Earlier this week, the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) held their 87th Annual Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. For the first time, the American Kennel Club Government Relations Department (AKC GR) participated in this conference that brings together county leaders from across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In many local jurisdictions across America, the number of dog laws being proposed continues to increase, making it even more important for the AKC and local clubs to become more proactive in education and outreach to local officials. One way to provide this education and outreach is by participating in the annual statewide conferences of counties, cities, and other municipalities.
During the VACo conference, many county leaders from across Virginia visited the AKC booth. Lawmaker visits underscore the value of AKC’s expertise on dogs and dog policy, and provide opportunities for them to promote responsible dog ownership in their communities. Many attendees stopped by to ask questions and discuss a variety of dog-related issues in their counties. Several of the elected decisions makers thanked AKC GR for attending the conference and were delighted to learn that AKC can provide them with assistance and valuable expertise for considering or establishing dog related policy in their counties.
As usual when AKC GR attends a conference for law and policy makers, the booth was set up to encourage attendees to stop and talk about dogs and to promote responsible dog ownership in their counties. In addition, be it an Australian Cattle Dog, Basenji, Beagle, Labrador Retriever, Pug, Rottweiler, or a mixed breed, attendees also enjoyed stopping by to share stories, photos, or an occasional video of their beloved companion and talking about responsible dog ownership.
When asked why the American Kennel Club was participating as an exhibitor at the VACo conference, Charley Hall, AKC Legislative Analyst/Community Outreach Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region stated: “More and more, county officials and those at the local level are being asked to pass complex ordinances and set policy related to dogs and dog ownership. AKC’s presence at this conference allows us to share our expertise and establish the American Kennel Club as a resource to assist communities in navigating demands for dog laws, while also establishing positive and reasonable canine policy that protects dogs and responsible owners.”