American Kennel Club Brings New Leading Lawyer Amid COVID-19 Pet Boom



  • The American Kennel Club hosts the national championship
  • Dog show
  • Heather McManus has been with the organization for almost 30 years

(Reuters) – Heather McManus has been promoted to general counsel for the American Kennel Club, which has seen a steady increase in canine membership numbers as pet purchases and adoptions have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Kennel Club, which bills itself as “the world’s largest purebred registry and the leading advocate for all dogs,” McManus’ promotion announced Friday. The New York-based organization is known for hosting events like the National Championship Dog Show, providing resources for pet owners, and supporting pro-canine public policy.

In addition to handling the influx of new members, as homebound Americans have rushed to adopt dogs, the AKC is pushing its way through a backlog of events delayed by COVID-19.

There were a number of legal issues to juggle when coordinating the organization’s events, according to Brandi Munden, the club’s vice president of public relations and communications.

Throughout the pandemic, the AKC did not have spectators at dog shows and there was a “show and go” policy for competitors. The organization was tasked with balancing state, local and federal laws, which were constantly changing, McManus said, and now they’re making up for lost time.

McManus spent nearly 30 years as internal counsel at the AKC and was appointed vice president and deputy general counsel in 2017, the organization said. Former AKC general counsel Jay Waks, who is a retired partner of Kaye Scholer, left at the end of 2020.

McManus said that although her title is new, she has been running the legal department for almost a year now.

“I am just looking forward to continuing to do the work I have been doing and supporting the important work of the dedicated AKC employees as well as what we call ‘the fancy’ – the people who attend the events of the AKC. AKC, “she said.

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