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AKC BOARD MINUTES, NEWS, COMMENTARY
AKC Field Reps, frozen semen, Register Of Merit (ROM), show rankings, proposed $25 exhibition tax, Pekingese Club, Toy Fox Terrier Club, and club theft dominate the news!
Not all the news is released in the AKC Board Meeting Minutes or in the Chairman's Report. For background, see prophetic Oct. 2008 editorial, AKC Economics and Wall Street. This is just a brief summary of discussed, approved, or shelved business reported by AKC.
American Kennel Club Field Reps: For 2008, there were 1415 all breed shows, and the Executive Field Reps (EFR) covered 1372 or 97% of shows. That is a huge improvement since the turn of this century because prior to that, the odds of ever seeing an AKC Rep was only when you had done something wrong.
Show Rankings: The AKC Board is still thinking about setting up its own conformation ranking system. Some think that would be great, especially since so many dog food sponsors no longer support a ratings system. Others worry that it would diminish established Awards developed by the breed clubs. A multi-group judge pointed out that AKC already profits from selling show results to the dog magazines and he went on to say having AKC take over the ratings “would be like letting the Government Accounting Office run our banking system.”
Champion Progeny: Breed Clubs began to keep track of top sires and dams after this editor established the Register Of Merit System in 1968 (see below). Yet to this day, the AKC can not tell you how many champions a dog has produced. This totally contradicts the reason AKC puts forth for holding dog shows. While there were no computers "back then" AKC has never cared about the genetic aspect of breeding and showing dogs to make use of the computerized registrations and record keeping. I laboriously kept records on the 3 x 5 index card system. The American Kennel Club could have been in the best position to help breeders perpetuate the genetic qualities of outstanding sires and dams. Project shelved but here is additional background:
ROM System: Appears it is not to be developed by AKC. In the Sixties I began publishing the Rottweiler Handbooks, laboriously compiling records from the tiny print in the AKC Gazette. The Akita was recognized in 1972 so in 1973, I published the first Akita Handbook, which in addition to champion progeny also tabulated points for Breed and Group ratings, and included complete show results that were cross-indexed to Judges and Breeders. The Handbooks were the first “Register Of Merit System” and two years later I expanded the ROM, creating the ROMX, ROMP, and the ultimate ROMXP title. My copyrighted Register Of Merit system and titles were later “adopted” by the Akita Club Of America, then formalized when I granted the club legal permission to use it. The ROM system is now used by many breed clubs and it could have been programmed into AKC's computers to provide genetic indicators.
Frozen Semen Program: Instead of genetic indicators, AKC announced it is considering a frozen semen program. AKC President Dennis Sprung, addressing the Delegates Meeting, explained that a semen program would “generate significant revenue for AKC.” It is a free market so it would be only fair if the companies that invested $millions pioneering frozen and chilled canine semen semen began registering dogs to make up for the lost business. Actually, they might consider partnering up with the dog show superintendents because it is possible AKC will revisit offering that service.
AKC Exhibition Tax: AKC plans to help pay for the frozen semen start-up by imposing something called an Annual Activity Fee. Call it what you will but most will call it what it is, a TAX! It is no small amount either. AKC is talking about an initial (you know what that means) tax of $25.00 for each dog, each year you exhibit the dog. But not to worry, the $millions from the Exhibition Tax will be used to help fund other worthwhile programs. There. That should make every exhibitor feel much better. Unless the new income to the not-for-profit AKC is over- estimated. Surely the tax is will impact already declining entries. I call it the "Whoa!!!" effect as the novice exhibitor re-considers continuing in such an expensive “hobby.”
AKC imposed a 700% increase on the Event Recording Fee in 2008 (see AKC Economics) but when it tried to float an unlimited Recording fee "tax" increase in June 2008, the Delegates finally said "no way." So is the "Annual Activity Fee", aka Exhibition Tax just a work-around?
Registrations: Some twenty years ago I was given a tour of The Kennel Club’s (England) registration department. They were converting from index cards to computer records but even then, I’ll wager they could have come up with how many champion progeny any TKC registered dog had produced. TKC registers fewer dogs than AKC but The Kennel Club employs only a fraction of the staff. The handful of registration department staff was busily at work in the section we visited. There was a big tote board on the wall that displayed the numbers and processing time elapsed. Litter registration turnaround was only 3 to 5 days in England at a time when it took 6 to 8 weeks to get a litter packet back from AKC.
Theft of Club Funds: The Board discussed the theft of club funds by club members. This crime appears to be on the increase. AKC has offered repeated recommendations but many clubs still don’t have their financial records audited or their officers bonded. Most theft cases call for civil or criminal action so AKC has stayed out of it but management will re-think this and report back to the Board.
Pekingese Club: The Board received and considered material from the Pekingese Club of America (PCA), and a request to reinstate the club’s show-giving privileges. The Peke Club took steps to address concerns previously raised by the AKC Board such as the PCA Board having canceled its February 2009 annual meeting. The problem is said to be that the PCA Bylaws call for the annual meeting to be in conjunction with the February show but the show approval was withheld by AKC because the club couldn’t resolve internal discord. Talk about a rock and a hard place! New York State law requires holding an annual meeting if called for in the Bylaws, so the AKC Board believes that it should be held. AKC says its disapproval of the PCA’s traditional big February show was “not intended to, and should not have affected the holding of any club meeting.” Obviously there wouldn’t have been much of a meeting if held because many members make the trip for the Pekingese Club’s super Specialty show prior to Westminster. The AKC Board will discuss this further at its February Meeting but hopefully the PCA will find a work-around to avoid jeopardizing its NY Charter.
American Toy Fox Terrier Club: The Board was advised that the club did not follow its bylaws completely with respect to the ballot in its recent election. There was a motion by Mrs. Schaefer, seconded by Mr. Goodman, and it was VOTED (unanimously) to send a letter of reprimand to the club for failure to comply with three bylaw provisions relative to the election process. The club President and Officers say they knew nothing of the reprimand and as of Jan 23rd, have not received the letter. (note, months later, the ATFTC still denies the reprimand)
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