Last week, thousands of state legislators and staff from across the country attended the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) annual summit, in Denver, Colorado. Once again, the AKC Government Relations booth proved to be one of the most popular exhibitors at the conference.
AKC has been participating in the NCSL annual summit for more than 20 years. This year’s event, attended by over 5,000 legislators, staff, guests, and government relations professionals, was held at the Colorado Convention Center with over 300 different organizations exhibiting. The event provides the opportunity to meet with legislators and staff, demonstrate AKC’s policy expertise and resources, and to help legislators provide effective, positive solutions to dog issues in their states.
AKC Director of Legislative Outreach Jennifer Clark and Research Analyst Melissa Ferrell represented AKC Government Relations and provided a wealth of materials that demonstrated AKC’s expertise, commitment to responsible dog ownership and breeding, policy solutions, and the many programs and resources AKC offers legislators and the general public.
The informative, positive atmosphere of the booth was once again a big hit with attendees. Several animal rights groups were also in attendance, but the breadth of information AKC provided, combined with the balance between education and policy solutions, made the booth stand out with attendees. Legislators and staff came over to discuss topics ranging from detailed legislative and policy issues, to complementing the AKC on its great work, to asking if they could share a photo of their dog.
Many legislators wanted to discuss their state’s cruelty laws and ensure they were, in their words “doing enough” to prevent animal cruelty in their state. This provided an excellent opportunity for AKC to discuss the importance of balancing laws with public education to promote responsible dog ownership and finding the right dog for individual families and lifestyles.
Every year, numerous repeat attendees stop by to visit and talk about dogs. A legislator from Missouri stopped by just to show the picture of his new Boxer puppy so we could share in his joy. A legislative staffer from New York showed us a video of his beloved border collie, who he and his wife chose after doing their research on AKC’s web site. “I just stopped by to thank you,” he said. “She’s just perfect for us!”
“NCSL is an important and unique opportunity to communicate directly with state lawmakers and staff across the country and convey that AKC is THE expert on any dog issue,” said Jennifer Clark, AKC Director of Legislative Outreach. “People are drawn to our friendly, welcoming booth, and stay to discuss dog issues that are important to them and their community. Each year we are proud to continue to demonstrate that AKC has reasonable, effective solutions to truly benefit the lives of dogs across the country.”