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AKC Board Minutes,Chairman's Report

AKC Board Meeting Minutes

American Kennel Club Board Motions, Actions as recorded by Secretary

 

Current Meeting held Monday, May 11, 2020 (See Minutes In Their Entirety Below)

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Wording is as presented in the Minutes/Secretary's Page, provided by AKC Secretary Gina M. DiNardo.

 

The Board convened via Video Conference on Monday, May 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Mr. Sprung was present in the NY Office. All other Directors participated in the meeting by telephone or video conference. The Executive Secretary also participated by video conference. The April 23, 2020 Special Board meeting minutes, copies of which had been provided to all Directors, were reviewed. Upon a motion by Dr. Battaglia, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the April 23, 2020 Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved.

 

PRESIDENTS REPORT

COVID-19 Update - Mr. Sprung reported that while postponements, rescheduling and cancellations of AKC events are growing, AKC continues to assist clubs. The total annual number of postponed or cancelled events is 8,589 almost 38% of all AKC events for 2020. We are sharing with Superintendents these statistics and the Staff created documents on best practices for clubs planning to hold events going forward. As previously reported by Mr. Sprung, Performance events are continuing throughout the pandemic on a lesser scale; on the weekend of May 9-10, a Retriever Hunting Test in Tulsa, OK had approximately 450 entries and a Retriever Field Trial in Georgia had 110 entries. Virtual Rally submissions are approaching 500.

     With the increases in virtual AKC Trick Dog titles, we made personnel available from three other departments and trained them to add the titles to the dogs' records in CMS, thereby working collaboratively to prevent a backlog while providing ongoing services for customers.

     April litter registrations are 13% more than planned and individual dog registrations are up 21%. This is the highest April total since 2009, a much needed but anticipated temporary boost.

     In the large picture, each department is holding steady as a result of creativity, communications and exploring every financial angle. Aside from Events, AKC’s businesses are doing adequately in terms of cash flow and payables during our nation's economic downturn, placing us currently in a decent position thanks to the Board and staff.

 

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE - The Board reviewed a brief update and recommendation regarding the American Kennel Club’s plan to host an International Conference of Kennel Clubs in 2021.

     In early 2019, AKC Board Chairman William Feeney suggested staff explore the prospect of AKC’s hosting an International Conference. Mr. Feeney had identified three major topics as agenda items:

• The state of the purebred dog worldwide and how to further promote it, including health.

• Government regulation of breeding and owning dogs, and strategies to influence legislation.

• The state of the sport(s) of purebred dogs and recommendations to enhance participation.

     The Staff recommended that due to the current World conditions caused by the global pandemic COVID-19, the AKC should indefinitely postpone AKC’s plan to host an International Conference of Kennel Clubs, considerations include the fact that no kennel club is in a position to confirm if they would be able to attend due to international travel bans or quarantines; and the uncertain financial conditions of kennel clubs around the world.

     Following a motion by Mr. Hamblin, seconded by Mr. Carota, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to consider the matter at this meeting, waiving the normal notice procedures.

     Following a motion by Mr. Sweetwood, seconded by Mr. Carota, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to indefinitely postpone AKC’s hosting an International Conference of Kennel Clubs.

 

AKC/ AKC CHF Memorandum of Understanding Renewal - The AKC and AKC Canine Health Foundation’s five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations expires June 1, 2020. The Board reviewed the proposed MOU which contained minor housecleaning edits from the 2015 version.

     Following a motion by Ms. McAteer, seconded by Mrs. Wallin, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to approve the new AKC/AKC CHF Memorandum of Understanding which will be sent to the AKC/CHF for their Board’s approval.

 

FINANCE - The financial report was presented at the April 23, 2020 Special Board meeting.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION - There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss sensitive business matters. Nothing was reported out of this session.

 

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

AKC Communications Q1 2020 Report - The Board reviewed an update on the Communications’ departments accomplishments for the first quarter of 2020.

 

TOTALS:

Clips Evaluated in Q1: 7,119

Q1 Audience Reached: 7,173,437,997

Publicity Value for Q1: $11,773,761.60

*Numbers and values provided by media monitoring platform Cision

 

Highlights of Communications/PR Activities

• AKC National Championship winner interview aired on Good Morning America after show airing in January 2020.

• Aggressive PR campaign for AKC Meet the Breeds resulted in nearly 300 clips, including The New York Times, PEOPLE.com, PIX 11 Morning News, among others. A media partnership with WNYW-TV (local FOX affiliate in New York) resulted in multiple Good Day NY segments, additional news segments, and a special that aired the Friday before Meet the Breeds.

• Ongoing media pitching executed to key audiences with stories that speak to positive qualities of purebreds/breeders. Distributed 10 press releases to appropriate media outlets.

• Weekly “AKC Tips” articles written for McClatchy-Tribune reaching 600 newspapers, including the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dayton Daily News, Duluth News-Tribune, Fresno Bee, Idaho Statesman, Kingsport Times-News and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, among others.

