In July, the American Kennel Club Government Relations Department participated in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Annual Meeting to provide state lawmakers with information on AKC’s policy positions and initiatives on behalf of dogs. Patty Van Sicklen, AKC GR’s Southeastern Regional Manager, represented AKC at the 2021 conference. The meeting was well-attended by state lawmakers and staff in the wake of 2020’s virtual event.
The non-partisan ALEC conference offers opportunities for in-depth, one-on-one discussions with policymakers who are interested in pursuing sound animal welfare laws. Discussions covered a variety of topics, including AKC GR’s positive actions to help ensure safe and healthy international and intrastate transport for dogs offered for adoption or sale in the US, the concerning number of proposed animal laws that are not based in science, and AKC’s initiatives to end breed discrimination.
“The number, scope, and complexity of dog laws introduced at all levels of government continue to increase, which makes it mission critical for dog owners to strengthen their relationships and communication with lawmakers. AKC GR attends national conferences like this one to help emphasize that AKC and our club members are the best sources of information about dog issues,” Van Sicklen said.
ALEC events frequently are attended by legislators and staff who support the principles of limited government and free markets. Conference exhibitors and presenters represent a variety of viewpoints, and the respectful exchange of ideas is encouraged.
“Some ALEC attendees were surprised at the number of issues that affect dogs and how comprehensively AKC works on behalf of dogs and their owners. As AKC club members who work to provide public education about dogs already know, getting out facts and good information is essential to combat the misinformation that often drives bad dog laws,” Van Sicklen said. “Seeing cell phone photos and videos of legislators’ dogs—and a few cats—at the conference was a bonus!”