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Legislative Action Center

AKC Presents Michael Houchard With Bebout Legislative Leadership Award
January 13, 2023 by AKC Government Relations

Legislative expert and American Kennel Club Delegate Michael Houchard was awarded the AKC’s Bebout Memorial Award for Legislative Leadership at the AKC Delegates quarterly meeting in December in Orlando, Florida.     

Houchard is a long-time member of the Conyers (GA) Kennel Club, and has served as their AKC Delegate for more than 15 years. He has also been involved in legislative activities for more than 50 years. During his career as a Senior Federal Executive with the U.S. Department of Labor, he served in a variety of related roles, including as a Congressional Liaison and on task forces advising the administration on legislation and legislative proposals. 

“Michael Houchard is truly one of our unsung heroes”, said Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President, Government Relations. “He has extensive knowledge and background in government and legislation and has used his knowledge to make a positive difference for dogs, and to educate others on how they too can make a difference.” 

A few of Houchard’s many contributions include:

  • He developed and recorded the presentation All Politics is Local  that is a key educational tool in the AKC Government Relations library.
  • He is an active member of the Georgia Canine Coalition, AKC’s state federation for Georgia
  • He is a founding and continuing leader of the AKC Delegates Legislative Caucus, which discusses and educates AKC delegates about legislative issues every quarter. 

But perhaps most exceptional is the important work he does quietly, behind the scenes for dogs in his own state and community, said Goffe. 

 “Earlier this year, Mike worked one-on-one with the chairman of the Georgia Senate Rules Committee, who had sponsored one of the most egregious anti-breeder bills we’ve seen. Mike explained the many concerns with the bill to the sponsor and convinced him to amend it with AKC’s model consumer protection language instead. In achieving this, Mike protected dog owners and breeders from extreme legislation, protected the senator from supporting a problematic and potentially embarrassing bill, and made a new legislative friend for dogs.”   

 “I am beyond honored and pleased to present the Bebout award to Mike Houchard, Goffe said. 

Funds accompanying the award were designated to further Houchard’s work with the Georgia Canine Coalition.   

About the Bebout Award

The “Bebout” award recognizes federations and owner/breeder organizations that have demonstrated leadership in educating legislators about responsible dog ownership issues and have worked to preserve the rights of responsible owners and breeders.

Clubs or Federations Recognized by the Bebout award receive a donation to help offset the costs associated with their legislative efforts.

Do you know of a club or organization that is deserving of the Bebout award?  To learn more about the award or make a nomination, contact doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720

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