• Assisted clubs hosting matches, clusters, RDO days and other events with email and media outreach. Distributed 10 press releases and media alerts on behalf of clubs.

• AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days continued successfully with events held by AKC clubs and dog related organizations nationwide.

• Worked with AKC Reunite to create press materials to promote unveiling of trailers through their Pet Disaster Relief program.

 

 

AKC Education Q1 2020 Report - The Board reviewed a memo that provided an update of the Education department’s activities and accomplishments for the first quarter of 2020 and provided a status update of current projects and initiatives.

 

Canine College

Breed Courses - The Norwegian Buhund and Lagotto Romagnolo courses launched in Quarter 1, with 100% of learners reporting that they would recommend the course to others.  The Siberian Husky and Ibizan Hound courses were updated in Quarter 1.

     The following courses have been developed and are under review. They are scheduled for launch in quarter 2: Pekingese, Bernese Mountain Dog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

     The Whippet and English Cocker Spaniel courses are currently under development and will launch in quarter 3.

     The following breeds are ready for development and all assets have been approved by the Parent Club: Greyhound, Alaskan Malamute, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Affenpinscher, Silky Terrier, Italian Greyhound, Borzoi, and Chihuahua.

 

Breeder Education - The Pedigree course was completely redesigned and relaunched, featuring the most up to date information, as well as state of the art interactivities.  The Genetics and Breeding Systems courses are currently under development and will launch in quarter 2.

 

Special Projects - The Conformation for Beginners course launched in Quarter 1. 2,977 learners are currently enrolled in the course.  Canine College is currently collaborating with various departments on three special projects: Safe Handling, Disease and Sanitation, and Raising a Confident Puppy.

 

Public Education - In January 2020, AKC Public Education hosted the AKC Patch Program at AKC Meet the Breeds in New York City. More than 1,100 children and their families participated in the program over two days.

     In January 2020, AKC Public Education hosted the AKC Art Contest for the AKC Meet the Breeds in New York City. More than 800 schools were contacted in the Tri-State area. Over 100 pieces of art were displayed at the MTB event, with nearly 1,000 students and their family members attending to see their art displayed in person. All finalists and winners received a ribbon, recognizing their achievement.

     Received over 90 new Canine Ambassador submissions

     Launched AKC Kids’ News: A quarterly newsletter with fun, educational content for parents and teachers. Teachers are encouraged to subscribe for free to receive the online resource.

     In response to the COVID-19 crisis, AKC Public Education introduced several new initiatives for the public, including activities for children and weekly tips to be used by teachers and parents and a daily schedule to keep people and their dogs busy during quarantine.

     In Quarter 1, more than 800 dog owners submitted their dogs to the AKC PupPals Program. In addition, 30 child nominees were submitted to be matched with a PupPal.

     In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the AKC PupPals Program was expanded to include both children and adults. In less than 30 days, 576 people were nominated for an AKC PupPal. This expansion was featured in People, Better Homes and Gardens, and by dog trainer Cesar Millan, among others. The program expansion was also shared with more than 30 hospitals in the hard-hit cities of New York City, Seattle, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans and Chicago. Many hospitals indicated that they would be sharing this program at their hospital, including Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. Those nominated for an AKC PupPal are struggling with a variety of issues including feeling isolated during quarantine, fighting COVID-19 in the ICU, or battling the virus on the frontlines as a medical professional.

 

AKC Education Webinar Series - In collaboration with Judging Operations, the AKC Education Webinar Series was expanded to feature daily educational webinars for judges. Judging Operations and the Education department collaborated with Parent Clubs to allow them to host their Judges Education Seminars via webinar.

     Since launching on March 30, 2020, these webinars have been attended more than 4,000 times. The following breeds have been featured: Welsh Springer Spaniel, Belgian Laekenois, Ibizan Hound, Puli, Airedale Terrier, Sloughi, Affenpinscher, Lagotto Romagnolo, Rottweiler, Finnish Spitz, Welsh Terrier, German Pinscher, Manchester Terrier, Lowchen, Canaan Dog, Barbet, Pharaoh Hound, Pekingese, and Xoloitzcuintli.

 

Government Relations Update First Quarter 2020 - The Board reviewed an update for the first quarter of 2020 and a status update on current GR department activity, major projects, significant activities and legislative successes.

     The AKC GR team is currently monitoring more than 2,000 legislative bills that could impact responsible dog ownership, the health and wellbeing of dogs, the rights of dog owners, and/or the interests of the American Kennel Club. (GR was tracking approximately 2,500 bills prior to the early adjournment of some states.)

     To date, AKC GR has published 110 legislative alerts online and via geo-targeted emails to impacted constituents and social media. This number represents nearly a 100% increase over the 60 alerts published in the same period of 2019. The significant increase in outreach is due to increased legislative activity caused by the pandemic as well as front-loading of legislative activity in the first quarter that commonly takes place in election years.

