As the number of dog laws proposed on the local levels continue to increase, it is becoming even more essential for the AKC and local clubs to become proactive in education and outreach to local officials.
Last week, the American Kennel Club Government Relations Department (AKC GR) participated for a third year in the National Association of Counties annual conference, which brings together county leaders from across the United States.
Jennifer Clark, AKC Director of Legislative Outreach, and Robert Miller, AKC Legislative Analyst and Community Outreach Coordinator for the West Coast, represented AKC Government Relations at the 2019 conference held in Nevada.
Hundreds of county leaders visited the AKC booth over the three days of the conference. The booth emphasized that AKC is the expert on dogs and dog policy and is a tremendous resource to counties looking to promote responsible dog ownership in their communities.
Throughout the conference, county commissioners, animal control directors, administrators, and other leaders stopped by to discuss specific questions and concerns in their counties and how AKC and local clubs could work with them. The issues varied widely from concerns with dangerous dogs to concerns with irresponsible owners and breeders to a desire to build a dog park, but the message was virtually the same – animal issues are on the minds of county officials, and they are seeking expertise and advice.
Many officials who visited expressed how overwhelmed they felt when considering animal laws, and were thrilled to learn that AKC could provide them with assistance and expertise. The positive, friendly theme of the booth was a big hit with attendees and encouraged people to stop and talk about dogs and promoting responsible dog ownership in their counties (and, as always when AKC GR is hosting a booth, officials were thrilled to stop by to share photos and videos of their dogs!).
“The amount of dog laws on the local levels of government continues to increase, yet they are also some of the most challenging to address,” explained Jennifer Clark, AKC Director of Legislative Outreach. “The National Association of Counties conference gives AKC the unique and important opportunity to meet face to face with county leaders from across the country. It facilitates important discussions that allow AKC to share our expertise and develop partnerships with county leaders to provide positive, reasonable solutions for canine policy issues in their communities.”