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The American Kennel Club® announced today that Northern Neck Kennel Club (NNKC) of Virginia has been named a recipient of the AKC® Community Achievement Awards. The NNKC, recognized for its longtime dedication to educating the public about responsible dog ownership, received one of three awards this quarter – Andrew D'Ambrose of Woodbridge, Conn and Janet DiNitto of Sauquoit, NY, also received acknowledgement.

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.

The Northern Neck Kennel Club serves a rural community in a five-county area between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. According to the nominating letter, the club often partners with local businesses, animal welfare organizations, schools, libraries and hospitals to “offer a warm nose, and education on how to be your dog's best friend.”

Although every year the club stages a comprehensive AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day event, club members' efforts to spread the responsible dog ownership message are not restricted to one day. Year round, members drive long distances to educate the public on the responsibilities that come with owning a dog. Thirteen years ago, club founder Sue Anne Bangel started the NNKC therapy dog and pet education program. The club's therapy dogs visit hospitals, convalescent and retirement centers. Additionally, many dogs and handlers from the club visit schools and civic organizations to give presentations on pet care and safety, canine legislation and responsible ownership.

“Members of the Northern Neck Kennel Club have made it their responsibility to reach out and educate dog lovers in their community, no matter how far they have to travel to do so,” said Noreen Baxter, AKC's VP of Communications. “The American Kennel Club recognizes their hard work and applauds club members for doing everything in their power to make their presence known in their community.”

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