     AKC GR is also monitoring approximately 667 active proposed regulation changes at the state and federal level, with some 592 actively pending.

     The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on legislative action and AKC GR legislative activity. Statewide executive orders requiring social distancing, closure of non-essential businesses and activities that cannot operate under social distancing orders were executed during the last weeks of the first quarter and remain largely in place.

     GR continues its engagement in legislative and regulatory proposals impacting dog ownership, the wellbeing of dogs, protecting dog sports, and the AKC in general. In addition, AKC GR is monitoring, analyzing and responding to continually changing state executive orders in all 50 states, legislation and relief packages such as federal CARES relief, business closure requirements, and other government actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic that specifically impact the wellbeing of the AKC, AKC clubs and dog owners.

     COVID-19 Impacts: Since mid-March, the GR team has been active in public policy areas related to the COVID-19 pandemic and response. In the first quarter, this included numerous letters and other outreach to state governors, administrators and lawmakers across the country to ensure that pet food and crucial supplies, along with care/kenneling facilities be deemed essential to ensure the health and safety of pets, their owners, and essential workers needing alternate pet care options during the pandemic. AKC GR conducted outreach to key constituencies to urge their engagement on this issue as well.

     GR established a COVID-19 resources page on the AKC Legislative Action Center (akcgr.org) that includes daily updates on the status of state legislatures, and rules impacting access to pet supplies and services. It also includes information and tips on what club members and dog owners can do from home to continue being effective advocates and potentially access federal relief as small businesses or private not-for-profit organizations.

     Service Dog Pass/American Service Dog Access Coalition: AKC GR worked with colleagues at the American Service Dog Access Coalition to continue to develop all aspects of a new authoritative, voluntary and verifiable credential for service dogs that have met specific standards.

     Economic Impact of Dog Shows: AKC GR released updated information on the 2019 economic impact of dog shows for all 50 states. One-page flyers providing specialized information for each state are available in the GR toolbox.

 

COMPANION and PERFORMANCE - Doug Ljungren, Exec. VP, Sports & Events; Caroline Murphy, Dir., Performance Events participated via video conference. Allow Special Event Obedience & Rally Trials

     The Board reviewed a recommendation to allow clubs licensed for obedience and/or rally to hold two Special Event Obedience Trials and two Special Event Rally Trials per year. A Special Event Trial is defined as one where the club proposes a unique mix of AKC classes and/or a unique eligibility criterion. The purpose of a Special Event Trial is to keep the sports fresh and fun. A club may not change the other Regulations pertaining to the class requirements or exercises. A club holding a Special Event Trial 1) may not change the other Regulations pertaining to a titling class, 2) the event must be open to all breeds including Canine Partners, and 3) the classes held at a Special Event Trials will count toward titles, except for non-regular classes, 4) a Special Event Trial must be approved by the Companion Events Department.  Following a motion by Dr. Battaglia, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to amend Chapter 1 of the Obedience Regulations and Chapter 1 of the AKC Rally Regulations to allow clubs licensed for obedience and/or rally to hold two Special Event Obedience Trials and two Special Event Rally Trials per year. These Regulation changes are effective November 1, 2020.

 

Pointing Breed Hunting Tests – Providing for Special Events - The Board reviewed a recommendation to allow clubs licensed to hold Pointing Breed Hunting Tests the ability to apply for Special Event hunting tests that are unique in order to celebrate special occasions. A Special Event test is where the host club proposes a unique mix of classes or unique eligibility requirements. The AKC Performance Events Department may grant permission to modify the regulations provided it is consistent with the purpose of the Special Event. Permission to hold a Special Event hunting test is granted on a one-time basis. The Special Event shall count as one of the club’s annual events. Following a motion by Dr. Garvin, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to amend the Regulations for AKC Hunting Tests for Pointing Breeds, Chapter 1 Section 3A – General Regulations - Test Levels to be Offered, by adding a new paragraph #3.

     New paragraph #3.
     Special Events. Clubs may apply for “Special Event” hunting tests in order to celebrate/ honor special occasions or for unique purposes. A Special Event test is where the host club proposes a unique mix of regular AKC classes or a unique eligibility requirement. The AKC Performance Events Department may grant permission to modify the hunting test regulations provided it is consistent with the purpose of the Special Event. Examples - a licensed club or regional association of clubs may want to offer a Regional Master Hunter Invitational test limited to dogs that have earned the MH title. Special Event may be used as a fund-raising activity for a cause unique to the area. Special events are licensed events which are recorded and count toward titles.

     The application for a special event test can be done online using the fillable PDF form called the Pointing Breed Hunt Test Special Event Application. This application must be submitted to the Performance Events Department with sufficient lead time for it to be properly reviewed. Permission to hold a Special Event hunting test is granted on a one-time basis. Clubs need to request permission for every special event. The Special Event shall count as one of the club’s annual events.

