July 13th, 2006
Subject: AKC Board’s Vote at May 2006 Meeting Referencing Judging Conflicts of Interest
This Letter was Personally Addressed to:
Dear AKC Chairman of the Board:
and Each AKC Board Member :
After reviewing the policy and rule change voted on at AKC’s May 2006 Board Meeting, we are left wondering why the Stansell and Gaeta call was made within hours of the AKC Board’s vote. The AKC Board’s written policy clearly states that “No AKC judge may have a significant interest in a dog registry or dog event-giving organization deemed by the AKC Board to be in competition with the American Kennel Club.” (new underlining & bold ours) Based on a close reading of the minutes of the May 2006 AKC Board meeting , it is clear that the AKC Board did not, in fact, make a determination as to which of the many organizations and/or registries it deems to be in competition with the AKC.
In speaking with more than one AKC Board member, the NCA learned that AKC Board members were not provided a detailed briefing on the National Canine Association’s policies, bylaws or event-giving rules and procedures. Not one individual from the AKC staff contacted the NCA verbally, or in writing, to seek input on NCA’s rules and procedures. This information would have allowed the AKC staff to furnish AKC Board members the detailed information which would have clearly shown that the NCA fit the criteria as an exception since “AKC has no comparable events in place.”
Since the AKC staff did not brief the AKC Board, the following differences between an NCA event and an AKC show are submitted at this time for your review and to assist each AKC Board member in reaching the logical and equitable decision that the NCA is not a competitor based on the following partial list of differences of an NCA event versus an AKC show:
1. UNLIKE AKC shows, NCA events are NOT limited to purebred dogs.
2. UNLIKE the AKC, no dogs have to be registered with the NCA to participate in NCA events and may be repeatedly exhibited without being listed or registered. This rule was purposely put in place since the NCA did not want individual participants to feel the NCA wanted to make money on registrations. Dogs are registered primarily to track show awards.
3. UNLIKE AKC shows, the NCA encourages its judges to discuss the breed with exhibitors after judging to further enhance the learning experience. (Both parties find this experience most worthwhile.)
4. UNLIKE the AKC, purebred dogs with disqualifying breed faults may be exhibited at NCA events in our PUREBRED COMPANION DOG CLASS.
5. UNLIKE the AKC, purebred monorchids and altered dogs and spayed bitches can be exhibited in breed competition at NCA events.
6. UNLIKE the AKC, handicapped dogs may be exhibited at NCA events including blind, deaf and three-legged dogs.
7. UNLIKE AKC shows, professional handlers CANNOT compete with owner handlers for awards. Separate classes are provided for professional handlers and owner handlers.
8. UNLIKE the AKC, all judges MUST exhibit in competition with the professional handlers in the professional classes.
9. UNLIKE the AKC, the NCA has eight (8) Groups, not seven (7). NCA’s eighth Group is the RARE BREED Group.
10. UNLIKE AKC shows, NCA events have sixteen (16) Group winners (8 Non-Professional Group winners and 8 Professional Group winners).
11. UNLIKE AKC shows, NCA events have two (2) Best-In-Show winners.
12. UNLIKE AKC shows, NCA events have a “Supreme Best-In-Show”. The AKC has nothing similar to it.
13. UNLIKE AKC shows, NCA events have three (3) judges judging Best-In-Show.
14. UNLIKE the AKC, no NCA judge has ever been paid to judge an NCA event. Quite a few NCA judges have even paid part or all of their expenses considering it a learning experience.
15. UNLIKE AKC shows when the AKC Chairman and other AKC Board members judge, the NCA Chairman of the Board not only does not get paid to judge but personally pays his own expenses including his travel and hotel.
16. UNLIKE the AKC Board and officers, NCA Chairman of the Board, President/CEO and VP for Operations have NOT received ANY compensation for their thousands of hours of service the past nine and a half (9 ˝) years.
17. UNLIKE AKC’s complicated judges approval process, NCA judges are granted multiple Groups and/or all-breed status initially primarily to afford them the opportunity to learn about breeds that are new to them.
18. Finally, UNLIKE the not-for-profit AKC which has made millions of dollars in the past nine (9) years, the NCA has not made any profit and has actually had a loss of thousands of dollars through the years. It has operated as a training ground to help judges become educated in new breeds (this being made possible by the financial contribution of one of its founders, Mr. Joseph Gregory and the donation of their time by the President/CEO, the VP for Operations and all the judges).
One other important fact. The NCA learned that the AKC Board was never made aware, and hence could not consider, NCA’s offer to AKC President, Dennis Sprung, to act as a farm team working with the AKC to offer judges training experience in breeds they were not licensed for. This obviously would have placed the NCA in a somewhat subservient role. This was of little consequence since NCA’s primary goal was to offer training and experience in a more realistic dog-show setting as opposed to just classroom or observer status (both of which are desirable). The individuals involved with the NCA have over twenty (20) years experience in education programs for judges and have recognized early on there was a dire need for this sort of realistic training. Baseball farm teams actually play baseball games to get ready for the big leagues. Replace baseball games with dog shows and big leagues with the likes of AKC, and you’ll have what the NCA is all about.
Before you vote to deem the NCA as a competitor of the AKC, we ask each of you to personally decide, in good conscious, is the National Canine Association in competition with the American Kennel Club? Does the NCA clearly and unequivocally fall under the AKC Board’s own exception and we quote, “AKC has no comparable events in place.”? For the record, since the very first show, the vast majority of our judges have been AKC judges from Group and multiple-Group judges to those with a few breeds. We would hope the AKC Board and its Delegates do not deny this valuable learning opportunity to its AKC judges.
One final thought for each of you. Does the prestigious and venerable AKC want to be placed nationally in a negative role by denying dedicated judges, breeders and other individuals the opportunity to spend a weekend exchanging thoughts and their experience in the dog world to learn more about breeds that they one day would hope to judge for the AKC? Surely, all of you are aware of the very negative comments that your recent ruling has generated throughout the sport.
In view of the January 1st, 2007 implementation date, we ask that either the AKC President or AKC Executive Secretary advise us as to the AKC Board’s decision on this matter at the earliest possible date.
Wallace H. Pedé
Info copy: Mr. James P. Crowley, AKC Executive Secretary
This letter is being sent to:
AKC Chairman of the Board, Ronald Menaker
AKC President, Dennis Sprung
and All AKC Board Members.
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