Last week, hundreds of Great Dane owners, exhibitors and breeders traveled to the South Carolina coast to celebrate their breed at the Great Dane Club of America National Specialty.
As part of this week-long event, AKC Government Relations provided a seminar on how Great Dane clubs and owners could be effective advocates and make a big impact in their local community on behalf of the sport and their beloved large dogs.
The theme of the national specialty was “Generations”. At the beginning of the presentation, Jennifer Clark, AKC Director of Legislative Outreach, asked the attendees to raise their hand if they had been involved in the sport and the breed for at least 20 years, then 30 years, then 40 years. She then reminded them that this demonstrated that just in that room there were centuries of experience in dog breeding, care, and training – and that is a tremendous asset that needs to be communicated to legislators in order to ensure that breeding and showing can continue for generations to come. The legislators are currently hearing from animal rights activists, but not from those with the expertise, facts, and science to truly help create good policies to benefit dogs.
The seminar included current legislative issues impacting hobbyists and exhibitors and the Great Dane breed, and then a number of suggestions and guidelines on effective communication and advocacy. This included a discussion on community involvement and introducing local clubs to their lawmakers, as well as the importance of contributing to the AKC Political Action Committee to support dog-friendly lawmakers.
After the seminar, several attendees expressed an interest in sharing links from the Legislative Action Center on their club websites and social media. One attendee confessed that she wasn’t sure at first if this seminar was necessary, but came at the urging of a fellow exhibitor. “Now I understand,” she exclaimed after the meeting. “I definitely want our local lawmakers to come to our next show, so they can see what we are all about!”
AKC Government Relations has a number of resources available in the AKC Legislative Action Center (www.akcgr.org) to help clubs and dog owners. Be sure to check out the toolbox and Key Issues pages for the latest fact sheets, sample letters and other resources available to share with lawmakers and with fellow dog owners.
If your club is interested in having a virtual seminar with AKC Government Relations to learn about advocacy, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.