     This addition to the Pointing Breed Hunting Test Regulations will become effective on July 1, 2020.

 

Brittanys - Eliminate the Requirement for a Major Win at a Brittany Trial - The Board reviewed a request from the American Brittany Club (ABC). The ABC is requesting that AKC eliminate the requirement that a Brittany must win a major broke dog stake at a trial held by a Brittany Club in order to earn the Field Champion or Amateur Field Championship title.

     Currently the AKC Pointing Breed Field Trial Rules require that in order for a Brittany to earn a Field Champion or Amateur Field Champion title, it must win a three point or greater broke dog stake at a trial held by a Brittany club. This requirement first appeared in the AKC Pointing Breed Field Trial Rules in 1973. This requirement is unique to Brittanys; no other Parent Club has requested this restriction for their breed.

     Eliminating this requirement will encourage Brittany owners to attend trials held by other breed clubs and it eliminates an incentive for Brittany clubs to close their trials to Brittanys only.  Following a motion by Ms. McAteer, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to consider the matter at this meeting, waiving the normal notice procedures.  Following a motion by Mr. Carota, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to amend the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedures for Pointing Breeds Chapter 14, Section 7 to eliminate the requirement that a Brittany must win a major broke dog stake at a trial held by a Brittany Club in order to earn the Field Champion or Amateur Field Championship title. This will become effective August 1, 2020.

 

CONFORMATION - Doug Ljungren, Exec VP, Sports & Events; Mari-Beth O’Neill, VP, Sport Services; Tim Thomas, VP of Dog Show Judges; Glenn Lycan, Dir., Event Operations Support; and Alan Slay, Dir., Event Programs participated via video conference. Entry Limitation for Two AB Shows in One Day Policy

     The current policy regarding Two Shows in One Day was implemented in January 2019. At the January 2020 Board meeting, it was requested that the staff examine the 500-entry per show limitation considering clubs actual 2019 experience.

     Based on the actual experience of clubs that held two shows in one day in 2019, the recommendation is to modify the limit on the number of entries to 600 entries per show. The two shows in one day policy is meant to assist clubs holding small shows.  Following a motion by Dr. Battaglia, seconded by Dr. Davies, the Board VOTED (In favor: Biddle, Battaglia, Carota, Davies, Garvin, Hamblin, Knight, McAteer, Powers, Smyth, Sweetwood, Wallin; Opposed: Tatro) to modify the limit on the number of entries to 600 entries per show. This change is effective immediately and will be effective through July 1, 2022. The Board will review the policy prior to the July 1, 2022 date to assess its impact and determine if further refinement is warranted. The other provisions to this policy will remain unchanged. These are:

• All-breed shows must offer group and best in show competition. Group shows must offer group competition.

• The use of multiple group rings at all-breed shows is encouraged.

• No concurrent or evening specialties may be held in conjunction with the shows.

• Junior Showmanship competition is allowed.

• Obedience, Rally, and Agility competitions are allowed, and encouraged, but must have their own ring(s) for competition. Obedience/Rally/Agility entries do not count against the 600 limit.

• Ownership of the corresponding date must be agreed upon in writing and submitted to AKC prior to event approval if two clubs are holding the same type of events on the same date and site.

• No more than one special attraction with group competition may be offered between the two all-breed shows.

• Judges are limited to 100 entries per event not to exceed 175 entries per day according to the Rules Applying to Dog Shows Chapter 7, Section 13.

• The club must provide a minimum of one ring for every 100 conformation entries.

 

 Isolated Small Clubs – Allow Four Shows in Two or Three Days - The Board reviewed a recommendation to allow clubs that qualify for three shows (isolated clubs) that also qualify to hold two shows in one day (small shows) the option of holding four shows over a maximum of three days.

     Following a motion by Mrs. Wallin, seconded by Ms. McAteer, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to amend the Limited Number of Events Policy to permit Clubs approved to hold more than two All-breed or Limited-breed events may hold four shows in three days provided their shows qualify for the two in one day option. This change is effective immediately and will be effective through July 1, 2022. The Board will review the policy prior to the July 1, 2022 date to assess its impact and determine if further refinement is warranted.

 

Reinstatement for Dogs Disqualified for Attack by a Judge - The requirements associated for the potential reinstatement of a dog disqualified from competing due to aggression are approved by the Board and outlined in the DISQUALIFICATION AND REINSTATEMENT booklet.

     The Board reviewed a recommendation to modify the procedures associated with the reinstatement of a dog disqualified for aggression to include an appeal option in situations where the judge has denied a dog the opportunity to apply for reinstatement.  Following a motion by Mr. Smyth, seconded by Dr. Battaglia, the Board VOTED (In favor: Biddle, Battaglia, Carota, Garvin, Hamblin, McAteer, Powers, Smyth, Sweetwood, Tatro, Wallin; Abstained: Dr. Knight and Dr. Davies) to modify the procedures associated with reinstatement of a dog disqualified for aggression to include an appeal option in situations where the judge has denied a dog the opportunity to apply for reinstatement.

