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AKC REGISTRATION RULE CHANGES
Renaming dogs, registering dogs with no papers, failure to honor contracts; new AKC Registration Rules harm show breeders while favoring backyard breeders and puppy mills.
April 01, 2009 | TheDogPress Club News
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
If you're not feeling foolish yet, we're working on it.. Like a really bad April Fool's prank, there have been not-very-funny changes in AKC registration procedures, namely;
1) Allowing subsequent owners to rename a dog, possibly multiple times, and
2) Registration of progeny from dogs sold as pets or unregistered “not for breeding.”
3) Refusal to honor disputed contracts until the matter is settled in court.
We have made every effort to get the American Kennel Club to refute those interpretations but we are on deadline and so far, no one at AKC has replied to the ten questions we sent last week, See Registry Redacted.
AKC also refused to answer similar questions late last year but we were hopeful that with registration income tanking on a par with the stock market, AKC might feel some obligation to its customers. We were wrong.
As breeder of over 200 AKC champions, many of which are ROM, Group, and Best In Show winners, I am one of AKC’s biggest fans. This publication wants me to be wrong - but not at the expense of looking like a fool.
Hundreds of readers have written to express concern, outrage, or disbelief as we covered ongoing changes in registration policies. We're beginning to feel like Fox News but here are even more changes and how they inflict more damage on purebred dogs and careful breeding programs.
Registered Name Changes. In March 2008, AKC quietly approved a policy allowing owners to change the name of a dog for $25 provided it was born in the U.S., had not produced a litter or won an award and the breeder had failed to individually register the puppy. The only way you can prevent a dog from being renamed is to individually register each puppy in the litter before letting it leave your home. As the second Name Change Rule already this year, only a fool would believe there won't be more that favor puppy mills.
Most long-time breeders name puppies according to a theme or like horse breeders, include part of the sire or dam’s name or the old German method of naming litters by alphabet. Thus a dog’s name used to signify not only the breeder and kennel but its littermates, making pedigree study much easier.
For over a century, breeders filled in the puppy’s name and the new owner’s information on the “blue slip” and no one thought of it as cheating AKC out of an extra $20 per puppy. Times have changed. AKC now looks at this practice as a multi-million dollar loss but the steps taken to discourage it are strange indeed.
Alteration of a blue slip used to be punishable by loss of privileges. Then as AKC grew and processed so many registrations, things got sloppy and people began adding to or altering the name filled in by the breeder. There was no need to complain, I know because I did but to no avail. AKC denied liability and after a couple of my Canine Chronicle columns on that subject, AKC simply removed the warning printed on the blue slips. By the mid-nineties, there had been multiple changes and disclaimers and finally AKC changed the blue slips into the full sized legal document currently in use.
Look for changes on the registration application or certificate notifying buyers they can re-name the dog, for $25. Enhancing AKC’s new “register anything” policy, properly known as the $ Administrative Pedigree Research Service $, changing the dog’s registered name makes it much more difficult to spot criminal fraud such as getting full registration on a pet puppy sold with “no papers.”
Obtaining anything of comparable value under false pretenses is a felony. But who cares?
So it appears that dishonest owners and/or puppy mills can get full registration and then change the dog’s name so the breeder won’t recognize it as the pet-with-no-papers. Not only will your puppy sale agreement not be honored by AKC, you’ll have a hard time proving you weren’t complicit when that dog’s progeny start emerging from a puppy mill or are discovered (by your worst enemy of course!) for sale at Petland!
Regarding registered name changes, AKC judge and long-time breeder Dany Canino, in her March 2009 Showsight Magazine column says “I recently experienced this. I had sold two pups that had been named by me and about a week after I sold them, the new owners changed their names. Why on earth AKC would think this idea to be good, I don’t know.”
Dany goes on to point out the difficulty of a breeder tracking a dog’s winnings which many of us like to do. How can you know that Ch. Harry’s Fido is actually the standout puppy you and the buyer agreed to name XYZ’s Great Showdog 2B? Breeders also want to know when one of their breeding has been resold, and to whom. Most breeders guarantee puppies; actually, we guarantee more for less than do the car manufacturers (!) and we want to know if for any reason, an owner can’t keep the dog. We either take it back or help get the dog into a good home.
Defending this new rule, the AKC Registration Dept. VP actually said pet owners might want to change the name and register it after a relative! April Fools! For every one-time dog buyer willing to pay $25 to re-register and rename a dog, there are a hundred show breeders who pay thousands to register hundreds of dogs. They are going to be mad as hell when we convince them that AKC is really doing this!
Unfortunately, that’s not all. There are many more questions than answers. After placing four calls to AKC last week, on Friday I was finally able to speak with David Roberts, Assistant Vice President of AKC Registrations. He was polite, professional, and personable.
I emailed him the ten registration-related questions outlined in Registry Redacted because they are the most asked by breeders. Under other circumstances, a PR person would have popped off meaningless answers on the spot but to his credit, Mr. Roberts promised to get back to us by Tuesday's deadline. But then Monday he sent an email to the effect that he had been instructed to refer the questions to AKC communications.
Maybe someone in communications knows more about registrations than does the VP of the Registration Department. Go figure.
Depending on AKC’s position which I predict we won’t know until it is too late, it looks like you have few alternatives if you care what happens to your kennel name, your dogs, and your ethics. You can ignore the direction in which the dog sport, like a giant oil tanker, is irrevocably headed. Just pretend the rocky shoals don’t exist. Make believe this is a movie and at the last minute, we’ll all be rescued with no harm done.
You can say “To hell with this, I’ll just keep a couple of neutered dogs, enjoy them, and quit agonizing over stupid things like Human Rights and breeding show dogs.”
Or you can cowboy up and say “I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it any more. I’m joining a march on AKC's Madison Avenue office!" The news media will be there to cover the protest because their sponsors know that dog lovers are big spenders and this is going to be a big “media event.” Shucks, if I’m not training a puppy or going to shows, what else is there to do? Count me in!
Actually, there could be two marches, one in Raleigh NC which is where AKC’s Registration Operations are located, and one in New York City, where AKC policy is made. Or perhaps the new board members will rethink the current direction and it will never be necessary to protect our breeding programs.
At the risk of sounding like a fanatical dog lover, my horse is saddled.
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