Views from a Delegate
During the week of November 16 to 20, I sat at my computer and listened and listened to the Delegate Committees, and at one meeting I was allowed to talk … and so the illness continues.
On December 2, I was so far gone that I listened to the Delegate Meeting, at which the candidates for the upcoming AKC Board’s Class of 2025 spoke and spoke and spoke, and my eyes got hazier and hazier. I think most of the candidates came off very well, and I think those who came across well will be voted in.
I then listened to the regular December Delegate meeting. The excitement was overwhelming – not! It went off very well. There was another look at the candidates for the Class of 2025 – this time a video of each candidate – but it still did not change my mind.
I think Keith Frazier and of course Gina DiNardo, Dennis Sprung, Dominic Carota and Tom Davies did a great job at that meeting. On February 12, 2021, there will be a virtual event honoring the wonderful Ron Menaker, past chairman of the Board of Directors and the impetus behind the opening of the AKC Museum of the Dog. I think that Ron Menaker is one of the best people that the AKC and the sport of dogs have ever had. Ron is not only such a lovely and nice person, he is also a great judge and breeder and has done so much for the sport. I am so honored to be his friend. He, along with Edd Bivin and Frank Sabella, were honored by the board at its November meeting for all their contributions to our sport. I personally am so lucky to be able to go and visit Frank Sabella, and I am so grateful for that honor. I hope the AKC continues to honor more of the longtime members of our sport, as we certainly have some deserving ones out there.
Some of the items at this meeting included a vote on Article IV, Section 1, of the Charter and Bylaws of the AKC, which would prohibit a local specialty club from applying to AKC for member status in accordance with Article IV of the Bylaws. This proposal passed with 78% for and 22% against.
There was also a vote on Article VIII, Section 7, of the Charter and Bylaws of the AKC, which would eliminate balloting for unopposed Board candidates during the annual election. This proposal passed 97% to 3% against. There was a vote on Chapter 16, Section 1, of the Rules Applying to Dog Shows-Championships, which incorporates a new paragraph 8 to permit a 2020 National Specialty to be held in 2021 in addition to a 2021 National Specialty. This proposal passed 96% to 4% against.
There were also votes on Chapter 14, new Section 36, of the Field Trial Rules (passed 99% to 1%), Chapter 15, new Section 27, of the Field Trial Rules (passed 100%), Chapter 9, Section 1, of the Beagle Field Trial Rules (passed 99% to 1%) and Chapter 3, Section 1, of the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedures for Basset Hounds (passed 99% to 1%).
CFO Ted Phillips gave his Financial Report as of October 31, 2020. YTD in 2020 there has been a 9.4% increase compared to prior year in litter registrations with 234,992 registrations. In YTD 2020 dog registrations there has been a 17.7 increase versus 2019, with 587,462 registrations. On entries and events, there was a decrease of entries from 2,831,349 in 2019 to 1,305,498 in 2020. Events declined by 46% and entries declined by 54%. Expenses were down 15% in 2020 vs. budget, compared to 10% in 2019. YTD investments are up a little over 2% vs. 2019.
All the Delegate Committees were held on Zoom … also known as “No! Not that word again!” Anyway, I attended the Bylaws Committee meeting and here are a few comments:
Committee member and Board candidate Greg Paveza spoke on some items from the Bylaws subcommittee. Most of the discussion was on various articles and sections of the Bylaws with proposed amendments. The articles discussed were Article 13-14-18-20 and 21. The following proposals are being sent to the Board and then to the Delegate Body for a vote: Article 4, Section 1, which deals with the household requirements; and Article 6, Section 2, which deals with proxy voting being prohibited.
Sent back to the subcommittee was Article 4, Section 5, which deals with the publication of name and address of clubs in the AKC Gazette.
The subcommittee will continue to review other parts of the AKC Bylaws for future changes.
There was lots of discussion on allowing local specialty clubs (i.e., the Mid-Atlantic Leonberger Club of Virginia) to be eligible for AKC membership. Most of the Delegate body are against this, as it will not be good for AKC parent clubs.