     Owners of dogs disqualified for attack by a judge may appeal the disqualifying judge’s decision to deny the opportunity for reinstatement a minimum of one year after the date of the incident. Appeals should include documentation of significant post-incident stability training, post-incident CGC and/or participation in other non-AKC venues without incident. The disqualifying judge will be asked to provide a detailed explanation of why the dog should be denied the opportunity to pursue reinstatement. The special committee will review all information and determine if the appeal should be granted to allow the reinstatement request to progress to hands-on examination.

     The Board also approved the proposed construct of the AKC Disqualification Review Committee as follows:  The AKC Disqualification Review Committee will review any requests for reinstatement that reach the appeal option. The committee is defined as a committee of five members to be comprised of: three AKC Conformation Judges appointed by the Board Chair and two AKC Staff members with extensive sport experience appointed by the CEO; all members of the committee to be approved by the AKC Board of Directors.

 

Westminster Kennel Club Request for Three Day Event - The Board reviewed a recommendation to allow the Westminster Kennel Club to indefinitely hold their annual show over three days provided they remain at the same location, on the same corresponding dates as defined by the AKC corresponding date table, and structured in a similar manner as it was in 2020.

     In July 2019, the AKC Board approved a request from the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) to hold their 2020 show over three days (Sunday – Tuesday) at Pier 94. This was a one-time approval in order to assess how the new format worked. The event was limited to 2,500 entries and structured to not conflict with local Specialty shows.

     The consensus was that this format worked very well. Following a motion by Mr. Hamblin, seconded by Dr. Battaglia, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to consider the matter at this meeting, waiving the normal notice procedures.  Following a motion by Mr. Powers, seconded by Dr. Battaglia, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to allow Westminster Kennel Club to indefinitely hold their annual show over three days provided they remain at the same location, on the same corresponding dates as defined by the AKC corresponding date table, and structured so as to not conflict with local Specialty/Group shows.

 

Best Practices Documents - AKC Sports & Events, in conjunction with other departments, has developed a Suggested Best Practices document for each AKC sport. The Board reviewed and approved Staff’s “COVID-19 Suggested Best Practices” document which was created for Conformation Clubs.

     There will be 19 different documents in total, based on AKC event type. They will be distributed via email to the clubs holding all AKC sports. The documents will be posted on the sport specific pages of the AKC website. A link to the sport specific documents will also be shown on the COVID-19 Updates website on the AKC home page.

     These Best Practices are being provided for clubs as they plan their future events. The AKC urges clubs to follow state, local and facility guidelines that apply to the area and site where the event is held. Events need to be held in a manner that emphasizes safety over efficiency.

 

JUDGING OPERATIONS - Doug Ljungren, Exec. VP, Sports & Events; and Tim Thomas, VP, Dog Show Judges, participated via video conference.  Oral Exam Key in Judges Books

     The Board reviewed a memorandum which presented a request from the American Dog Show Judges to add information to the judge’s book to indicate the appropriate oral exam for the respective breed based on AKC’s Oral Exam Chart.  Following a motion by Mr. Smyth, seconded by Mr. Powers, the Board VOTED (In favor: Biddle, Battaglia, Carota, Davies, Hamblin, Knight, McAteer, Powers, Smyth, Sweetwood, Tatro, Wallin; Opposed: Garvin) to require superintendents to include in the judge’s books, symbols to indicate the appropriate oral exam for that breed based on AKC’s Oral Exam Chart no later than July 1, 2021.

 

Mandatory Ramp Examination – Keeshond - The Board reviewed a request from the Keeshond Club of America to add the Keeshond to the list of breeds expected to be judged on the ramp through all levels of conformation competition. Following a motion by Mr. Smyth, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to consider the matter at this meeting, waiving the normal notice procedures. Following a motion by Mr. Carota, seconded by Mr. Tatro, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to approve the Keeshond Club of America’s request for the Keeshond to be added to the list of breeds expected to be judged on the ramp through all levels of conformation competition.

 

COVID -19 - Conformation Judging Approval Process - The Board reviewed a memorandum with recommendations from the Chairman’s Committee on the Judging Approval Process suggesting measures to be taken by the American Kennel Club (AKC®) regarding the approval of conformation judges in the wake of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sport and the judging community.  The recommendations contained both permanent modifications to the Board approved Judging Approval Process as well as suggested measures to be taken temporarily until dog shows return and are being held at a frequency approaching pre-COVID-19 impact.  Following a motion by Mr. Powers, seconded by Dr. Davies, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to consider the matter at this meeting, waiving the normal notice procedures.  Following a motion by Ms. Biddle, seconded by Mr. Tatro, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to approve the following proposals related to the Conformation Judging Approval Process to be effective immediately:

1. Increase the maximum number of permit breeds a judge may be approved by six (6) through 12/31/2020.

2. Increase the maximum number of CEU that may be attained in the categories of Attend Parent Club National Specialty; Attend Approved Seminar/Workshop; Mentors, Tutors and Kennel Visits; Sweepstakes or Futurity assignment; and Assignment to Judge the Breed by one (1) CEU through 12/31/2020

3. Modify the Judging Approval Process by revising the current allowance for Telephone Tutoring in Low Entry breeds to permit a Virtual Tutoring experience in all breeds with a parent club approved mentor or established breed expert (1 CEU), allowing for an additional Virtual Tutoring with unique mentor if the department determines that insufficient educational opportunities exist in the breed.

