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The United Kennel Club is back in the news as the brunt of two rumors, both involving HSUS and animal rights, apparently meant to demean UKC’s integrity.


Jan 2015 | TheDogPress.com

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief


Photo/Video Courtesy United Kennel Club

TheDogPress received an email asking if “HSUS or one of the other AR groups contacted UKC's owner to discuss how to go about breeding dogs.”


Almost as ludicrous, another source called to say that he had heard the United Kennel Club might be for sale and had we heard anything? No we had not but the office manager asked the caller if anyone had made an offer. He said he heard it was HSUS and that if that was true everyone was pulling their entries.


The first bit of gossip had to have originated as a joke. Can you imagine the animal rights people breeding dogs or going on a night hunt? Traipsing through the woods tripping over stumps and rattlesnakes? Maybe they want to research the market, understand the value before putting money on the table?


We laughed out loud over the image of Wayne Pacelle trying to rescue a raccoon, blissfully unaware that the cute little critter can whip his weight in wildcats!


Photo Courtesy Coonhound Gazette

But on second thought, we decided to contact UKC because I sensed something ominous in the rumors. One way to erode customer confidence and in this case, event entries, is to cast doubt on a company’s products or its future. It is done all the time but to think the sport of dogs is a corporate target is worrisome.


Last September we received a tip that Mr. Cavanaugh had been “booted out” (pretty hard to do that to the owner) or was ill. He hadn’t been seen “in ages.” We ignored it until our offices received a press release stating Tanya Raab had been named President of the United Kennel Club.


Incredulous, we called Wayne Cavanaugh. The news was all good. Wayne confirmed that he had moved his personal office down the street out of the busy hubbub and that indeed, Tanya would be “taking care of business” while he explored other avenues. {ref #1}


This time I sent a personal note to Mr. Cavanaugh asking about the buyout rumor. He promptly replied in part “I'm not even sure how to respond to this one BJ! Obviously, no one from HSUS has called or offered to buy the UKC… If HSUS ever decides to start breeding dogs, you have quite the story!


We had a quick email exchange, interesting when he mentioned “…it's the season for a few of the bigger UKC Coonhunts so a busy time.” In my (much) younger days, I actually followed my daddy and some other men through the piney woods of north Florida. It was mysterious and exciting and a little bit scary.


Twenty years ago, our company co-sponsored a NC coonhound event organized by one of our Master plumbers. The worst that happened to any raccoon was that it got wet and furiously mad when the cage was suspended over the river to test the dogs in water. Coon hunting is a traditional sport kept alive (since 1898) by breeders and a registry that truly believes in dogs that can still do what they were bred to do.


Spectators are welcome and not all coonhound events take place at night. Check out the UKC Coonhound events schedule and plan a day of fun and camaraderie.


The coursing breeds have their events and in fact, TheDogPlace.org covered one of the most prestigious Irish Wolfhound events. Of course everyone knows about the terrier races but they also have “go to ground” events. Barn Hunts are an equally wonderful event that even elderly dogs and people can enjoy.


Ref #1 UKC Leadership Rumors


Grab your popcorn and click over to VIDEO THEATER for highlights from the 2014 UKC Coonhound World Championship Finals in Montpelier, Ohio.  Got your boots on and your headlamp for the night hunt?

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