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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM DOG SHOW JUDGES, BREEDERS, EXHIBITORS & HANDLERSYour Letters To Editor are one of our most-read features!  


DoodleDog's nose is permanently bent out of shape so keep your letter short or typical bully, he'll bury it!  He likes letters signed but if he knows you (and you toss him a bone) he can withhold your name.  NOTE: We embed your email to block spammers but will sometimes provide your URL as additional information for readers. 

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 Distemper Editorial - I really like your editorial on the Arizona new distemper strain scare.   I tend not to trust any information coming out of or about Arizona these days, but your editorial is specific, informative, and rational.   In fact, I think you ought to invent a vaccine against bad reporting.  Our dogs--and cats--don't need excessive vaccination, but we could use some immunity against misinformation and disinformation.  Roberta Pliner

Regarding Point Scale question by Deann Haggard: a very GOOD question came up. Triggered by my article “Preserving Breed Standards”, this person asked a representative of a sporting breed parent club WHY, when their standards came out, did they eliminate the point scale? ANSWER: Too hard for various members of the club to agree on what attributes to give the most and least weight to.

MY QUESTION IS THIS: When did it become the responsibility of respective breed club members to make this decision? Point scales were put there by breeders much wiser than today. They used these animals for specific jobs during a time when their livelihood depended on it. At one time, specific adjectives clarified “characteristics and general descriptions” in the standards. The removal of such “adjectives” only added to the confusion. Both are “TOOLS” to be used by breeders and judges. . Removing a point scale is (should be) a “moot point”, because “what was” should be “what is”.

Too many people breed to “opinions”, NOT to the standard. “Breeding opinions” changes “TYPE”. Judges become confused with the variety of “looks” in the ring today. How can a judge be expected to prioritize without these tools to guide them? Type change may “catch the eye” for awhile, until the “next big thing” comes along and it becomes “pass’e”. ”Disqualifications” in standards were put there for OUR protection as well. They assist in avoiding genetic defects and help promote specific virtues that separate one breed from another. E. Katie Gammill

Impressed:  Once again, I am very impressed with the information you provide readers.  I am a German Shepherd Breeder and take great pride in what I do; these pups are my life. I have always wondered what was the AKC doing to promote the sport of showing and responsible breeders. I see nothing!  Thanks again for your continued efforts of keeping people informed,  Richard Beham  www.neogermanshepherds.com

Group Left Out: on Defining the Fancy! I might suggest that one group has been left out: Owners that do not exhibit their own dogs. They too spend a lot of money on this hobby and in supporting it. Loved the article.  Jennifer

Wondering about diatomaceous: Do you have an opinion on DIATOMACEOUS EARTH for the treatment of fleas, ticks worms, mites etc...? Have heard when mixed with pets food it is a great deterrent and it is natural and organic.  Dennis Hazeltine  Thanks for asking!  I've been told it is effective and safe and that there's a great website that has it and also lots of good information.  www.wolfcreekranch.net/diatomaceous_earth.html

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Whose lives are worth more? Experimental/Lab Dogs vs the Favorite Home Pet The folks at The Rabies Challenge would like us to believe that the sacrifice of 80-100 small beagles when they are killed to be evaluated after exposure to a live rabies vaccine to prove the longevity of current rabies vaccine is worth it. In their effort to reduce the chances of adverse vaccine reactions for all dogs, an admirable cause, they have sought donations for over 3 years in order to conduct their experiment, The problem is: they have not been honest and straightforward with what they have presented to the public and those supporting them. To begin the study group's website is cheerful and bright featuring happy smiling dogs, where you can buy picture placemats, calendars and coffee mugs. There are no writhing, gasping or vomiting dogs, suffocating in pain as they suffer spasms and ultimately die or are killed once exposed to the rabies virus. Nor are the ones who withstand the virus shown heaped on a table in plastic bags since they too must be killed per the experimental design and requirements. That's right, these dogs for yours, or so they try and convince, since the actual frequency of adverse reactions to vaccines, and that does not include only the rabies, are infinitesimally small. Just take a look at the Banfield study that reviewed over 1 million vaccine post reports from several associated clinics. The research does not support this nor in any way justify the use and killing of 100 more beagles just to test this out again. So why are they doing it? Who knows. I have at times wondered, would they be so willing to use their own pets for such a "worthwhile" study rather than a group of unknown/un-named small dogs locked away in a lab area somewhere until the end. Perhaps, we could see the merit were it saving human lives, but trading these dogs for someone else's pet? ON balance, how is this justified?. Trust me, don't ask the researchers, as they will explain nothing nor will they share the exact experimental design with you if you ask, for reasons that are a bit mysterious if this is so on the up and up. In any, event take a look at their site. www.rabieschallenge.org and see for yourself and maybe drop them a note. If no one says something and raises the issue to confront this group for explanation, they will die in silence Walt Stone

