Maryland Legislators and Staff Declare Canines at the Capitol the “Best Day Ever”

2020-03-20 | AKC Government Relations Department

Coming on 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 second annual “Maryland Canines at the Capitol”.  The March 4 event, attended by some 300 legislators, staff, and visitors, caused a huge buzz and excitement leading up to the day from those who attended last year.

Maryland dog owners, breeders, and sportsmen were on hand to answer questions about purebred dogs and what makes their breed so special. They enthusiastically provided policymakers with facts about the positive impact dog owners, breeders, and clubs have in their communities. They also provided examples of how AKC and Maryland dog clubs promote responsible dog ownership and educational opportunities to advance the wellbeing of dogs throughout the state.

There were plenty of playful puppies on hand for attendees to meet and take pictures with, including two Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies (the state dog of Maryland), a Pharaoh Hound puppy, and a Chinese Shar-Pei puppy. In addition to the puppies, attendees had the chance to meet two Biewer Terriers, a Samoyed, a Norwich Terrier, a Borzoi, a Labrador Retriever, an Irish Terrier, a 2-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and an English Foxhound.

 “After a successful event last year, the Responsible Dog Owners of Maryland (RDO-MD), were thrilled to return to the State Capitol to meet with legislators and their staff about responsible dog ownership,” said Mary Lou Olszewski, President of RDO-MD. “Being able to talk about our experiences and discuss the importance of purebred dogs and dog clubs in Maryland is a vital part of our Federation’s mission of protecting the dogs and the sports we love so much.”

Numerous legislators thanked the AKC and RDO-MD for coming and noted the calming effect that dogs had on them. Some even asked if AKC and RDO-MD could come back the pet dogs again for more canine “therapy” sessions

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 create unintended consequences that harm responsible dog owners and dog sports and even threaten the future of purpose-bred dogs.

RDO-MD and AKC Government Relations staff 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. 

On the days surrounding the event, AKC GR staff met with 32 Legislative 

offices and spoke with either members of the General Assembly or their staff.  The time was spent sharing information about AKC and AKC dog clubs, and discussing the many programs AKC and clubs offer as well as providing information on how RDO-MD and AKC can serve as a resource for dog issues in Maryland.

During the meetings, participants also talked about legislation currently before the General Assembly and were successful in encouraging the sponsor of a tethering bill in extreme conditions to amend it to exempt dogs that are actively engaged in activities associated with agriculture, hunting, sporting, and recreational events as well as training for such activities.

“Throughout the event and meetings, AKC was well-received. Members and staff were eager to share about their own pets and interested to learn about all the resources AKC and our clubs offer,” said Charley Hall, AKC Legislative Analyst/Community Outreach Coordinator for the region. “We look forward to continuing to work together with legislators and clubs on policies and programs that benefit dogs and dog owners in the state.”


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