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Crime & Punishment

An Abuse of AKC Power?

 

Fred Lanting, an international dog show judge and in-demand lecturer… until his AKC Judging approval is SUSPENDED FOR LIFE in a gotcha non-event!

 

 

April 2, 2024 editorial update

First published July 2007

by Gini Addamo, Dog Show Reporter

 

Life was good for AKC judge Fred Lanting but he was disturbed about the failure of the AKC to protect the purebred dog and he spoke out. Was publicly expressing his opinions Mr. Lanting's downfall?

 

You decide because who could imagine that a nonprofit organization in the United States of America would arrogantly demonstrate a total lack of justice and fairness towards one of its own? First some background.

 

Fred Lanting got his first German Shepherd Dog (GSD) in 1947 and became an active breeder in 1966. His devotion to the breed eventually led him to author what many say is the ultimate GSD breed book. Other notable books on major canine health issues followed. He also created Canine Consultants, which deals in the area of canine orthopedics.

 

 Mr. Lanting’s commitment to dogs also led him to become a AKC dog show judge. His immense knowledge earned him all-expenses paid judging assignments in other countries where he also gave lectures and educational seminars.

 

Years go by and Mr. Lanting is doing what he loves (dedicating a major part of his life to dogs) when it all starts to unravel in January 2000, in of all places, Pakistan.  Mr. Lanting was there to give a seminar on orthopedic diseases.  After the seminar, he was asked to help find a top quality Rottweiler bitch and a Labrador Retriever bitch that could be purchased.

 

Upon his return home, Mr. Lanting looked up some people who could help the people in Pakistan. and also sent an email to the people who had asked for assistance in finding the two dogs.  The fact that Fred was so open about what he was doing clearly demonstrates that he did not know he was doing anything wrong!

 

Judging the following day, Mr. Lanting put out two signs stating that a Rottie and Lab bitch were wanted for a good friend overseas and anyone interested in exporting were to contact him. The signs were up for an hour or so when the AKC Rep approached Mr. Lanting's ring and admonished him. The signs were immediately removed. The AKC Representative informed Mr. Lanting that his actions would be reported to AKC headquarters.

 

 From that moment forward, the situation spiraled out of control.

 

Mr. Lanting’s contention is that some people at AKC were just waiting for him to make a mistake. There was going to be retribution for those critical articles about AKC and it didn’t matter how big or how small the mistake was, he was going to be eliminated. i.e. SUSPENDED.

 

He received a letter from the AKC dated March 6, 2000.  The letter inferred that Mr. Lanting was "trafficking in dogs" and quoted the Occupational Eligibility Addendum which states that individuals who trade or traffic in dogs are occupationally ineligible to judge AKC events.  Further, the letter referred to the addendum that states, “No judge may advertise or in any manner make commercial use of his judging approval.”  The letter requested that Mr. Lanting submit a written explanation by March 20, 2000.

 

Mr. Lanting’s explanation was simple.  He replied that a friend who was an orthopedics consultant in Pakistan wanted to improve his gene pool in Rottweilers and Labradors and asked Mr. Lanting to find breeders who could help toward that goal. Mr. Lanting did not receive nor was he expecting any payment for assisting his friend in Pakistan. 

 

In fact, Mr. Shahid A. Khokhar, Executive Member of the Kennel Club of Pakistan, wrote to the AKC (June 1, 2000) on behalf of Mr. Lanting.  In the letter, Mr. Khokhar describes his distress for being a part of Mr. Lanting’s troubles.  He states specifically, There is absolutely no remuneration or return favors involved, expressed or implied, and we are shocked that his attempts to reach as many people in as short a time as possible has been interpreted as brokering or dealing in dogs, which he says are terms used by your employees.” 

 

Clearly there was no evidence to support the accusation that Fred Lanting was trafficking in dogs.  In fact, the contrary was true and he had corroborating evidence proving that. If trying to help a friend find a dog is “trafficking in dogs”, then I think we can all agree there are probably hundreds of judges that need their licenses revoked!

 

But the AKC Board of Directors finally had their man. They revoked his license “indefinitely” on grounds that he was: (1) an intermediary in the trafficking of dogs (for helping a foreign friend) (2) emailing exhibitors he thought might be at the show, (3) for displaying the signs and finally (4) providing an order form for his new book.

 

Mr. Lanting filed appeals in which he apologized, acknowledged he made a mistake and promised never to do it again. He asked for mercy. Many upset fanciers wrote letters stating their opposition to the excessive punishment of Mr. Lanting. Some people at the AKC were not happy about receiving that kind of mail, in fact, Dr. Thomas Davies was reported to have stated that he had received numerous letters on Mr. Lanting’s behalf and that it was the wrong way to appeal the case. He personally was not interested in hearing from anyone on Mr. Lanting’s behalf.

