German Shepherds

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AKC – is it still really about the dogs? (Part II)

Earlier I wrote an article questioning AKC’s motives and if the AKC’s as well as AKC shows in general motives were geared towards the well being of the dogs, as they claim.  After several recent conversations with industry experts as well as views from a club that is not fully recognized by the AKC but is recognized by their “Foundation Stock Services” (FSS) (The Czechoslovakian Vlcak Club of America – we’ve recently added a vlcak to our family).  Viewing the AKC from this far outside (as well as being an outside of the “professional dog world” myself) really opened my eyes to a lot of the practices that goes on – some right in our face and some behind closed doors in secrecy.

I’ve decided to really break down AKC’s stance on many issues but first, I think I should start with their mission statement (you can view it at http://www.akc.org/about/mission.cfm ).  I’ll quote it directly from their site:

AKC Mission Statement

The American Kennel Club is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Founded in 1884, the AKC® and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.

AKC’s Objective:

  • Advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs.

AKC’s Core Values:

  • We love purebred dogs
  • We are committed to advancing the sport of the purebred dog
  • We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our Registry
  • We protect the health and well-being of all dogs
  • We cherish dogs as companions
  • We are committed to the interests of dog owners
  • We uphold high standards for the administration and operation of the AKC
  • We recognize the critical importance of our clubs and volunteers

As you read this article you may question several of these points that are part of their mission statement.

In 2008 AKC changed their registration process to allow dog owners (who were registered with the AKC) to change the name of their dog on the registration papers. I’m sure a lot of people are thinking “so what, if I don’t like Fluffy’s name and want to name him Fido, I should be able to do that!”. First, the registered name doesn’t have to be what you call it. Out of our 5 dogs, only 2 have their names on their registration. Second, this also means you can try to “hide” the breeder. If Bob is a long term breeder of a breed and sells one to Steve’s kennel then the name would be something like Bob’s Fido (for, at, de, der, etc.) Steve. Now, what if Steve wants to claim to be the breeder and change it to Steve’s Fido? Unless you looked up the dog’s lineage you wouldn’t know. This can be done after the dog is a champion so a kennel could have liters of puppies under one kennel, and when they get their championship (because all won’t) they can change the name so it looks like the new kennel is extremely successful. Of course, all this can be yours, for a free from AKC.

Then, later in AKC they changed their limited registration process.  According to the registration policies:

Limited Registration helps breeders protect their breeding programs. If breeders do not want puppies used for breeding purposes, they can request the Limited Registration option for those puppies.

This seems nice but later in 2008 they added in a little section:

Limited Registration can be changed to Full Registration only by the litter owner(s). The litter owner(s) will need to obtain the Application to Revoke Limited Status. That form will then need to be completed and sent to our Raleigh address with the processing fee. After processing, we will send a Full Registration certificate to the dog’s owner.

My main question is who will check to see if the “litter owner” is requesting the change? This means that anyone who has a dog with a limited registration because the breeder didn’t feel it was show quality and wanted to make sure it went to a pet home (with a spay / neuter in their contract) the new owner does have the right to appeal that decision to AKC and have their limited registration changed to a full registration. Again, this can be done for a fee.

Right now AKC should be on some thin ice.  They’re allowing breeders to hide (or even change) their dog’s origins as well as allowing dogs who are sold to be pets receive a full registration from AKC so they can show.  If they aren’t yet, they will be soon.

I came across a blog post about how the AKC was holding a “health seminar” with the Hunte corporation.  The Hunte corporation is an alleged puppy mill company (contrary to AKC’s claims that they are against puppy mills).  Some research on their own website will turn up some interesting tidbits and raise some eyebrows.  On their “firsts” page, they make some interesting pointers that they are “proud” of:

An average truck and trailer costs approximately $150,000. An additional $160,000 per unit is spent customizing each trailer to meet the unique requirements of the Hunte Delivery System. The result is the safest, cleanest and most comfortable environment for the puppies as they travel.

I’ve known people who deal in dog trailers and a quick Google search shows me this trailer that is for sale for under $10,000 (Australian, or under $9,100 US).  I saw many others here in the USA that can hold 4-10 dogs for under $1,000.  They’re spending $150,000 for the combination.   A truck / trailer combination that costs that much is not something the vast majority of breeders (and I don’t think any ethical breeders) would need.  These trailers look like they would be what you’d see being hauled by a tractor-trailer on the highway.  I’m thinking these are a minimum 30 feet (for comparison, the largest crate we have is under 3 feet wide, so this would be 10 crates, on each side for a minimum of 20 dog capacity.  What kind of breeder would need this on a regular basis? Most (ethical) breeders have, at most,  1 litter a year and would never need a trailer unless they campaigned their dogs (show and/or working).  I’ll ask again, what kind of breeder would need to spend $150,000 on a dog trailer?  You be the judge (and their site states that they have a “fleet” of these).

HUNTE WAS THE FIRST (and remains the only) company with a policy that requires Animal Care Technicians to stop every four hours in order to monitor every puppy’s food, water and overall health.

Since we’re talking about puppies, I can assume they are talking about 8 week old puppies (they wouldn’t ship out puppies younger than that, would they?). Sorry Hunte, 8 week old puppies should be checked on every TWO hours at most. The standard puppy can “hold’ itself for one hour each month it is old (a 6 month old puppy can usually hold himself for 6 hours).

HUNTE WAS THE FIRST (and remains the only) company to routinely send staff veterinarians on delivery vehicles to monitor pet care protocols and procedures, and to support retailers and breeders.

Here we go! RETAILERS! As far as I know, not a single ethical breeder would deal with, sell though, or even consider themselves a retailer. Yes, we’re talking about puppy stores (and we all know where these puppies come from, right?).

Mind you – this is a company that has allegedly engineered a “custom incinerator”.   Now, what would they need that for?

Feel free to look at their site to see if any ethical breeder would be proud of those accomplishments but I’m sure you get my point. AKC has affiliated themselves with a corporation like this. But surely, AKC wouldn’t knowingly support a “corporation” that supplies puppies to “retailers” would they?

Late last year AKC had a “special” – register 10 litters and get the 11th for $1.  While over a lifetime some breeders may be able to take advantage of this, there was a timeframe.  You had to whelp all the litters between October 2009 and June 2010.  Ask yourself – what kind of breeder would go though 11 litters in 8 months?  Sadly, AKC removed the page they had over this promotion soon after several sites broke the news (and I wasn’t able to save the form).  But AKC wouldn’t promote puppy mills, would they?

We’d all like to think that and many still do.

Until you read about a very little known program called AKC-PRIME. You won’t find it on AKC’s website. You won’t find any member of AKC’s board talking about it but information has leaked out about it. PRIME stands for Puppy Registration and Inventory Management Extranet. That’s right this is an inventory puppy management system. What kind of breeder would use an inventory puppy management system? No ethical one that I know of – only puppy stores. Don’t think this is science fiction, I’ve actualy received, and made available, the actual manual to AKC-PRIME (file size is rougly 460 KB – edit (10:11PM EST) link is fixed now).  No, this isn’t a hoax, that IS AKC’s copyright at the bottom of the manual.

AKC has developed a program that allows puppy stores to receive, sell, transfer, and return puppies between different stores.

It is clear that, from a previous post, AKC judges don’t like to promote the real thing and from this post it looks clear that AKC is now promoting not only puppy mills but also highly unethical behavior.  It looks that AKC’s motives are not about the dogs anymore but bringing in more and more money.

Stay tuned for Part III ( I promise it won’t take a year to write it!)

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