The AKC Board voted on this and here are the results from the meeting held July 8-9, 2019:
“Requirements for AKC Membership - Bylaws Article IV, Sections 1, 2, 3 Doug Ljungren, Executive Vice President, Sports & Events, and Lisa Cecin, Director, Club Relations participated in this portion of the meeting. The Board reviewed the requirements for AKC membership, which are described in ARTICLE IV, SECTIONS 1, 2 and 3, of the AKC Bylaws. There is no restriction in the current Bylaws which would prohibit a local Specialty Club from applying to AKC for Member Club status in accordance with Article IV of the Bylaws. However, no regional specialty clubs have been elected to membership since 1949. The section of the Bylaws enabling local Specialty Clubs to become members (Article IV, Section 4) was removed as part of the 2000 Bylaw overhaul, with the intent of making the Bylaws consistent with practice. However, while removing the provision to enable them to become members, ARTICLE IV, SECTION 1, remained in place, and un-amended which does not prohibit local Specialty Clubs from becoming members. Following a motion by Mrs. Wallin, seconded by Mr. Carota, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to direct the Executive Secretary to send this information to the Delegate Bylaws Committee for their review and input.”
Peter Piusz is working on a Parent Club Health Statement for AKC.org.
Pat Laurans gave a report on AKC Reunite’s pet-disaster relief efforts this year. Board member Rita Biddle sent out a follow-up email with the following information:
AKC Reunite is about to deliver their 91st trailer to Mission Viejo, Calif., and then one is going to County Idaho. There have been eight emergency situations in which trailer relief has been used in recent months: three in California, two in Oregon, and one each in Colorado, Washington State and Arizona. Lots of needs on the West Coast! In 2020 so far they have made 31 emergency grants for a total of over $75,000. As of November 23, 2020, they have 434 clubs participating with total funds raised of $2,309,517 ($1,659,517 in donations and $650,000 funded by the AKC Reunite).
The All-Breed Committee headed by Nancy Fisk discussed the At Risk committee’s work. Margaret DiCorleto explained that the committee is asking club members to reach out to fellow club members to see if they need help. Club members can conduct in-person checks. It is best if there are two club members participating in this. There could be a GoFundMe account created to help to pay vet bills, etc. Members of clubs and anyone should have some kind of advanced planning in case of a situation arising that could place you At Risk.
Mari-Beth O'Neill discussed that at the AKC show in Orlando there are about 105 Juniors. There will be jackets to give out to those juniors. Breed courses for Juniors are free on the AKC website with a special code. Vet outreach is on the Canine College site on AKC for $20.
Eduardo Fugiwara gave a report on how some clubs are handling the COVID situation. He reported that most are doing a great job. AKC is working with superintendents to try to cancel shows prior to the opening of entries if possible. That will make exhibitors happier, as they can get some of their entry fees back.
At the Dog Show Rules Committee, a subcommittee headed by chairperson Marilyn Vinson, myself and Barbara Schwartz, discussion was had on the final part of the Premium List Streamlining. We worked on the Junior Showmanship Competition wording to reduce the amount of space in premium lists. We used two alternate wording A & B that clubs could use. Staff concurred with the changes and it was voted to send it to the AKC Board for discussion and then to the Delegate Body. This committee worked very hard to hopefully give clubs options on lots of things in the premium list to help them save money. Chairperson Cindy Miller of the DSRC worked on finishing up the wording on Chapter 9, Sections 4-9, Chapter 10, Sections 2-7, and Chapter 15, Section 1, regarding the wording in these chapters on the Show Veterinarian.
Cindy Stansell gave a report on a subcommittee that consists of one member from each committee. The committee recently approved:
Having a separate prompt on the event application for Junior entry fee so that show chairs understand that the entry fee does not have to be the same as other entries.
The need for suggested bylaw language that better addresses the needs of Juniors was also proposed. One suggestion was adding “Junior Advocate” to the list of annual club contacts. Another was allowing Juniors to show a Canine Partner. This goes to a vote at the January AKC Board meeting.
