For the third time, in
May 11, 2010 the American Kennel Club
board voted to impose an annual fee on
all non-delegate conformation
judges based on AKC’s subsidies to the
Judging Operations department.
| Barbara J. Andrews,
The reaction was the same
as when AKC sought to
impose a judges' fee five years ago.
So this attempt to charge judges to
judge has nothing to do with
“the economy” but you can’t blame AKC for
Senior Conformation Judges Association, founded by judging legends
like Melborne Downing and Lt. Col. Wallace Pede, was the first and by
most accounts is still the largest national judges group. The SCJA tried to
get the other two judges groups to present a unified front on the
issue. I don't think that happened but the Senior Judges
persevered and once again, AKC withdrew the “judges’ tax” plan.
The SCJA takes a clear and public position whereas the
other two judges’ groups say nothing. The Dog Press wrote to all
three associations on May 28th and asked them for a
position statement. The result?
Purkhiser, Dog Judges Assoc. of America (DJAA) was succinct; stating
only that their position would be
presented to the AKC. In a second email exchange, the Colonel
elaborated, saying he didn’t think he should discuss the DJAA’s
position with anyone until it was presented to the AKC. Okay…
think this was a Pentagon decision, not something as obvious as a
tick on your dog’s eyelid.
Penta, President of the American Dog Show Judges (ADSJ), did not
even extend the courtesy of a reply.
remember when Dr. Penta asked me to drive all the way from NC to PA
to present my breed at his “judges’ school”. I replied.
asked my husband to make the drive, he said
“who’s the guy?” I remember saying “I think he’s a break-away from
the SCJA; formed his own school but its for a good cause.” The
trip was good, beautiful country and great people. Dr. Penta never
so much as said “thank you” but that was okay because all the
time, as before, we just
wrote off Dr. Penta’s lack of civility to “being rude is okay when
you’re such an important person” but I’m willing to bet he
just doesn’t want
to talk to the press.
judges association that cared enough (or dared enough) to respond to
our request for a statement was the
SCJA, formed in 1983 with over 400 members
comprised of 21 of the 22 All Breed Judges; people like William Kendrick
and Glen Fancy.
Pede is the guy who
claims to have only flown a desk (not true!) and his secretary sent us tons of information including
correspondence with the AKC
regarding judging fees.
regretful that the leaders of the other two Judges groups refused to
state a position but having discussed it with many of their members,
it is safe to say that both the ADSJ and DJAA judges were
unilaterally opposed to AKC’s plan to charge a judging fee.
this about that - if I belonged to an organization whose leader
refused to issue a statement on something the membership felt so
strongly about, I’d be leaving that group faster than a Shelby
Mustang leaving a red light.
revolt also had a lot to do with AKC excluding their own delegate
judge Board Members from having to pay the fees. Judges I talked to said THAT was “self-serving”,
“typical”, “unfair” and “vote bribery” and a few more things!
for now but make no mistake, AKC will enforce fees on judges rather
than move some of the incorrectly categorized Judging Ops costs to
Events where they rightly belong . My
bet is that the AKC board of directors will rethink the plan, this
time considering feedback and suggestions from the judges and they
will come up with a proposal that:
Is much less
complicated and less expensive to administer;
Only charges a
small yearly fee for each GROUP a judge has;
(because if you don’t have a group, you ain’t judging much
judges whether they are Delegates or not.
guess based on honest, objective comments we received from the judges. Sadly,
I’m not sure AKC gets such candid responses from judges who want more
here’s the last word on the subject, extracted from a letter to the
judges from Mr. Ron Menaker, American Kennel Club CEO;
feedback from the judging community on the necessity for the fee has
been very supportive. However, the feedback on the methodology for
application of the fee has met with universal disapproval. Healthy
debate is critical to the viability of a strong and vibrant
organization. The Board values the opinions of the judging community
and appreciates the many constructive suggestions offered concerning
the fee structure methodology. With the input of the judging
community in mind, the Board today has taken the following actions:
approved fee structure has been withdrawn by the Board and new
fee structures will be considered. The concept of judges’ fees
The Board has
instructed AKC staff to revisit the alternatives discussed over
the past year in addition to the other suggestions made recently
by several judges to arrive at several equitable methods for
The Board has
instructed AKC staff to meet again with representatives of
judges organizations for input on these methodologies before any
final decision is made.
imperative that all of us come together to face our challenges with
the same passion, sportsmanship, and determination that is the
hallmark of the great competitive spirit of the fancy. When we have
come together in this manner in the past, we have accomplished great
things. For the good of the sport we all love so much, we must now
move forward together.
of the Board”
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor
Get previous coverage & related information by digging for gold:
AKC Judging Fee
(tax) on judges.
Letter To AKC Board SCJA strongly opposes Judges Licensing Fee
Background (Part 1)
AKC Judges' Privacy & Legal Rights (Part 2)