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A Tempest in the AKC Teapot


Rebecca, Irena Farm
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The AKC intends to start "branding" Petland puppies as AKC. I wish these folks luck in attempting to turn the tide on the AKC's "new direction". I say it has been many, many years since the AKC has done what it good for the AKC, not the dogs or even the breeders they are supposed to represent.

 

They need to change their slogan from "We're the dog's champion" to "We're milking as much $$ from dogs as possible."

 

>>> *****PERMISSION TO CROSS POST GRANTED*****

>>> September 13, 2006

>>> From: Sally Nist, AKC Delegate, RCKC

>>> To: Rapid City Kennel Club members

>>>

>>> This will be somewhat short as it is late and I will write a more complete report tomorrow. I am just back from the fall Delegate meeting. It began with the normal committee elections and a vote on the first proposed amendment. That was an amendment limiting outside activities by delegates. AKC said it was to assist us if we had to remove a delegate for conflict of interest but it was really setting a stage of sorts. The existing restrictions were enlarged to keep people out of the delegate body who didn't support "AKC objects".

 

Dennis Sprung and Board members explained that we could then keep "animal rights" people from "taking over the AKC".

 

After lunch came the regular reports from the Treasurer, the new archive program, etc. Buried in the Treasurer's report was a very quick mention of a "new contractual relationship" between AKC and the Petland chain of stores (120 in the US, with 20 more planned for 2007). The difference between Petland and PetSmart or PetCo is that they sell puppies at Petland.

 

During the final portion of the meeting, several delegates--who were completely caught off guard by thie news of the contract--brought up their concern and asked for more information. We were told that "we would never see the contract (which I heard from another delegate was just signed last Friday)", it is necessary for AKC to meet the bottom line, and that it was the wave of the future and we should get on board. At one point David Merriim, the attorney for AKC actually said he had not seen the contract (great boos and laughter ensued) and that if we don't work with Petland to get more dogs registered we will be looking at $75 entry fees and become an "elitist organization". NOTE: you will be able to read the full details in a couple of days on the AKC website so excuse me if my quotes are not completely accurate. They may not be 100% correct but very, very close.

 

From what we could gather from the very sketchy info parsed out by the AKC staff to the delegates, the Board of Directors and

the "Management Team" have signed a contract with Petland endorsing the sale of puppies under the AKC banner, with the Petland sales people encouraging people to register the puppies with AKC. Needless to say, all will be sold with no conditional breeding paperwork, as is done by breeders who sell directly to new owners.

 

You will see when you read the minutes on the website that the

discussion went on for a couple of hours. I was in line to speak but everyone had covered my thoughts and I stepped out. Main concerns were the breeding of these puppies, the fact that we have always put AKC above "puppy mills and puppy sales at stores", the fact that these puppies will be the rescue dogs of the future, etc. A motion was made by the Golden Retriever club delegate that the delegates vote to let the board know we want them to rescend the contract. The AKC staff kept saying that it was a "non-binding, sense of the delegation vote". It carried nearly unanimously.

 

The delegate body is stunned. Of course, by the vote earlier in the day, we are not "supporting the AKC object" but I, for one, think it is critical that if members of RCKC do not agree with this sudden and secret action taken by the AKC without any notification of the general population it supposedly supports, we must make our voices heard.

 

I suggest letters be sent to Dennis Sprung, to every member of the Board of Directors, and every single higher-level management person. Alternative ways to obtain additiional funds (which does have an $8M reserve) we might consider release of the expensive NYC property, a pay cut by AKC staff (often done in private industry to save a business), cutting Board expenses, reviewing every expense line by line, etc.

 

If you so direct, and if I am elected your delegate to the AKC (a

position I would like to hold in the upcoming year), I will vote

against every single member of the Board of Directors on this issue alone, no matter how fabulously they may have served the fancy in the past. I will carry any message to the next meeting on this matter.

 

If this is not a concern, we can move on to other issues. If the

anger expressed by delegates is representative of the anger of

concerned breeders and members of RCKC, I urge everyone to act. The contract has been signed and none of the delegates is sure if any action can change anything but we can express our outrage and the new direction AKC has taken. It began with our new embrace and acceptance of "large volumne breeders"--some might say puppy mills-- and this seems to be the final nail in the coffin to separate legitimate, concerned breeders from pet shop suppliers.

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And this is a post (names removed) I got about this meeting.

 

The info is now hitting the various email lists. The "I" and "me" in

this info is not me. I'm just helping in getting the word out.

 

I wanted to let you all know what took place today at the Delegates

Meeting, as it will be burning the wires shortly. After the lunch

break and a presentation by staff member Robin Stansell on declining

registration, Dennis Sprung, President anounced that the

Board had signed a contract with Petland Discount Pet Stores to register

the AKC puppies they sell on line when the buyer

purchases the puppy.

 

Well, let me tell you that the Delegate Body went in an uproar. Lead by

Pat Laurins and followed by Judy De Hardt, Diane Albers and several others.

Emotions were very high and Howard Falberg made a

motion (called something else, because it deals with the Board) to have the

Board rescind this contract with Petland. Dennis tried to by pass that the

Delegates wanted a vote on this right then and now. 1 vote was taken and

more than 2/3 of the Delegates voted in favor of the Board rescinding this

contract.