4. Modify the Judging Approval Process by inserting “Webinar on Breed utilizing Parent Club materials” (1 CEU) as a Qualifying Component under “Attend Approved Seminar/Workshop”.

 

CLUBS - Doug Ljungren, Executive VP, Sports & Events; and Lisa Cecin, Dir., Club Relations, participated via video conference. Expanding the Reduced Sanctioned Match Program for Clubs in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico

     The Board reviewed a recommendation to expand existing policy to reduce the number of sanctioned matches required before being considered for approval to hold a licensed show and to remove the significant member experience required for new local specialty clubs in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  Following a motion by Mr. Sweetwood, seconded by Mr. Powers, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to consider the matter at this meeting, waiving the normal notice procedures.  Following a motion by Mr. Carota, seconded by Dr. Garvin, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to reduce the sanctioned match program for new local Specialty Clubs in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico to one sanctioned Plan B match and one “qualifying” sanctioned Plan A match held at least six months apart, without the usual requirement of having the minimum 25% significant member experience before submitting a license presentation, provided the club meets all other AKC requirements for accreditation as an AKC local Specialty club.

 

Delegates and Member Clubs - The Board reviewed a report on the prospective Delegate credentials to be published in two issues of the AKC Gazette, a report on Member Club Bylaws approved and newly licensed clubs.

 

Report on Member Clubs Bylaws Approved in March and April 2020 - Kennel Club of Riverside, Riverside, CA (1937)

 

Report on Newly Licensed Clubs approved in March and April 2020 - Carolina Scent Work Association, Winston-Salem, NC (including communities north to Mount Airy, south to Advance east to Greensboro), 21 total households, 14 local. Red Canyons Kennel Club, Iron and Washington Counties, UT, 42 total households, 35 local. Red Hills Retriever Club of Mississippi, Louisville, MS, 21 total households, 13 local. Williamson County Agility Club, Liberty Hill, TX (including communities of Leander, Georgetown, Rounds Rock, Cedar Park and Florence), 33 total households, 20 local.

 

COMPLIANCE - The following AKC Management actions were reported: (Final Board Disciplinary actions are reported on the Secretary’s Page)

 

AKC MEDIA SALES, SPONSORSHIP, LICENSING and BROADCASTING - Ron Furman, AKC MEDIA, Daphna Straus, VP, Business Development and William Ellis, Manager, AKCTV participated in this portion of the meeting.
 

Digital AD Sales - Despite the early challenges with the Covid19 Pandemic in March, AKC Digital’s Ad Impressions have been steadily increasing. Impressions are steadily rising month over month from Q1 into Q2. Q1 saw the highest amount of total sold ad impressions in AKC’s digital history while April continues to grow higher, almost double 2019. Q1 2020 Direct Digital Sales were up 39% compared to Q1 2019, with new advertiser spend, incremental revenue, and expanded brand dollars for digital surrounding Meet the Breeds.

 

Sponsorship - AKC welcomes Tractor Supply as Official Rural Lifestyle Partner and exclusive pet products retail partner.

 

AKC on ESPN - National Puppy Day on March 23rd included the AKC Agility Premier Cup and the Championship Pup, which featured AKC sports. The shows featured on National Puppy Day were encore performances which originally aired in August 2019, during ESPN Dog Day. AKC is currently in production creating a new show.

 

AKC.TV - Q1 2020 AKC.TV Ad Sales finished 76.3% against plans due to shift of revenue from the cancellation of the Agility Championship on 3/26 on AKC.tv and ESPN due to Covid19. Traffic to AKC.TV and App installs continue to increase.

 

MARKETING - Kirsten Bahlke, VP, Marketing, participated in this portion of the meeting.  Overview of Q1 2020 Results, AKC.org Q12020 traffic reached historic levels:

Users: 26M (+31% YoY)     Sessions: 34.8M (+30.6%)

 

     Organic traffic for AKC.org drove record traffic levels in March as Covid-19 turns into a pandemic. The content and communications departments responded swiftly to the emerging story by creating Covid19 specific articles (e.g. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/can-dogs-get-coronavirus/) and dedicated pages for updates and event cancellations.

     Q1 Breeder listings in Marketplace were above 2019. The percent of breeders opting into listing their litter on MP (a.k.a. opt-in) is also above last year.

