For the past several years, legislation has been introduced in Iowa that would further expand some of the most restrictive dog breeding rules in the country. A dedicated group of Iowa breeders and club members have joined together and been working tirelessly to share the other side of the story – all the ways responsible breeders make a positive difference in the lives of dogs, dog owners, and the state as a whole.

On February 4, the group hosted a day at the state capitol to share this message and let legislators understand how the bills introduced once again this year would negatively impact breeders’ ability to responsibly raise and breed dogs, and also how responsible breeders benefit the state in many ways.

 As a part of this event, the group presented AKC Legislator of the Year Awards to State Senators Dennis Guth and Dan Zumbach, in appreciation for their support for responsible dog breeders in Iowa.

“[We] were very proud to present the Legislator of the Year Award to Iowa Senators Dennis Guth and Dan Zumbach…,” said Cedar Rapids Kennel Association member David McDonald. “Both senators have been strong advocates of responsible dog breeders and owners in Iowa and show a dedication to legislation that allows for the continued support of our purpose-bred purebred dogs.”

Events such as the one hosted in Des Moines are important in allowing breeders, hobbyists and exhibitors to develop relationships with legislators and make sure they are not only hearing from those who seek to restrict their rights.

“More than ever it is important to form personal, on-going relationships with your state and local officials even if there isn’t legislation pending,” McDonald said. “Take back the conversation from those that wish to restrict your rights to own, breed, and exhibit dogs. Make them aware of the good services we provide to the dog-owning public in promoting responsible ownership and breeding as well as our ongoing commitment to humane treatment of the animals in our care.”

The AKC Legislator of the Year Award (also known as the James S. Holt Memorial Award for Promotion of Responsible Dog Ownership in Legislation) honors legislators who demonstrate a commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership, the well-being of dogs, and protecting the rights of dog owners, exhibitors, and responsible breeders. It was established in 2009 in memory of the late James S. Holt, who served as an AKC Delegate, Board member and federal legislative consultant.

Header photo: Larissa Wurm