The committee recently researched the cost breakdown for offering Junior Showmanship. One was for reduced entry fees for juniors in all AKC events other than juniors. This is currently available. Also discussed were education programs, Quiz Bowls and the SAFE programs. These ideas and others will be gathered into a Best Practice document that will be available to all-breed and specialty clubs.
At the Coordinating Committee each Committee Chairperson gave their report, some of which I gave to you already. AKC President Dennis Sprung gave his report, which stated that litters and individual dog registrations and its components, pedigrees, Good Dog Helpline and Puppy Visor are all increasing. Litters are up 9% YTD; individual dogs had an increase of 18% YTD.
Our AKC National Championship show in Orlando has been well planned with extraordinary safety and social-distancing measures in place. This is a truly a multi-department joint venture. This will be different than the previous 20 years. Masks required, zero tolerance, show-n-go style event. No seating day or evening; no dryers. There will not be a Meet the Breeds, no spectators, no judges’ dinner. For the first time we will be streaming every breed in real time each day, and profits from this initiative will be donated to Take the Lead plus four affiliates.
Entries are: Agility 608 + 78 Juniors; Rally 411+ 6, Obedience 124+1, Fast Cat 116+; Dock Diving, 389. There are 3,872 dogs entered in this show with a total of 4,000 entries. There are 2,000+ in BBE, Stakes and NOHS. There are 105 Juniors.
Some of the permanent Board policy changes include allowing specialty clubs to have additional designated specialties. The Limited Number of Events Policy was amended to allow specialty clubs to hold up to four additional designated specialties per year. These four designated specialties are in addition to the competition specialty clubs could hold. There is no limit on parent clubs. Local specialty clubs have the option to hold shows on two days per year or two shows per year, at their option. Local specialty clubs have the option to hold up to hold one additional show in conjunction with their breed’s national specialty.
There is a forwarding-application processing fee for events cancelled due to COVID. For these cancelled events, the event application processing fees can be applied to a future event of the same type. The club must notify the AKC of the events the club would like the fees applied from and to. This was extended to events that were scheduled to be held on or before December 31, 2021.
Also offered is allowing exhibitors up to three opportunities for championship points at the same site on the same day. If a third opportunity for points is offered, at least one of the events must be an independent (stand-alone, concurrent or evening) specialty. This was extended to events scheduled to be held on or before December 31, 2021. To provide exhibitors an opportunity to review event information prior to the opening date, an event’s premium list must be published for 72 hours before entries may be accepted. This was extended to events scheduled to be held on or before December 31, 2021.
There has been no change to the AKC rules that require premium lists to be published five weeks prior to the closing date of the event. Clubs may publish in their premium list that the location of the rings, indoors or outdoors, will be determined on the day of the event. Refunds will not be granted based on the final locations. This must be published in a prominent location in the premium list. This also was extended to events scheduled to be held on or before December 31, 2021.
There is also an extension of the distance conformation clubs may hold a show outside their territory from 125 miles to 200 miles. This applies to all types of conformation clubs. Clubs with extenuating circumstances may request an exception to hold their conformation show up to 300 miles outside of their territory. This is also an extending of the distance specialty clubs may travel to join another specialty club of the same breed outside their territory from 200 miles to 300 miles.
Of the percentage of shows that are being cancelled – from 100% in the middle of March 2020, and 100% in April and May – the December cancellation are down to 57%. Of course in December there were only 58 scheduled; only 25 occurred and 33 were cancelled or postponed. Even in 2021 with 93 planned in January, 54% have been canceled. Of the 177 scheduled in May 2021, only 2% have been canceled or postponed.
May I say during such times of sorrow, grief and financial stress for lots of our friends in our sport, we must remember that there are people out there to reach out to. We are a very close family, and we are blessed to be among this group of friends. Of course, we cannot get along with them all … but what families do? We have our dogs with us to give us comfort and such joy. I personally could not have gotten through COVID so far without the love of Nicky D and Rorrie B, my little Toy Poodles. Remember that Dog spelled backward is God. That says it all!
Let us not give up hope! Let us reach out to our friends and just talk and let them know how you feel. Do things with your dog, as we still have dog shows and performance events. I miss you all and hope that we get through this horrible situation. God bless you all.