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Field Reps Strong Arm Tactics


Today's AKC Field Reps are unlikely to repeat these examples of unsportsmanlike conduct against Judges and Exhibitors as detailed in this report.


July 2009 - 2018 update | TheDogPress

Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Editor-In-Chief, SAAB


Less than a decade ago TheDogPress reported that an American Kennel Club Field Representative hurled insults at a defenseless exhibitor, another Rep railed at an AKC judge while slandering another judge; and yet another Field Rep attempted to force a judge’s association into silent submission.


Thankfully, such incidents of Gestapo-like behavior by AKC Representatives as was “representative” of  corporate headquarters during the 2009-2010 AKC Board{1} terms are unlikely to occur in 2018. 


If however, you are badly treated by any American Kennel Club Field Representatives{2}, we respect confidentiality so you are invited to email the editor.


What follows are three examples of AKC Representatives using their position to ride rough-shod over the fancy but we have withheld names to prevent repercussions to the parties involved.


After an AKC judging interview for his last provisional, a very well-known Group judge mentioned to the AKC Rep that he would be coordinating a Retrievers’ seminar for the Senior Conformation Judges’ Association.{3} The AKC Field Representative became agitated, stating that the SCJA was "a terrible organization" and that Lt. Col.  Wally Pede was “no good”, always fighting with AKC, etc.


The judge extracted himself from the conversation and put the embarrassing incident out of his mind.  He later applied for more breeds and was unlucky enough to draw the same AKC Rep for the interview. She launched the conversation by saying that he had only received previous approval due to her computer’s malfunction, stating that had she been able to file a timely report, he would not have received approval.


The judge was shocked and at a terrible disadvantage but forced himself to continue with the additional-breeds interview.  He reported that the AKC Representative continued to make "untoward comments throughout the interview" process. Upon completion, the Rep handed him the AKC disqualification forms and still nervous, he remarked that they were different from the forms he had received at a DJAA seminar. The AKC Rep immediately blew up again, attacking Lt. Col. Pede and the SCJA. She ceased her tirade only when a bystander who is multi-Group judge, interjected that the DJAA was not the same as the SCJA.


The judge filed an official complaint regarding the AKC Representative’s personal prejudices and her slander of a highly regarded judge’s association.  He is a member of SJCA (Senior Conformation Judges Assoc.), DJAA (Dog Judges Assoc. Of America), and the ADSJ (Assoc. Of Dog Show Judges) in addition to several other dog organizations. His statement that “personal prejudice or dislikes should never enter into an AKC Rep’s action” is shared by all reasonable people.


It's safe to say the first Judges Association in America was not a puppet group. The SCJA was in fact critical of the way in which AKC has violated the ii Constitutional Rights of its judges. 


We contacted SCJA’s Executive Secretary Lt. Col. Wallace H. Pede{4} for comment. The Colonel stated that he sent a personal letter to the AKC Board reminding them of past incidents involving judges’ interviews by that American Kennel Club Representative. In the letter, Col. Pede reiterated a particular instance wherein the same Rep was publicly abusive to him after a letter critical of the AKC Rep’s role in the judging approval process was sent to AKC at AKC's request. Col. Pede, on behalf of the Senior Conformation Judges’ Association, subsequently requested an injunction against the offending Rep and that an independent committee be appointed to examine evidence of her repetitiously offensive behavior.


The next example involves a long-time exhibitor’s experience with an AKC Representative. Chatting pleasantly while setting up for a win photo, the owner of both the WB and RWB remarked that her RWB was actually the better specimen. The judge responded with insulting comments about the breed and the “deplorable mouths” in the breed.  The exhibitor took exception, citing the breed standard. This so angered the judge that she then refused to be photographed with “that bitch” (the one she had just awarded) and with great fanfare, dismissed the photographer.  The exhibitor objected and the judge then ordered the exhibitor to remain in the center of the ring while she called for the AKC Rep.