     Q1 was a strong month for AKC Shop with open rates climbing to record levels. Major social channels each posted follower growth and significant engagement growth in Q1 driven in part by Covid-content. In April AKC launched an exciting new commerce content platform named retrievist.akc.org.

 

Social Media - AKC Facebook finished Q12020 with a total of 4,010,934 followers - AKC Instagram finished Q12020 with a total of 317,918 followers - AKC Twitter finished Q12020 with a total of 100,378 followers

 

CONSENT - Following a motion by Dr. Battaglia, seconded by Dr. Garvin it was VOTED (unanimously) to approve the following Consent items:

• Group Clubs – Expediting the Sanctioning Process

• Chow Chow Proposed Breed Standard Revision

• Approval of Annual Fees

• Parent Club Request to Retire Torchlight (Poodle)

• Delegate Approvals

• Emergency Contact Number in Judging Schedules - CH 7 Sect. 2

• Mandatory Ramp Examination – Clumber Spaniel

• AKC Title Recognition of French Herding Titles Earned at Parent Club Events

• Match Regulations – Option to Hold Fun Matches Open to the Public

• Pointing Breed Field Trials – “Walked to the Line” Does Not Count as a Starter

• Pointing Breed Field Trials – 45 Minute Derby Stake

• Application for Futurity or Sweepstakes – Chapter 2 Section 10

• Grand Champion Points – Rules Applying to Dog Shows – Chapter 16, Section 2

 

Group Clubs – Expediting the Sanctioning Process - The Board VOTED to approve several changes to the current Board policy regarding membership requirements and the sanctioning process for Group clubs. These changes are meant to reduce the administrative burden of forming a Group club and to shorten the time required for a club to become licensed to hold a show.

     The specific changes are: 1. Reduce membership requirements to 20 households / 12 local. (Currently 30 households / 25 local) 2. Reduce breed representation to 25% of the breeds in the group (Currently 50%) 3. Reduce the sanctioning process to be dependent upon the amount of membership experience (25%) in the club to hold only 1 Plan B and 1 Plan A match at least 6 months apart before submitting a license presentation (Currently two B-matches and two A-matches are required). These changes are effective immediately.

 

Chow Chow Proposed Breed Standard Revision - The Board VOTED to approve the proposed revision to the Nose section of the Chow Chow standard with an effective date of July 29, 2020.

     HEAD: Nose - Reds, Blacks and Cinnamons must have a solid black nose. Blue chows may have a solid blue or slate nose. Cream chows may have a range of nose color, from dark black/brown solid pigment, fading to pinkish pigment, with or without darker nose rim pigment at the outer edge, as puppies or adults; all of which are equally correct.

 

Approval of Annual Fees - The Charter and Bylaws of the American Kennel Club, Inc. “Charter and Bylaws” require that the Board of Directors set deposits annually for the submission of complaints pursuant to Article XII, Section 1; as well as deposits for appeals to an Appeal Trial Board pursuant to Article XIII, Section 7. The Board VOTED to approve the annual fee to submit a complaint pursuant to Article XII, Section 1 of the Charter and Bylaws to remain the same at $500 for 2020; and approved the annual fee to submit an appeal pursuant to Article XIII, Section 7 of the Charter and Bylaws to remain the same at $200 for 2020.

 

Parent Club Request to Retire Torchlight (Poodle) - The Board VOTED to grant the request from the Poodle Club of America, Inc., to retire the kennel name “Torchlight” for Poodles.

 

Delegate Approvals - The Board VOTED to approve the following individuals to serve as Delegates:
Jane E. Bates, Montgomery, TX (Conroe Kennel Club) - Michael Capozzi, Manorville, NY (Riverhead Kennel Club) - Luanne K. Dunham, Newnan, GA (Newnan Kennel Club) - Chereen M. Nawrocki, East Bangor, PA (English Cocker Spaniel Club of America) - Susan Soviero, Little Silver, NJ (Bayshore Companion Dog Club) Grace Wilkinson, Barrington, RI (Rhode Island Kennel Club)

 

Emergency Contact Number in Judging Schedules – Chapter 7 Section 2 - The Board VOTED to adopt the following policy requiring clubs to include in judging programs an emergency contact number of a club official at the show effective January 1, 2021.

     Wording will be added in italics to Rules Applying to Dog Shows Chapter 7, Section 12 beneath the first paragraph.

     In case of emergency, the contact phone number of a club official at the show, with or without that official’s name, is to be listed in the Judging Program.

 

Mandatory Ramp Examination – Clumber Spaniel - The Board VOTED to approve the request from the Clumber Spaniel Club of America to add the Clumber Spaniel to the list of breeds expected to be judged on the ramp through all levels of conformation competition.

