Bebout Award Presented to New Hampshire’s Dog Owners of the Granite State Federation

2020-12-31 | AKC Government Relations Department

On December 11, 2020, the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Walter Bebout Memorial Award for Leadership in Canine Legislation was presented to President Angela Ferrari and members of the New Hampshire Dog Owners of the Granite State (NH DOGS) federation.  The federation has been protecting the interests of New Hampshire pet owners since 1991. 

The nomination for the award was submitted by Erick Sawtelle, Legislative Liaison for the New Hampshire Farm Bureau, who witnessed first-hand how NH DOGS effectively organized and credibly communicated with lawmakers regarding animal husbandry practices and responsible dog ownership protocols during the 2020 legislative session, which started as scheduled in January.  By mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic upended business as usual, more than twenty bills impacting pet ownership required analysis, amendment, and testimony.

NH DOGS shared timely legislative updates with its members through a private Facebook group.  In this way, the federation’s leadership secured valuable feedback regarding specific concerns on pending legislation, while members were provided the information they needed to be engaged and empowered.  Personal stories on why these issues mattered to members proved to be powerful advocacy tools, as they also put a human face on the consequences of harmful anti-breeder and anti-ownership proposals.

Consistent with AKC and NH DOGS testimony and recommendations, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted for common sense animal welfare measures in 2020. These joint advocacy efforts further ensured the humane treatment of dogs in the Granite State. Some well-intentioned but problematic measures were also successfully defeated in 2020, ensuring dog owners retained the power to make decisions regarding appropriate veterinary care in conjunction with their dog’s veterinarian and not subject to arbitrary government regulation.

Upon accepting the award, President Ferrari stated, “I want to thank the NH DOGS members who stepped up to the plate this year.  Their hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated.  Last, but not least, we are so grateful to the legislators who listened to us and recognized the concerns that were raised.”

The American Kennel Club congratulates AKC’s New Hampshire federation, NH DOGS, and its member breeders and owners for their ongoing successful legislative advocacy.  

About the Bebout Award

The “Bebout” Award recognizes federations and owner/breeder organizations that have demonstrated leadership in educating legislators about responsible dog ownership issues and have worked to preserve the rights of responsible owners and breeders.

Clubs or federations recognized by the Bebout Award receive a donation to help offset the costs associated with their legislative efforts.

Do you know of a club or organization that is deserving of the Bebout Award?  To learn more about the award or make a nomination, contact doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720.

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