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AKC Judging "Conflict Policy"


Multi-Venue Dog Show Judge speaks out on AKC Judging Conflict Policy which restricts learning and employment opportunities.


August 2006

Pam Simmons, AKC, UKC, ASCA, ARBA, Judge


It is indeed a very sad day when the AKC dictates where its judges may contribute to the sport of dogs. Unfortunately the 800 lb gorilla has muscled into the board room and will continue to micro manage everyone's affairs.


They have very carefully couched this edict to avoid any legal repercussions by stating that should you decide to judge in other venues you will not be allowed to judge for the AKC. No one has the right to tell me where I choose to offer my services or where I am able to advance my education or register my dogs.


This being the case, all dual venue judges will most definitely have decisions to make. I will also interject my concern here that with this policy already passed has AKC BOD approval, the policy is in place and most likely will not rescind it, per AKC BOD history. Given this policy's existence, the door is now open for AKC to dictate your rights to cross register your dogs. Be assured that the NON Cross Registration policy has already been upheld in Federal District Court and AKC can indeed institute the same policy in their registry.


Many of you as registrants of other venues, who may see this new conflict of interest policy as having no affect on you, are sadly mistaken. Many of you may not care or have any dog in the fight so to speak, however you all need to voice your objections where ever you can and also support the people who are directly affected by this outrageous policy.


Many of the dual judges have one or 2 AKC Groups and are Best in Show judges. These people have invested many thousands of dollars of their own money and countless hours of time. The economics of their personal situations may dictate giving up other venue judgeships. This decision  has nothing to do with any feeling that AKC is better than any other venue, but has more to do with sound business decisions.


Many up and coming AKC/dual judges, while having invested thousands of dollars and countless hours of time, do have the same economic considerations to weigh and do reside further down the food chain of AKC judge seniority. I will relate my personal position as merely an example. I am a fully vested UKC conformation judge as well as a UKC earth working judge. I have only 2 regular AKC breeds and am well into the process of obtaining 2 more provisional breeds.


The reality of my situation/decision is to me is a no" brainer", as I shall illustrate. The AKC rule of thumb is that it takes $20-30,000 and a good 10 years of time to hopefully be allowed to judge an entire Group. I am 58 years old, if this is true by the time I'm 68 and have a Group, I will still be virtually unemployable as an AKC judge.


You see the long and short of AKC Kennel Club hiring of judges is that most hold clusters not individual shows. In order for these clubs to break even they must employ judges who can judge MULTIPLE Groups, thus get the most bang for the money spent. In addition as I move up the "ranks", I cannot solicit assignments either as a provisional or as a regular judge. So I must wait until a club invites me to judge.


As a result of this system it may take anywhere from 1-3 years or more for me to have the required 5 provisional assignments and then I may not draw either an entry or enough of  an entry for my evaluation to count. I have made my decision to reject my AKC judgeship if (and I do believe it will) the policy stands. All the education in the world is useless unless a judge is allowed to practice the art. I do not intend to reject the support and kindness shown to me in other venues, by exhibitors as well as hosting clubs.


I encourage all judges to unite in protest, even if you are not an AKC judge. The repercussions of a policy such as this infringes on all of your rights to pursue your personal aspirations. If AKC can institute this policy then so can any other venue (mind you most will not). Now is the time to protest not when it eventually may affect you, as frankly it does now. You will loose a number of quality judges.


All judges, regardless of the venue, should join the SCJA (Senior Conformation Judges Assoc.) and send letters of protest to  Let this organization know your feelings and help them to fight this horrid policy. The SCJA does care what all of you think and is mounting a fight,  accepting all venue judges into their membership and allowing them to attend/participate in all educational seminars.


By all means send your protest to UKC, let them know you will support them in this fight; send your protest to any and all other organizations whose dogs are also already in the fight! Please do not sit idly by and think only of how this may impact you. Think how it is affecting the future of the sport of dogs and trust that this AKC policy DOES affect you now.

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