Community Achievement Award for over 50 years of service and dedication to its community. Since its establishment in 1955, the club has served and supported its community through dog show events, clinics, seminars, matches, and donations.

The AKC Community Achievement Awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts of AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who promote purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership.

Prompted by the devastating fires in California in 2003 and 2004, the Antelope Valley Kennel Club decided to donate canine oxygen masks to all the fire stations located in the Antelope Valley area. The breathing apparatuses are used for dogs working in emergency areas and also for pets injured in accidents and fires. The masks were delivered to 27 firehouses in July 2005 and were enthusiastically received by the firefighters.

The donation brought a wave of positive attention to the AVKC. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors publicly honored club members for their generosity, and the story was widely reported in newspapers and on local TV news shows.

“Somehow it was spread on the web, and other organizations liked the concept and decided to look into providing the same equipment to firefighters in their communities,” said Linda Sanchez, AVKC Corresponding Secretary.

“The Antelope Valley Kennel Club has earned much respect exposing and resolving a concern that had received little attention,” said Noreen Baxter, AKC’s Vice President of Communications. “As a result of this club’s leadership, other clubs have followed their lead and started similar programs. The American Kennel Club salutes AVKC for its dedication to the canine community.”

Nominations for the AKC Community Achievement Awards are accepted year-round. Up to three honorees are named each quarter. They receive a certificate and a $1,000 check payable to the club or federation’s public education and canine legislation efforts. To nominate a club, visit Community Achievement Award.


The club is being recognized by the LAFD for their contributions with a County Proclamation approved by an order of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles, California.

(woman) Betty McGehee, AVKC Director

(gentleman in AVKC jacket far right) Adrian Sanchez, AVKC President

(gentleman in suit) Supervisor LA County 4th District, Mike Antonovich

(far left) Capt.. Bill Monohan , LA County Fire Department with FEMA Certified Fire Dog Hunter

also, Battalion Chief Mark Bennett, also of the LA Fire Department