On Sunday and Monday, the Government Relations Team held its national legislative conference in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington DC.
Approximately 50 legislative liaisons, federation leaders, AKC club members, and dog owners and advocates from across the United States traveled to Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC, to attend the AKC Government Relations event.
The 2-day conference is designed to empower attendees with tools, resources, and information to be effective advocates for dogs in their local communities, and also to network and share ideas.
Sunday featured a full day of networking and educational activities in Alexandria, Virginia. On Monday, the event moved to Washington, DC, with additional programs and presentations.
Conference topics and speakers included:
- Preservation Breeding: Celebrating Our Heritage and Our Story – Bill Shelton
- National Purebred Dog Day: Starting a National Movement to Support Purebred Dogs- Susi Szeremy, Founder of National Purebred Dog Day
- Developing an Animal Rights Response Kit – Marla Calico, President & CEO, National Association of Fairs and Exhibitions
- A Dangerous Partnership: Animal Fanatics & Law Enforcement – Linda Chezem, Esq.
- Policy Challenges and Updates from the Canadian Kennel Club – Sarah McDowell, Canadian Kennel Club
- The Animal Welfare Act: Regulatory Updates from the USDA – Dr. Gerald Rushin, USDA APHIS
AKC staff also provided information on legislative trends and updates, details on the animal rights agenda and how to fight it, and using social media effectively.
Dr. Diane Brown, CEO of the AKC Canine Health Foundation provided the attendees with updates on the latest in peer-reviewed canine health research, how AKC CHF is making a difference in the health of dogs, and the intersection between health and public policy issues including threats from diseases and parasites related to irresponsible pet imports.
After the conference concluded, many attendees put these new tools into practice by walking to Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional representatives. In the evening, attendees participated in a Congressional reception where lawmakers and staff came to meet a variety of purebred dogs.
“AKC legislative conferences are a great and unique opportunity for participants from across the country to come together, learn new information, share ideas, and network with others who, like them, are fighting every day in their local communities on behalf of their dogs, breeding programs, and our sport,” said Sheila Goffe, Vice President, AKC Government Relations. “We thank all our speakers and attendees who made this such a dynamic event, and we look forward to continuing to work together in this important fight.”