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The Senior Conformation Judges Association reminds all AKC Delegates that they have “sole power” over all rules governing dog shows and...


November 2011

Barbara "BJ" Andrews, SAAB Member


The Delegates have sole power to make, change, or implement rules for “dog shows and the clubs or associations formed to conduct them.”  In a letter to all AKC Delegates, many of whom are AKC Judges, the SCJA says “You as Delegate, represent your club, and collectively, the Delegates have the responsibility for getting involved with the proposal for the judges approval process set forth by the Smith Committee Report."


With National elections just around the corner, we are reminded of how our democratic system works.  We expect our legislature to represent us, even at the expense of their personal interests or careers.  It is no different in the dog game.  If your Breed or Kennel Club has an AKC Delegate, you have every right to expect that person to represent members of the club.


How does representing your club affect the judge’s approval process?  Well for starters, if you show dogs or breed dogs to be shown by others, you want a fair shake in the ring.  That means that your elected representative (delegate) must see to it that rule and policy changes are made “by the people, for the people” and not by the AKC Board.  The AKC takes care of the business of the (non-profit) corporation but a good balance, as between the White House and the House of Representatives, insures progress for the people, which in this case, is The Dog Fancy.


The Delegates should have been forwarded the Smith Committee Report for their approval.  In fact, the Senior Conformation Judges Association requested that an independent representative (targeted reference directly to that section of letter) from each of the national judges groups be made a member of the AKC committee.  This equitable request was not honored and it appears that as of this date, the judges, the fancy, and even a lot of the delegates have no idea what the new process is.  If that sounds like Nancy Pelosi, “you can read the bill after you pass it”, we’re sorry but it’s true.


The SCJA reminded the board that any change involving an increase in the number of approved Groups must be voted on by the Delegates.  Again, it’s that sole power thing that was made a foundational part of the American Kennel Club Constitution and Bylaws.  The Letter to AKC {Ref #1} from Lt. Col. Wallace H. Pede, the Chief Executive Officer of the SCJA, explains in great detail the usurping of the Delegates power and sadly, the willingness of some Judge-Delegates to give up that power.


Is abdication of an AKC Delegate’s duty based on fear of the AKC?  We have talked to judges who admit that “to cross AKC is to not be approved for additional breeds.”  Yes, AKC is as political as our government and many would say, just as influenced by the quest for power and money.  The American Kennel Club is extremely wealthy, even though its registration income has fallen.  Is it the economy or the decline because breeders across all levels have “had it” with the AKC system?  One multi-group judge characterized it is “nothing more than a good ole boy’s club."


The Colonel’s letter doesn’t mince words.  It even points out that the AKC Board of Directors, which is always weighted with AKC judges from the Chairman on down, delegated its long-held responsibility for judges approval to the AKC staff.  A staff employed by the Board.  But it made it look better when some of the sitting Board Members and/or their spouses, were promptly approved for new breeds or Groups.  Such is life.  In Washington D.C. they have another word for it, one which is frequently used in the dog fancy.


If you have made it this far, wondering how else the new judge approval system will affect you in the show ring, consider that the first-ever Judges Training Match and subsequent Judges Education Institute were funded and held by the Senior Conformation Judges Association, which I believe, was the only such group at that time.  Decades later, the AKC decided to have its own judges school which, while not mandatory, aspiring judges were wise to attend.  Now suddenly AKC has decreed that a new applicant must attend the AKC Institute. Talk about coercion!


BARBARA "BJ" ANDREWS ON DEFORMED DOGSHere’s where it gets sticky.  The judges associations rotate judges who, as someone who has done breed seminars for many different groups, I can attest are pretty impartial.  I’ve been on panels from Washington to Mississippi to Pennsylvania and they were all well balanced.  Will that be the case with the AKC Judging Institute?  It remains to be seen but if the educators are biased towards your competitors’ “type” then who will you complain to?


Just thought I’d mention it.  We have published the SCJA letter to AKC because we knew you’d be interested in who and how your dogs are judged.  Read it, think about it, and if you dare to comment (knowing AKC reads each edition of TheDogPress) we’d love to hear from you.  We always respect your privacy and protect our sources if requested to do so.


Reference  #1.  SCJA Letter to AKC EST 2002 © 1111



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