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The American Kennel Club (AKC) presented Massachusetts Representative Tackey Chan on March 4, 2021 with the AKC Legislator of the Year award in recognition of his advocacy for ensuring consumer protections when purchasing a pet in the state.

The award was presented by Gale Golden, President of the Framingham District Kennel Club (FDKC), noting “the Chairman was responsive to the issues presented and concerns raised before proposing a policy solution. The AKC and FDKC would like to thank Chairman Chan for all the work done and recognize him as 2020 Legislator of the Year.” The AKC recognizes Representative Chan for his leadership on providing important consumer protections for pet purchases. Having access to high quality animals through reputable and responsible channels is vital to continuing the public’s ability to access pet companionship in a safe way.

As House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Representative Chan oversaw a contentious public hearing where animal rights activists promoted a ban on retail sales of pets in the Commonwealth which would have restricted the public’s retail access to pets only from animal shelters and rescue organizations. “I share AKC’s commitment to ensuring that all owners know their furry companion’s origin and medical history from any organization that sells or donates dogs. Our consumer focus shall remain on both the welfare of the dogs and the owners who love them,” said Representative Chan.

While rescuing an animal is laudable, it can come with risks. These animals often come with unidentified health and behavioral histories that may require long-term and expensive solutions. The initial proposal would have severely limited public choice to animals only from shelter and rescue organizations, which are not the right fit for everyone.

Recognizing that allowing only a single source for pets could be problematic for consumers, Chairman Chan’s committee released a re-drafted bill, ‘An Act reforming the sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits in the Commonwealth,’ which established consumer protections for pet purchasers from multiple sources irrespective of where the public obtained the pet.

Stacey Ober, AKC Government Relations in New England, commented, “Chairman Chan is one of the most intelligent and affable lawmakers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He immediately understood that banning the sale of pets from known, regulated and inspected sources is counterintuitive.” She added, ”the consumer protections included in the committee’s re-drafted bill will dramatically improve every Massachusetts resident’s access and secures their ability to choose a pet with the predictable type, mandated care, and substantiated health backgrounds that come with purebred pets from regulated sources.”

Upon receiving the award, Representative Chan remarked, “It is an honor to be recognized by such a prestigious organization dedicated to the welfare of dogs, and I applaud their continued efforts to raise the level of awareness of proper and proven dog care.”