Atlanta, GA – The American Kennel Club (AKC) honored Georgia Senator Bill Heath with the AKC Legislator of the Year Award on January 12, 2017 in recognition of his dedication to protecting the wellbeing of dogs and the rights of responsible dog owners and sportsmen.

The AKC Legislator of the Year award honors legislators who demonstrate a commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership, the wellbeing of dogs, and the rights of dog owners, exhibitors, and responsible breeders.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the American Kennel Club”, said Senator Bill Heath. “The issue of responsible dog ownership and ensuring the rights of responsible dog owners is important me and to all responsible sportsmen.”

“Senator Heath is a champion of common sense solutions that protect the welfare of dogs and ensure that animal cruelty and negligence laws are enforced,” said Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President of Government Relations, who presented the award at a celebration of Georgia Sportsmen’s Day at the state capitol.

“It is especially appropriate to honor Senator Heath on Georgia Sportsmen’s Day for his work to protect the future of — and our ability to own, breed, and train — man’s best friend –and favorite hunting companion,” Goffe said.

Senator Heath, who represents Georgia’s 31st Senate District, was also recognized for his support of responsible dog ownership by the Georgia Canine Coalition, an organization made up of thousands of Georgia citizens, voters, and dog lovers whose mission is to advance and protect responsible dog ownership in Georgia through education, communication and legislation.

Gail LaBerge, President of the Coalition, noted that GCC members value the Senator’s responsiveness and rational approach to their concerns. “He brings a reasonable approach to supporting responsible, enforceable canine-related legislation.  We appreciate his willingness to work with those who are concerned with animal welfare.”