Since 2012, the AKC Government Relations team has hosted Conferences on Canine Legislation for AKC legislative liaisons and state federation leaders. The popular biennial conference brings together in Raleigh, North Carolina, grassroots leaders from across the country — from as far as Hawaii to Maine Raleigh, North Carolina for two days of training and networking.
As part of AKC GR’s initiative to expand personalized outreach throughout the country, and to focus on region-specific needs and issues, the GR team took the show in January with a first-of-its-kind Regional Legislative Conference.
The new regional conference is designed to bring together club members, dog fanciers, and other allied groups in a specific region to provide them with information and resources about legislative trends and proposals specifically impacting them. “This is an opportunity for participants to access new information and insights about national and regional trends, and to discuss how we can work together to protect our rights and the future of responsible dog ownership and breeding in the region,” said Sheila Goffe, Vice President, AKC Government Relations.
Approximately 80 people participated in AKC’s New England Legislative Conference in Boxborough, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2017.
Lively discussion about personal experiences and specific policy concerns followed each of the presentations, which included:
- Working Together to Fight Anti-Dog/Anti-Breeder Legislation, by Sheila Goffe, AKC Government Relations Vice President.
- Engaging Members in Effective Advocacy and Networking, by Phil Guidry, AKC Government Relations Sr. Policy Analyst.
- My Road to Advocacy, by Nancy Fisk, AKC Delegate, Hockamock Kennel Club.
- Animal Welfare and Importation in New England-The Cognitive Dissonance of Dog Trafficking and Anti-Breeder Policy, by Dr. Arnold Goldman, DVM, Connecticut Federation of Dog Clubs.
- A Path to Community Involvement, Engagement, and Club Enhancement by Christopher Sweetwood, AKC Delegate, Trap Falls Kennel Club.
- Building Relations, by Jeffrey Ball, AKC Delegate, Ramapo Kennel Club; President, New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs.
- A Legislator’s Perspective: Why Legislators Need to Hear from You, by The Hon. Janice Gardner, AKC Delegate, Rockingham County Kennel Club.
- Regional Legislative Overview and Group Work Sessions, led by AKC staff. This program outlined legislation that had been recently introduced in New England and compared it with similar legislation from around the country. Legislative language, trends, tactics and approaches for were discussed.
Phil Guidry, AKC Government Relations Senior Policy Analyst commented, “we got down to the nitty-gritty on policy issues that often divide fanciers and other groups. It was great to see advocates from diverse backgrounds pledge to work together to defend against radical animal legislation that’s plaguing New England, and starting to afflict the whole country.”
“Our dedicated attendees engaged in inspired discussion. We look forward to seeing all that these advocates will achieve legislatively in their communities,” Sheila Goffe added.
The Government Relations team will host additional regional legislative conferences throughout the country this year and in coming years.