The American Kennel Club recently announced that Barbara Wicklund of the Berkshire Valley Basset Hound Club and Donna Herzig of the Louisville Kennel Club have been honored with Community Achievement Awards for the third quarter of 2011.
The AKC Community Achievement Awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts of AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who promote purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership.
Barbara Wicklund of the Berkshire Valley Basset Hound Club (BVBHC) serves as the Legislative Liaison for BVBHC and as a director of the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs. In these roles, she travels to Trenton to testify before committees of the state legislature, represents the federation as a member of the Governor’s Domestic Companion Animal Council, and communicates the concerns of dog owners to Department of Health & Senior Services officials. She monitors legislation on behalf of BVBHC and reports issues of concern to club members.
At every opportunity, Ms. Wicklund works to educate the public about characteristics of the Basset Hound by presenting informational booths at AKC Canine Experience matches, RDO Days, AKC Meet the Breeds, and area kennel club events. She responds to telephone inquiries and shares her knowledge of breed traits with potential new owners so they may learn about the breed prior to acquiring a Basset Hound.
Ms. Wicklund worked tirelessly to raise funds for the legal defense of a Basset Hound owner whose dogs were seized under cruelty charges that were subsequently dropped. She has continued to work with the dog owner and legal counsel in their efforts to fund and pursue a civil suit, which club members anticipate “could have a positive impact on legislation and the rights of dog owners throughout the country.”
Donna Herzig of the Louisville Kennel Club (LKC) is honored for her work against anti-dog legislation and her leadership of LKC’s educational and fund raising activities on behalf of the community.
Ms. Herzig has worked diligently in response to oppressive state legislation, and in conjunction with their lobbyist defeated every anti-dog bill introduced in 2009 and 2010. Coalitions established with the League of Kentucky Sportsmen, Kentucky Houndsmen, Horse Council, Cattle Ranchers, Pork Producers, Poultry Producers, Soy Bean Farmers and Farm Bureau have been instrumental in their success. LKC challenged the 2006 Louisville Dog Ordinance in federal court and prevailed against several sections of that draconian ordnance.
Following the tragedy of 9/11, Ms. Herzig was contacted by the Louisville Metro Police K-9 unit, which was seeking assistance to replace bomb-sniffing dogs. Through her efforts and those of other Louisville Kennel Club (LKC) members, the club committed to purchase a dog and establish a fund to acquire dogs and equipment. The K-9 unit participates in LKC dog shows and RDO Days with drug-sniffing demonstrations and educational booths. This partnership has contributed to the safety of the community and raised awareness about the importance of working canines.
Recognizing that youth are the future of the sport, LKC encourages junior handlers to earn placements throughout the year to qualify for a special weekend event that includes handling seminars and judging. The finalists receive prizes and scholarships of $1000 for first place, $500 for second, and $250 for third and fourth.
In support of the AKC Canine Partners program, Ms. Herzig worked with the LKC to host the “Shelter Dog Olympics,” which received local and national publicity. The club also hosts a gala and auction on alternate years in support of Take the Lead, an organization that provides direct services, support and care for people in the sport of purebred dogs who suffer the devastation of life-threatening or terminal illness.
Among many other activities, LKC partners with other organizations to benefit the community. Members worked with No Kill Louisville to set up a food bank for pets and fund low cost spay/neuter programs. In a program that benefits Kentucky Harvest, a local food bank and soup kitchen, LKC offers a dollar off admission to the March dog show to spectators who donate two cans of food.
“We congratulate Donna Herzig, Barbara Wicklund and their clubs for their educational outreach, legislative action, and community involvement. Their achievements highlight the positive impact that active, involved individuals can make at the state and local levels,” said Sheila Goffe, AKC Director of Canine Legislation.
Nominations for the AKC Community Achievement Award are accepted year-round. Honorees receive a certificate of appreciation and a $1,000 check payable to the AKC club’s or AKC-recognized federation’s public education and canine legislation efforts. For the fourth quarter awards, AKC clubs, federations and their members who host AKC RDO Day events during the month of September are eligible for nomination. Click here for additional information and a nomination form.