Coming off the heels of a long day of hearings, the Maryland General Assembly and staff were pleased to welcome the American Kennel Club and the Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland (RDO-MD) for the first annual “Maryland Canines at the Capitol.” The event, attended by some 200 legislators and staff, made the front page of the Capital Gazette.
LtoR: RDO-MD Members Martin Del Prince, Shellie Goldstein with Emma, Burton Goldstein with Bear, Hal Happersett with Corey and Jacob, Frank Pitelli with Molly, Ann Schultz with O'Neill, Mary Lou Olszewski, and Corissa Fanning with Arlo.
Responsible Maryland dog owners, breeders, and trainers were on hand to answer questions about purebred dogs. They enthusiastically provided policymakers with facts about the positive impact dog owners, breeders and club have in their communities. They also provided examples of AKC and Maryland dog clubs promote responsible dog ownership and advance the wellbeing of dogs throughout the state.
Of course, there were plenty of playful pups for all attendees to meet and take pictures with, including a Chesapeake Bay Retriever – the State Dog of Maryland. Attendees also met two Norwich Terriers, two registered therapy dog Shih Tzus, a rare Biewer Terrier, and a twelve-week-old Borzoi puppy. Before the event, the AKC Government Relations Department sent out invitations to legislators and staff with a biography of each dog. The bios included fun facts about the dogs and information on the breeds.
“Members of the Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland (RDO-MD), INC were thrilled to bring their dogs and discuss the importance of protecting the interests of responsible dog owners in Maryland, ” said Mary Lou Olszewski, President of RDO-MD. “Being able to tell our story is a vital part of engaging with local and state legislators, and we encourage all dog owners to volunteer to help, as strength is in numbers.”
Numerous legislators thanked the AKC and RDO-MD for coming and noted the calming effect that dogs had on them (some asking if we would come back the next day, so they could pet dogs again!)
With several dog-related bills currently up for consideration in Maryland, the event provided an excellent opportunity to educate attendees about how well-intended bills can severely impact responsible dog owners and dog sports and even threaten the future of purpose-bred dogs.
RDO-MD and AKC also provided legislators with information on the economic impact of dog events and how both organizations can be a resource for dog issues in Maryland.
“The first Canines at the Capitol event in Maryland was a tremendous success,” said AKC Government Relations Director Jennifer Clark. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to the Maryland General Assembly the many ways dogs enrich our lives, and the many things AKC and RDO-MD do on behalf of dogs and dog owners in the state.”