 

AKC Title Recognition of French Herding Titles Earned at Parent Club Events - The Board VOTED to recognize titles earned in French Herding events administered by the American Belgian Tervuren Club (ABTC) and the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America (BSCA). These titles will be recognized as part of the Parent Club Performance Events Title Recognition Program. Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog and Belgian Laekenois owners will be able to start applying for French Herding titles on August 1, 2020.

 

Match Regulations – Option to Hold Fun Matches Open to the Public - The Board VOTED to modify the Match Regulations to allow and encourage AKC clubs to hold fun matches to introduce the public to the sports. This Regulation applies to clubs licensed for conformation, obedience, rally, tracking and agility. The change is effective as of June 1, 2020.

 

Pointing Breed Field Trials – “Walked to the Line” Does Not Count as a Starter - The Board VOTED to approve a clarification in Chapter 8, Section 11 of the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedures for Pointing Breeds. A dog that is walked to the line without being released or that is released and then quickly picked up in a Pointing Breed field trial does not count as a starter. Handlers that do this plus judges and event committees that allow this to occur may be disciplined.

 

Pointing Breed Field Trials – 45 Minute Derby Stake - The Board VOTED to allow licensed derby stakes to be run up to 45-minutes at AKC Pointing Breed Field Trials. This change to the Standard Procedures for Pointing Breeds Procedure 1-B Derby Stakes, will become effective June 1, 2020.

     Procedure 1-B Derby Stakes, starting with paragraph #2

     Derbies must show reasonable obedience to their handlers’ commands. Each dog is to be judged on its actual performance as indicating its future promise as a high-class bird dog for Gun Dog or All-Age stakes. Preference should not be given to one potential over another. Application is more important than range in a Derby. At least 20 minutes and not more than 45 minutes shall be allowed for each heat. The length of a derby stake shall be stated in the event premium list.

 

Application for Futurity or Sweepstakes – Chapter 2 Section 10 - The Board VOTED approve a recommendation from the Delegate Dog Show Rules Committee (DSRC) to modify Chapter 2 Section 10 of The Rules Applying to Dog Shows, which addresses the requirements for a specialty club who wishes to hold a futurity or sweepstakes. The proposal will be read at the June 2020 Delegates meeting and voted on at the September 2020 Delegates meeting.

     Proposed wording: SECTION 10. A specialty club that wishes to hold a futurity or sweepstakes, either in conjunction with a show or as a separate event, must apply to The American Kennel Club for permission to hold the event.

 

Grand Champion Points – Rules Applying to Dog Shows – Chapter 16, Section 2 - The Board VOTED to approve the proposal to modify Chapter 16 Section 6 of The Rules Applying to Dog Shows regarding Grand Champion Points.

     At independently held specialties, for breeds divided into varieties, the highest number of Grand Champion points awarded in any variety at that specialty, will be awarded to the Best of Breed in the inter-variety competition and the highest number of Grand Champion points awarded in its sex in any variety at that specialty to the entry awarded Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed in the inter-variety competition.

     Proposed wording: At independently held specialty shows for breeds divided into recognized varieties, if a dog designated Best of Variety is also awarded Best of Breed in inter-variety competition, it shall receive Grand Championship points figured at the highest point rating of any variety entered at that specialty show. If a dog designated Best of Variety or Best of Opposite Sex in its variety is also awarded Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed in inter-variety competition, it shall receive Grand Championship points figured at the highest point rating of its sex in any variety entered at that specialty show. Such points shall not be in addition to, but inclusive of, any Grand Championship points previously awarded the dog in its variety competition.

     The proposal will be read at the June Delegates meeting and voted at the September Delegates meeting. If approved by the delegate body, the effective date will be January 1, 2021.

 

NEW BUSINESS - Video Conference Meeting for Delegates - Dr. Davies asked the Staff to present technology solutions that could allow AKC to hold a virtual meeting sometime in June to update Delegates on the state of our sports and business. The national response to the ongoing COVID pandemic has rendered it impossible to hold physical meetings for the foreseeable future. The AKC Board has expressed interest in leveraging virtual meeting technology to provide methods for Delegates to remain engaged while regular in-person Delegates meetings are cancelled. Staff will also contact the Delegate Committees and offer them the opportunity to hold their June meetings via electronic conferencing using the same identified platforms.

     Dr. Davies expressed his appreciation for the excellent work and resulting successes Staff has produced daily during the pandemic. Each member of the Board joined the Chairman in this praise. Mr. Sprung thanked the Board on behalf of Staff and expressed that each employee is proud of AKC and considers it their individual and collective responsibility to serve the fancy and public in this time of crisis.

 

It was VOTED to adjourn Monday, May 11 at Thursday, April 23 at 4:17 p.m.

 

Deceased Judges: Ms. Lin Jensen, Mr. Bruce Korson, Ms. Beverly C. Little, Mr. Ronald N. Rella, Mrs. Roz Durham

Emeritus Judges: Mrs. Jerrilin Lois Naylor, Mrs. Dawn Hansen, Mrs. Sandra E. Ellis

 

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