Interesting - Reach, Drive, & Proportion is an interesting article.  Rincy

AKC Pomoting Purebreds? The ONLY time I have ever seen any advertisement by the AKC for pure-bred dogs is during the TV coverage of Westminster. Period. The AKC has allowed the ARs to take over the public's opinion about obtaining a dog. The AKC could easily point out that many of the dogs at shelters are there for a reason - they have serious genetic or behavioral problems. "Street dogs" will always prevail. Those of us who are responsible dog breeders and/or owners aren't responsible for the shelter problems. While I respect the AKC 100, I do think it's time they took a realistic look at what's happening and take some serious action. Thank you for your editorial - it really does hit home.  NANCY

More On Promoting Purebreds - Great article! I am one of the breeders you mentioned, having gone from being on the board of my parent club and V.P. of our local kennel club, to not belonging to any clubs and having not shown a single time last year. This is after a lifetime in the sport, starting as a junior, and 38 years in my breed. AKC has done nothing to promote pure bred dogs or the sport or the fancy. My dissatisfaction reached its zenith during the anniversary of 9-11. What a perfect time for AKC to have had a grand, emotional commercial airing prime time, showing the valiant dogs working at Ground Zero. Goldens, Tervs, Shepherds, and others, working to save lives or recover the lost. PURE Bred dogs all. How effective would that have been to counter the emotional commercials of mixed breed dogs in shelters waiting to be rescued? The days of a sense of smug superiority have passed- it's time to fight fire with fire- if it's not too late? Keep up the good work, Maureen Lucas

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Opinion of AKC Wrong? Re article: AKC Registration Rule Changes, Early last month, my current litter of puppies was microchipped when they went for an 8-week vet check. I just yesterday received the tags and welcoming letters from AKC. As I went to sign transfers for a couple of puppy buyers, I noted that the letter now directed me to an AKC website: http://www.akccar.org/transfer/TransferForm.pdf. OK, yet another fee for transfer change--Sigh.... Then I noticed the statement Check box if you are NOT providing previous owner's name and signature. Apparently, it is possible now to transfer a microchip if previous owner does not respond within a given time period after notification. This seems to support what you wrote regarding name changes.  Thanks for bringing this subject to my attention. I will plan to let my veterinarian know about this, and I will research other microchip services to find out their policies.  Margaret A (Peggy) Duezabou, MS--Animals & Public Policy

Anything New: Is there any way we can protect healthy animals from being stolen and sold?  Is there any word the government may step in to protect our animals? Is there any thing new? Faye Parkinson

Helping or Hurting Purebred Dogs While Tam Cordingley raises a few interesting points it should be possible to address those issues without trashing breeders and exhibitors. While I won't undertake a full exegesis of her errors, I will point out that all the setters and pointers, and many of the herding breeds do in fact stare fixedly at their "prey" or stray members of the herd. Foxhounds learn to back off the fox, and Rhodesian ridgebacks and the coonhounds also watch and wait while holding their quarry at bay.  We are not breeding wild animals who depend on their instincts and skill for their food. We are breeding companion animals, and one highly desired characteristic is biddability--the trait that allows us to train dogs to free stack for exhibition.  Sadly, I think Ms Cordingley is speaking more from her perspective as a rescue worker, shelter employee and "Humane Officer" than as a breeder and exhibitor. Her comments can only be harmful to the sport.  Mary Lynn Elliston Applegarth Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Affenpinschers  Editor: A more objective read of Ms. Cordingley's material and a look at her bio might give you a different perspective. I can't speak for her other than to say she's as good a dog person as I've ever known (and I know her well) so if her column misled or confused you, it is my fault as editor for not tweaking it for more clarity.  I also think you misunderstood that most of her life has been spent as a breeder, professional all breeds handler, trainer, and consultant, not in shelter work although that does give her a broader view of dogs than we show breeders seem to have.

 

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