(Updated several times, see Mission Statement as of Jan 2015 end of page)
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
When the American Kennel Club was born in 1884, the Mission was noble, attainable, and maintainable. For the first fifty years, it was admirably met. The second fifty years saw the beginnings of discontent among those it served.
During the last ten years fewer people are staying in the sport and fewer are staying on the board more than two terms. The former group may be doing us all a favor, or they may have loved dogs and the sport but given up because of the latter group. It is noticeable that those who persevere have voiced an unprecedented demand for accountability. Accompanied by mounting evidence of AKC and Breeder disregard for stud book integrity , Mission point #1 is seriously jeopardized and in the minds of many, ignored.
Despite genetic advances of the nineties, there came a discovery that one could circumvent the part about breeding a better dog by simply playing a better game. Dog events became more about winning than a proving ground for type and function. It seemed AKC had fallen into the "more is better" mode and turned a blind eye to Mission point #2.
This position was evidenced by AKC's quest for more money with which to uphold Mission point #3. Not all Board Members were comfortable with philosophical changes, in particular the "Take whatever actions are necessary" part. While everyone wants to "assure the continuation of the sport" many feel that the word "protect" has been forgotten. The Fancy began to look at the Mission Statement, (some with an understanding that it's really about corporate filings) and not a few board members departed the exposed position of accountability.
In the minds of many, it was the beginning of the end. Like the doomsday prophets, they have been wrong. The American Kennel Club has gained strength. It has more control than ever over participants "in the sport of purebred dogs". It has "promoted interest in" purebred dogs and gained the public eye in a most satisfying way. Still, those achievements have not been without cost.
Threatened with corruption of its Mission by an onslaught of inferior dogs, a virtual mass produced crop needing only a "registration" to be marketable, AKC's current direction demands attention if what is loosely called "show breeders" are to survive.
Can an alliance with the "Weapons Of Mass Production" align with preserving the integrity of a registry? Can encouraging WOMP have any positive effect on dog events? Lastly, can betraying the intent of its founders or the trust of its constituency (protect) and assure the continuation of the sport?
So far, there are more questions than answers. Asking each other, or having TDP Members posing them to our staff and SAAB brings no meaningful answers. Where are we headed? Why is AKC selling its name? Where does 60 million dollars a year go? Why is AKC pandering to puppy mills? Why do you have to be rich to win big shows? Who are the judges afraid of? Why doesn't the AKC do something about (take your pick) anti-dog legislation, corruption in its ranks, its follow-the-money reputation within the fancy, animal cruelty, bad judges, unsafe or impossible show grounds, etc etc.
Realizing that most of the Fancy doesn't care who sits on the Board unless or until something happens which affects them personally, we point out that everything the board implements affects them in one way or the other. We suggest that anyone who plans to stay in dogs, breed dogs, exhibit dogs, and be able to sell their puppies to an educated public, know the Directors.
AKC is a different kind of club. It has no individual members but it oversees more than 10,000 shows per year. If you are not a member of a member club, it is like living in Elsewhere USA, a county that has no voting booth. It is the Delegates from the 600 or so member clubs who elect the next board. The Delegates are supposed to represent the position and directives of the club that elected them. That is in a perfect world. In the dog world, a Delegate in NY may represent a club in Calif. and only the people from the local kennel club who put the Delegate in power ever speaks to the Delegate who speaks for the membership. A tight ship but one on which you might have second thoughts about if booking Atlantic passage.
It is a system designed to keep those in power in power at the expense of the majority who have no power. It worked for dogs for a long time. But times change and in order to Preserve, Protect, and Assure the Integrity of the Sport, we need to pay dues. The kind that calls for your time, effort, and attention. If you don't belong to a member club, join. Hold yourself, your club, and your Delegate accountable to the Mission Statement. Then and only then, can you have any say-so over the future of the American Kennel Club and the sport we love.
Okay, so we put TheDogPlace.org first in line to learn from the Board. With March elections on the horizon, we posed your questions to the board candidates. We hope to bring you the right answers by the end of February so you can do your part to uphold the Mission Statement.
Updated several times, here is the Mission Statement as of Jan 2015
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