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The American Kennel Club® (AKC) presented New Hampshire Senator Howard Pearl on November 4, 2023, with the 2023 AKC Legislator of the Year award in recognition of his advocacy for fair and balanced legislation for responsible dog owners.

The award was presented by Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President of Government Relations (GR), noting Pearl “has done more for responsible dog owners than any other elected official in New Hampshire over the past four years.”

Elected to the New Hampshire State Senate in 2022 after serving three terms in the NH House of Representatives, he currently is Chair of the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee and Vice-Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is responsible for considering a multitude of agriculture-related issues, including all animal welfare legislation.

During 2021, then-Representative Pearl sponsored HB 250, proposed by AKC GR and New Hampshire Dog Owners of the Granite State (NH DOGS), to increase the number of dogs transferred annually from 25 to 35 before requiring a state pet vendor license.  As Chair of the House Environment and Agriculture committee, he negotiated other groups’ support to increase the transfers to 30 and successfully got the measure signed into law.

This year, Senator Pearl led the charge to amend SB 164, which would have authorized entering into private contracts for “guardianship” appointments to preserve the rights of domestic animals and wild animals.  AKC, NH DOGS, and multiple stakeholders advocated for the removal of the guardianship provisions of the bill. Senator Pearl convinced three of his four colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that had already co-sponsored the measure to remove the guardianship text before approving the bill’s other provisions last February.

AKC’s Goffe added, “Representative Pearl has been incredibly effective in working to protect the rights of responsible dog owners in New Hampshire. He has worked tirelessly with committee members to ensure that onerous animal rights bills were voted inexpedient to legislate, and that balanced legislation is passed. We are pleased to honor his unwavering commitment to dogs and their owners.”

Upon receiving the award, Senator Pearl remarked, “I am honored to receive the Legislator of the Year award from the AKC. I appreciate the recognition of my efforts to preserve animal husbandry. The AKC shares the same priorities to sustain this longstanding tradition in New Hampshire.”