The American Kennel Club can not survive in its present form. Judges and show breeders are deserting as AKC puts dollars, deals and puppy mills first.
The American Kennel Club of today is all about MONEY and MARKETING. John Q. buys from a pet shop that is of course, stocked by the puppy mills AKC so desperately courts. Televised AKC events carry dog food ads showing cute mutts, not purebreds. AKC’s failure to promote “responsible breeders” combined with PETA’s very successful anti-breeder campaign, have caused shelter “adoptions” to double!
Sure we want to help homeless dogs but show breeders who devote their lives and resources to create the best purebred dogs need AKC support, not sabotage. AKC flat-out refuses to say that Show Breeders produce purebreds with dependable, predictable advantages over Designer Dogs or Mixed Breeds. Well that figures – AKC now allows “crossbreds” to compete and win AKC ribbons. How will you vote in March?
For the five-year breeder or handler, it’s no big deal. You’ll survive. For others, it’s heart-breaking. Like watching the company you worked for all your life go up in smoke. There went all those years of learning the trade. You’re not even left with bragging rights because achievements in the AKC mean nothing to anyone else. They can’t relate to those Best In Show Ribbons or photos of you judging the National. So you had a nice dog? Big deal, they just bought a papered puppy at Wal-Mart. How will you vote this March?
Public perception can be changed. Through aggressive AKC marketing that relates “AKC Show Puppies” to owning the best car instead of a clunker, we could change the public’s buying habits. Or get ready to be a has-been. If you’re having fun, what AKC doesn’t do won’t bother you. Not until you smell smoke and realize your playhouse is on fire... Is this about proudly breeding “the best” dogs and proving it in the show ring? Or are we just being used to market the “brand”, peripheral deals, credit cards, dog toys, etc.? At one time, “AKC registered” stood for something. Talk to your club delegate and officers. There’s still hope but only if you, the showing fancy, demand a return to AKC Board values of the past.
How you ask? Simple. Member Clubs poll the membership, achieve a consensus and then command their delegate to vote the member’s wishes. How original is that!!?? I know, I know, but it’s possible IF each club does due diligence and IF the delegates insist on a certified ballot. Two “ifs” could add up to a positive change of direction at 51 Mad Avenue.
There are some realities here. Contracts can’t be broken and may, with proper oversight, be good for the sport. See the Hartford deal below. But deals with our competitors? Chasing after the Weapons Of Mass Production, otherwise known as Puppy Mills? Making back room deals with Petsmart? Cutting registration deals with foreign countries just because a club backer has a sack full of money? It’s like a coach selling out his team. Barney Madoff running Wall Street. Where is the FBI when you need ‘em?
Get involved. Under the AKC bylaws, we hold the power. We just don’t use it. Did the AKC board ask you before they spent millions developing PRIME, the pet shop software?? Guess not. We reported the super secret PRIME and you were outraged. The AKC board controls the purse strings but WE control who sits on that board! So how will you vote this year? Your votes do count IF we can be sure they are counted. I don’t think Petsmart votes in AKC elections but what if they help count ballots?
If AKC must accept Mixed Breeds and puppy mill puppies to stay afloat, okay. We understand economics but AKC must put Show Breeders first if it is going to cut lucrative deals on the back of our accomplishments! Club members can force the great American Kennel Club to promote “the fancy” as breeders of the best dogs. Either that or we register and prove the quality of our “product” in another system, one that supports and will promote the value of a carefully created, genetically cleared, beautiful, sound purebred dog.
But we shouldn’t have to go elsewhere. After all, AKC used to be that way. Some of you are nodding. You’ve been around long to enough to remember those days. TheDogPress hears you. It is strong enough to back your play and broadcast your voice to mainstream media. Yeah, that’s right. We don’t have AKC’s bankroll but we do have press connections.
Shouldn’t the richest registry in the world provide value for our dollars? No one is challenging AKC’s not-for-profit status or its lobbying activities as is happening with HSUS. What TheDogPress demands is that AKC spend part of the more than $50 million it has in hidden reserves to market its original image as the hallmark of quality dogs. Instead of robbing registration income (which is off by estimates of over 50%) to pay Presidential Salaries, AKC should market its “responsible breeders.” It is for sure, what AKC is doing now is a colossal failure! We thought Kalter, the ad agency genius, would do so and supported him for the board. Now we say replace him with someone who cares about the future of purebred dogs and who knows how to market!
Read the announcement below. It’s a very lucrative deal, just like pet insurance, microchips, etc. But what was AKC’s selling point? Did Hartford do the deal based on our adherence to Breed Standards and genetic health – or on the millions of pet shop puppies AKC registers?
Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2010 The Hartford and AKC join to offer exclusive Auto and Home Insurance Program to American Kennel Club Dog Owners. Hartford will also sponsor the AKC Canine Good Citizen and S.T.A.R. Puppy programs. “We are proud to align with the AKC, a well-respected organization dedicated to responsible dog ownership," said Andy Napoli, president of Consumer Markets at The Hartford. "The AKC has a strong brand recognized by millions of loyal dog owners. We look forward to meeting their insurance needs."
Note the release also states: Owners with breeds historically ineligible for coverage may be eligible if they meet specific conditions demonstrating obedience and responsible dog ownership. This includes passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.
"We are pleased that The Hartford is leading the way to providing insurance for responsible families that own purebred dogs," said AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung. "By promoting the AKC Canine Good Citizen and S.T.A.R. Puppy programs, The Hartford is also helping AKC stay true to its mission of helping families have positive relationships with their dogs."
Let TheDogPress know your feelings. If you are a Club Officer, call (800) 215-1178 and share your concerns and tell us how your members feel. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong.
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