Word quickly spread and by the time AKC's Field Rep arrived, a crowd of curious onlookers had gathered. The AKC Representative and the judge conferred in private while the hapless exhibitor was left standing at the photo table in the center of the ring. The AKC Rep and the judge finally turned to brace the exhibitor as a hush fell over ringside.


The judge gave the Rep her version as the exhibitor stood mute. The Rep then turned to the exhibitor and seemingly for the benefit of ringside, informed her that she was on “thin ice” and could be “disqualified.” Astounded, the exhibitor attempted to defuse the situation by joking that neither she nor the dog had disqualifying faults. It didn’t work.


The AKC Representative loudly asserted that the bitch had a disqualifying bite as the judge nodded agreement. The exhibitor stood firm, explaining that the AKC Breed Standard clearly stated scissors OR level bite is equally correct. The Rep said something under his breath to the judge who turned and whispered in his ear.


The Rep then shook his finger at the exhibitor and dismissively exclaimed “It is people like you that ruin a breed.” The exhibitor retorted that they should read the AKC standard as they obviously knew nothing about her breed!  The AKC Representative then threatened to call a bench committee and have her suspended. Shaking with anger, the exhibitor suggested he "give it a try", reminding him that ringside was packed with witnesses. He looked around uncomfortably and then muttered “You’re not worth the trouble.


With that crude remark, the exhibitor insisted that he call a bench committee, stipulating that she no longer had a problem with the judge who had by then, physically distanced herself from AKC's Representative. She reiterated that her comment to the judge should have been accepted as intended, friendly discourse between two dog people. The exhibitor stated that she and the judge had both over-reacted but it was a minor “dog show thing” and was nothing compared to his unprofessional actions and threats. Stopping his attempted interruption, she told the Rep that his loudly voiced opinion of her breed and his personal insults were out of line and that she intended to bring his conduct to the attention of the AKC Judges Department.


The American Kennel Club Representative (!) turned to the increasingly uncomfortable judge and asked “are you satisfied with this? If you’re not ok with it, we’ll go ahead and call a committee?” The judge shrugged and said “oh just let it go” and with a wave of her hand, dismissed the fuming exhibitor who, understanding the moment, promptly left the ring. She and her husband (who was laughing at the fate he knew awaited that Rep) walked away as the crowd dispersed.


The exhibitor and the judge later agreed to disagree and sat amicably together at ringside during the Working Group. The AKC Rep was nowhere to be seen but a long time friend and club officer came over and smilingly suggested that they let it go.  She (and the judge) understood and not wanting to involve the judge further, the exhibitor agreed not to file a complaint. Not long after the public incident, AKC Rep Stephen "Hurtful" retired and went back to judging.


Apparently when a rotten apple starts to stink, exhibitors, handlers, and judges do have recourse.


Having been friends with AKC Reps like Art Marsh, Connie Barton, and Bobby Barlow over the years, I can say that 99% of AKC representatives do an incredible balancing act, earning the trust and good will of the fancy while diligently serving the American Kennel Club.


Nearly a decade later, are there still some AKC jerks out there? Probably. Have some Reps abused their power? Perhaps, but only if others in the sport allow them to get by with it. The American Kennel Club wants good public relations, not public scandal.


Since this was published, AKC has cut back on its field staff, we presume due to budget cuts.  There have been complaints about so many shows with no official AKC presence but it appears Kennel Club Bench Committees serve the fancy just as well. Most glamour dog shows still have American Kennel Club Representatives on site and as of this 2018 update, has received very few serious complaints.


If however, you have suffered a serious altercation as an exhibitor or visitor to an AKC dog show and feel you were not fairly treated by Club Officials or the AKC representative, email the editor EST 2002 © 0907r1708d1802


Reference & Related Articles and Information, dig for gold below


{1} AKC Board Minutes 2009-2010     {2} American Kennel Club Field Representatives


{3} Senior Conformation Judges Assoc.     {4} Lt. Col. Wallace H. Pede


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