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The American Kennel Club™ (AKC), the largest purebred registry in the world and leading advocate for dogs, has presented Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker with the AKC “Top Dog” Leadership award in recognition of his advocacy for ensuring proper care and conditions at animal welfare facilities in the state.

The AKC recognizes Governor Baker for his leadership in promulgating regulations to establish standards relating to the importation, handling, and care of animals in connection with their placement by rescue and shelter organizations in Massachusetts.  Although these organizations were required under an Executive Order to register with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, there were no uniform guidelines to be followed. The regulatory package will reduce euthanasia of adoptable pets by, improving pet health and welfare and reducing infectious and zoonotic disease transmission, and end irresponsible practices like placing dangerous dogs with the public.

The new rules require annual registration, basic sanitary conditions, core vaccinations prior to importation, record keeping; and adopters may return animals for a full refund of the adoption fee if a medical condition or behavior issue not disclosed is discovered by a veterinarian within 14 days of placement.

Upon receiving the award, Governor Baker said, “Our administration was pleased to take these steps to help further protect animals across the Commonwealth, and I am grateful for the honor of being recognized by the American Kennel Club with this award.”

The nomination was made by Gale Golden, President of the Framingham District Kennel Club (FDKC), on behalf of the American Kennel Club. She emphasized, “the Governor has addressed long-standing concerns among Massachusetts dog clubs that pets imported into the state were not properly screened before re-homing.  Throughout the regulatory process the Governor’s team indicated an understanding of our concerns relative to the more than 400 registered, but unregulated animal shelter and rescue organizations in the Commonwealth. The AKC and FDKC would like to thank Governor Baker and his Administration for all the work done and recognize the Massachusetts Governor as AKC’s 2020 Executive of the Year.”

About the Award
The Top Dog leadership/Legislator of the Year award was established to honor elected officials who demonstrate a commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership, the well-being of dogs, and protecting the rights of dog owners, exhibitors, and responsible breeders.

About Governor Charles Baker
Governor Baker, a Republican, was sworn in for a second term as the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on January 3, 2019. Over the course of his career, Governor Baker has been a highly successful leader of complex business and government organizations.  On August 9, 2018, Governor Baker signed S. 2646, An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II) into law. That law built upon changes to the state’s animal cruelty laws made with passage of the PAWS (Protect Animal Welfare and Safety) Act back in 2014.