 

More emotional delegates addressed the Board on this issue and I do not

believe the Board was ready for the delegates to stand

up this way.

 

Even as David Merriman tried to lawyer double talk everyone, no one was

moved. Ron Menacker spoke on how he is

opposed to selling puppies this way (Yeah, right) but also tried to put a

twist on what the Delegates had conveyed, the Delegates

are not against dogs that are eligible to be registered with AKC from

being registered, but we do not want AKC to endorse a

volume breeder and a pet store chain.

 

Mr. Menacker stated the "if we do not want the AKC to register puppies

purchased at pet shops, that the Board can raise

registration fees and event charges to compensate the 10M that is lost by

AKC for recording dog event records".

 

Because many Delegates had left the meeting due to the late hour and

planes that needed to be taken home, a Delegate asked for

the meeting to adjourn at this point.

 

I spoke to Pat Laurins and I am going to work with her and others to get

people elected to the Board that are not afraid to stand

up to those on the Board who are really and truly as Pat said "Prostitute

our purebreed dogs". Pat herself feels that she is better

out on the floor to speak her mind and to reprimand the Board in public

when necessary. There were delegates who were in

tears over what the Board had done and it is definitely time for a big

change on the Board.

 

The vote on the Petland Contract was 12 to1 . I believe the only Board

member who voted opposed was Patti Haines.

Karen
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Whoa. Sometimes they surprise even me. I try to scan the AKC board minutes regularly to see what they're up to, and I didn't see a whiff that such an action was ever discussed let alone voted on by the BoD.

 

This will really test whether their constituency will swallow anything the AKC chooses to do. Unfortunately, after a lot of complaints and uproar, I think they will. After all, if you don't think life with a dog can exist outside of the AKC, "just say no" isn't an option.

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Whoa. Sometimes they surprise even me.
No kidding. Latest spin... er, update :rolleyes:

 

I guess the AKC guidelines for selecting a breeder will become a quaint historical reference:

 

Selecting A Breeder:

 

Buy your puppy from a responsible and well-respected breeder. This cannot be stressed enough. Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed. For example, they work on breeding healthier dogs with the appropriate temperament for their breed. Your AKC breeder referral contact will direct you to a breeder who is concerned with the future of the puppy. Once you select a breeder, screen the breeder. Ask to see at least one of the parents (the dam or the sire) of your puppy. See how the dogs in your breeder's home interact with your breeder. Are they friendly and outgoing or do they shy away? The responsible breeder will be screening you, too, looking for the best home for each puppy.

Or, you know, buy from Petland... so the AKC can educate you about responsible dog ownership. [/irony]
"When these new owners do not register, AKC and our clubs lose the ability to encourage them to become part of the fancy or to educate them about responsible dog ownership. We feel we can best promote our values and bring people into the world of AKC events by reaching out to new dog owners no matter where they choose to purchase their dog."
Oh, please.

 

I've always believed that the AKC should open its performance events to all dogs --- every mix, mutt, Heinz 57 --- and I wonder whether such a move, if well-publicized, would bring in the bucks this Petland deal is expected to produce.

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The AKC writes:

 

>

 

How stupid do they think people are? It isn't this "program" that allows the AKC inspections team to continue its presence in the commercial sector -- it's the fact that the sires and dams of these registrable puppies are AKC registered dogs. Thus the AKC could inspect the pet stores and the puppy mills that produce these puppies whether or not ANY of the purchasers of these puppies ever register them with the AKC. Just as they could before they signed this contract.

 

>

 

Ah -- a little truth-telling sprinkled in.

 

>

 

Ah -- a little more. Remarkable.

 

>

 

So on the backs of these wretched brood bitches and their pups, you enjoy your AKC events.

 

Luisa wrote:

 

>

 

You know, I think they will do this eventually. It would require the registration of mongrels, of course ("listing" or "recording" will probably be the term they'll use, to preserve class distinctions while collecting the fees), but to reverse falling revenues and retain power they may ultimately feel forced to do it. Still, it's a bitter pill for an organization built on elitism to swallow, and hard to square with their dedication to "the sport of purebred dogs." It may come to that someday, but for now evidently they find it more palatable to exploit the petstore/puppymill market.

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to subsidizing AKC events, registration fees provide support for a range of programs and services. . . . >>

 

So on the backs of these wretched brood bitches and their pups, you enjoy your AKC events.

Maybe they should stop giving away "titles" that would decrease the overhead required to process all the paperwork generated

 

Karen

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At the September Delegates Meeting AKC reported that we had reached an

agreement with Petland in order to facilitate the registration of dogs that

are already AKC registrable.

 

AKC's Board of Directors and management believed that this agreement would

have helped to further the mission of the AKC. Promoting responsible dog

ownership to new puppy owners, implementing our care and conditions

policies, and exposing more dog owners to AKC educational programs and

services would have had even greater reach.

 

In the past few weeks we have received many comments about this agreement,

both positive and negative. We have listened to the concerns and because

this issue has become so divisive, we believe it is in the best interest of

our sport and the American Kennel Club not to go forward with this

initiative.

 

Ron Menaker, Chairman of the Board

Dennis B. Sprung, President and CEO

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