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Mrs. Barbara Schwartz, Show Operations AVP


As a follow-up to Wrong Dog Scandal TheDogPress asks:

What does AKC do when fake dog names are used on dog show entry forms in order to secure higher entry numbers for top campaign dogs which, if listed or known in advance, would scare away competitors?


Interview conducted April 2003 by Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief, and it should be noted that "Rules" can change overnight.


If anyone has evidence of similar tactics in use today, please use the link below to go back to the COMMENTS section included in the Wrong Dog coverage.


TheDogPress: Thank you for your time this morning. We are grateful for your candor and concern about the possible abuse of AKC show rules.


Having established that there are loopholes in the show rules that are used by unscrupulous exhibitors to gain unfair advantage over their competition, can you tell us what AKC is doing to tighten or revise those rules?


Ms. Schwartz: I agree that there are loopholes in the Rules Applying to Dog Shows, but most violations are errors of omission, an unawareness of the rule or an honest mistake. The responsibility of the AKC is to apply the existing rules in the same manner to everybody in the sport.


When aware of a rule violation or one is reported to the AKC, the Show Operations department is responsible for researching the issue. When applicable, we may subsequently disallow awards, recommend fines, or reprimand clubs, superintendents, show secretaries or perhaps simply call the violation to the attention of somebody who may not be aware of the existing rule. We try to provide guidance and at the same time enforce the rules as published.


In some situations, there are rules that provide for disciplinary action to be taken. This does not occur very often relative to dog shows. Most people do not want to lose their AKC privileges or pay a fine for an offense. Eventually they comply with whatever is needed to rectify a situation.

Two years ago, the Show Operations Division established an internal committee comprised of staff members with extensive experience in the sport (exhibitors, judges, handlers, show chairmen, etc.) who have taken on the task of revising the rules. We work closely with the Delegates’ Committee on Dog Show Rules. The recent change to the Bred By Exhibitor Class is an excellent example of the two groups working together. We are in the process of reformatting the rules and as we go through the process, we are identifying areas that require updating and clarity.


TheDogPress: We understand that it is not the duty of the judge to ascertain identity of an exhibit, to know of or be in any way influenced by what goes on outside of the judging ring. That is as it should be. What is AKC’s role in determining when substitution fraud has been committed and what is the penalty when a determination has been made that the exhibitor did so knowingly or deliberately?


Ms. Schwartz: I have not been personally involved with a case involving substitution fraud in Show Operations in my four years in Show Operations. There are however, cases that have been referred to our investigations department. When that occurs, depending on the findings, an exhibitor found guilty of rule violation is subject to all AKC Rules and Regulations and may be suspended and/or fined for violation of the rule(s).


TheDogPress: When a dog has been improperly entered, whether by carelessness or intent, and a Best Of Breed or Best Opposite win is rescinded, it does not change the result as far as the exhibitors are concerned. They were deprived of an opportunity to win that class. There is no reserve BB or BOS. Should it not fall within the AKC Representative’s authority or that of a Bench Committee to investigate and resolve a valid protest at that time in order to prevent a next-day repetition and to protect the rights of others in the class?


Ms. Schwartz: Virtually all errors stemming from entry forms are due to carelessness. Most common are entries for puppies in the wrong age group, or marking the sex incorrectly. The opportunity for error on an entry form is virtually endless. This is one of the major reasons owners should check the entry id when it is returned from the Show Superintendent or Show Secretary. When there is a question regarding eligibility of a dog, Show Operations (after the event has occurred) often attains a copy of the original entry from the superintendent/show secretary. Frequently we find errors due to an inability to read handwriting, or simple mistakes in the data about the dog. In most cases these are easily resolved without problems.


If a dog that has been improperly entered for Best of Breed competition, there are many possibilities. It could be a simple error of the wrong sex, misspelling the name, etc. It could be a data entry error. It’s imperative to thoroughly investigate the matter. If a BOB or BOS award is rescinded, one must remember that all competitors have an equal opportunity to enter and win at any event. The details of the entry are not known until the day of the event. Further, each judging program carries a disclaimer regarding accuracy of the tabulation.


When this type of situation is discovered at a show, most people will go first to the superintendent to question the entry. If an AKC Field Rep is in attendance, his or her advice might well be sought. The AKC Rep is not in a position to bar a dog from entering the ring. If the exhibitor believes the dog is legitimately entered, then the exhibitor can walk into the ring and compete. If somebody protests this, a superintendent or show secretary will often make a judgment call based on his or her knowledge of the situation and interpretation of the Rules Applying to Dog Shows and AKC policies. Past that, the recourse is to file a complaint in writing to Show Operations, and we investigate the situation.


TheDogPress: Is there a written guideline regarding how many changes to a dog’s entry may be made on the Superintendent’s correction form?


Ms. Schwartz: Yes - the allowable changes are listed in Chapter 11, Section 6 of the Rules Applying to Dog Shows. Additionally, the superintendents are allowed to correct errors in registration numbers and names, but not both on the same entry form. Chapter 14, Section 7 pertains to the eligibility of a dog and Chapter 14 Section 8 governs errors and mistakes in catalogs and judges’ books.


AKC goes by the entry form since the catalog can contain data entry errors. For example, if the superintendent's database has information stored and is accessed by the registration number, it may automatically fill in the information for the dog whose registration number is keyed in.


TheDogPress: In the rare event a Judge marks the book wrong or the Superintendent makes an error, the exhibitor may be asked to provide proof they received the ribbon in order to validate their claim of having won. When a win is rescinded, is the exhibitor ordered to return the ribbons? If they refuse, what does AKC do?


Ms. Schwartz: This is addressed in Chapter 14, Section 10 of the Rules. If a win is cancelled, the owner shall return all prizes other than ribbons (change to rule effective 1/2001) to the show-giving club. Trophies, however, must be returned, and if the owner fails to comply, they may be suspended or fined according to this rule. And yes, the AKC follows up on this.


TheDogPress: What would you like to say to exhibitors regarding entry mistakes and/or fraud?


Ms. Schwartz: We must remember that we all make mistakes and ask ourselves how we would feel if we made an honest, careless mistake which resulted in a significant win being taken away. Would we think the AKC unreasonable and lacking in understanding if the rules are applied to our dog and our error? Each situation is different, but the rules must be applied universally.


Fraud is a different issue and difficult to prove when discussing an entry. Was the mistake an honest error - or intentional? Is it likely that anybody who deliberately makes this type of 'error' will admit it? AKC’s role is to determine if rules have been violated, intentionally or not, and to make a judgment based on facts.


TheDogPress: Thank you for taking the time to provide this information to our readers.


The above interview with AKC Show Operations resulted from a secret practice among dog show professionals which was revealed in Wrong Dog Scandal Your comments or reports of any similar current tricks can be shared in the comments section of the Wrong Dog coverage.  


Find related American Kennel Club rules in Chapter 11 http://www.akc.org/dic/clubs/showrule.cfm?page=12 and Chapter 14 http://www.akc.org/dic/clubs/showrule.cfm?page=15


http://www.thedogpress.com/ClubNews/Entry-form-fraud-AKC-Show-Op-interview-0304ed.asp #1504156


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