 

All appeals produced negative results until February 2006 (6 years later) when after continued pleadings, the board considered his case again and decided that Mr. Lanting’s judging privileges would be reinstated on May 15, 2015. According to Mr. Lanting, by then he will be “dust and ashes" and they know that!” (Fred will be 79 years old in 2015.)

 

Let’s put this in perspective. The two signs and the book order form were in the public eye for about an hour. Fred had never “trafficked in dogs.” He was doing what all judges do, particularly those who judge in other countries where language and distance present communication problems. He was helping an esteemed friend establish contacts in order to acquire new breeding stock.

 

 How many other judges who help breeders find good breeding stock get suspended? Who can believe that his well-intended actions deserve a life sentence? Mr. Lanting had no prior or mitigating problems with the AKC that would justify such disproportionate discipline.

 

This “justice” is tantamount to losing your drivers license for making an illegal lane change!

 

We all know there are two sides to every story but in our judicial system, people are innocent until proven guilty. If there is reasonable doubt, the person must be acquitted. Is it too much to expect that our rights will also be protected and respected by the American Kennel Club? Mr. Lanting acknowledges that in his zeal to help a friend, he made an error in judgment but he denies the charges of which he was accused and convicted.

 

Sadly, the AKC is not obligated to follow the rule of law, which automatically, in my opinion, puts anyone accused at a disadvantage.

 

Did Mr. Lanting’s outspoken articles of the sixties come back to haunt him? Did the AKC take an innocent mistake and turn it into a capitol crime in order to take revenge? Would not a reprimand or a year’s suspension have been more appropriate for such an innocent mistake in trying to help someone?

 

A lot of you remember the AKC judge who was selling a herbal supplement at dog shows where she was judging. Does anyone recall a suspension for her? She’s still judging. We all know judges that have helped friends obtain dogs by either giving a referral or making a phone call. I’ve been told that it is common knowledge that some well-known judges participate in the buying and selling of dogs for which they receive commissions. Perhaps they have not been publicly critical of the AKC?

 

Are judges allowed to buy/sell dogs/puppies? Chapter 7, Sec. 1, states, in part, “…persons who buy, sell and in any way trade in or traffic in dogs as a means of livelihood in whole or in part…” are ineligible to be a judge.  (Does) the AKC enforce it based on personal relationships instead of with fairness and equal justice?

 

Here are some examples to help you decide the answer.

 

Bob Hufford, a former AKC Investigator, was interviewed by 20/20’s Tom Jarriel. Mr. Hufford reported performing an inspection in which 109 breeding dogs were in wire cages, had no identification and there were no other records on the property. Mr. Hufford stated that most of the puppies were registered with the AKC despite the lack of identification. In this case, the AKC’s own internal trial board recommended that well over a hundred earlier litters produced by those breeders be canceled. The AKC refused to cancel those 100 litters! See that as $$$...

 

In 2006, a prominent AKC licensed handler was convicted of over 300 counts of cruelty. It took national publicity for AKC to do anything even though the “big bad wolf” was averaging a litter per week of multiple breeds.  The AKC suspended him for only six months. (He was supposedly inspected but always was found “in compliance.”)  The three-part story on The Big Bad Wolf made headlines in www.TheDogPress.com.

 

Do you think such crimes against dogs and the sport which are committed by the AKC are less serious than putting out two signs, for two hours, asking for help for international breeders?

 

Does it bother you that people at the AKC can stand in unopposed judgment of people like Fred Lanting whose crime was a lapse of good judgment?

 

Many people have said that the dog world has lost a great and wonderful man. What do you think? Today you can tell us on facebook!

 

Is it time for the fancy to stand in judgment of the AKC’s arrogance and smugness? According to the transcript of the 20/20 broadcast in 1994, the AKC President responded the producer's request for comment regarding the content of their story by stating in a letter that if the AKC canceled more litters and more dogs, it would hurt the innocent dog-buying public.  You have to shake your head at this logic.  Was he saying the public would be better off buying allegedly purebred dogs with fraudulent registration papers? When did the mission of the AKC become protecting the public instead of protecting the integrity of the stud book?  Isn’t it time that people stop buying the senseless propaganda?

 

Reference info on international dog show judge Fred Lanting, member of NetPlaces Network Science & Advisory Board.

 

You be the judge and Dig for Gold in these related Articles: Fred Lanting on The Evil Empire - Part 1, in his own words.

 

The Purloined Poodle forged papers, a judge "trafficking in dogs"?  ~ AKC's Suspended List lists judge Fred Lanting as 15 to Life.

TheDogPress.com EST 2002 © Jul 2007 rev16022404 https://www.thedogpress.com/Columns/Crime-Punishment-Lanting-077-Addamo.asp

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