The Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs (PFDC) recently held their annual meeting in New Holland, Pennsylvania.
Instead of a typical meeting held in a restaurant or hotel conference room, this year the federation decided to try something different and held the meeting “down on the farm” in Lancaster County, PA. The day started with a tour of three kennels where attendees were shown what best practices each has implemented to maintain compliance with the licensing requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (BDLE) and the USDA.
Jonathan Stanley, PFDC board member and a breeder himself, said, “I really enjoyed getting to visit the three different kennels and seeing how others deal with the many compliance issues we breeders face.” While Stanley breeders Labradors, he commented that “it is neat to see how breeders of smaller dogs handle some of the issues I face and the solutions they have implemented.”
After the tour, attendees were treated by the breeders to a home cooked meal featuring a variety of local Lancaster County, PA fare.
During the meeting itself, Pennsylvania State Representative David Zimmerman provided a legislative update. He urged club members and professional breeders to work together to advocate for dogs and their responsible owners. He reminded the group that those who are more concerned about animal rights instead of animal welfare never miss a chance to be vocal.
Matt Osenbach, Legislative Director for PA State Senator Gene Yaw, spoke about SB 907, which seeks to establish an Animal Welfare Board in the Commonwealth and includes representatives from the American Kennel Club, the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs, and the Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation. Osenbach discussed unsuccessful efforts of animal rights activist groups to get the bill amended to add their activists to the board.
Charley Hall, AKC Mid-Atlantic Legislative Analyst/Community Outreach Coordinator reminded the group that “dog owners and breeders are being challenged as never before by the introduction of legislation that could change our way of life.” He pointed out that while “AKC works hard to protect your rights, we can’t do it alone” and reminded them that “some of our greatest assets are the AKC state federations.” Hall finished by stating, “Working with AKC GR, responsible breeders and dog owners can be sure that they have a voice advocating for them and fighting harmful legislation at the federal, state, or local level.”
The meeting also featured speakers from the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs and representatives of both Pennsylvania Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) and the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association (PPDBA).
We encourage you to visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center at www.akcgr.org to view our latest resources and information about how to be a voice for dogs in your community. Resources include talking points about key legislative issues and advocacy tools you can share with fellow breeders, owners, and club members. AKC GR’s regional staff can help facilitate meetings with lawmakers and staff for dog breeders and owners and help arrange invitations to events and facilities tours.
If you would like a member of the AKC GR team to speak to your club or attend an event to share resources and discuss how we can work together to be effective advocates for dogs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.