Question of the Week
Barrington, Rhode Island
I'm the AKC Delegate for the Rhode Island Kennel Club, and have been in that role for nearly two years. Yes, I was surprised that there were no nominations from the floor because I had heard of more challenging elections in the past.
And I was more surprised that at the December meeting where the candidates gave their campaign speeches, not one of them described any vision for the future. They listed their accomplishments, and that was it. Later, I asked one candidate about this. He said they had published their visions earlier in the delegates' newsletter.
That seems like the worst misread of 21st-Century adults I have heard in a prominent decision-maker. Today, the concept of a newsletter is dead. In the past, it was necessary to disperse news. Now, news is immediately shared by email, websites, etc. So the idea that an AKC delegate should read candidates' platforms in a newsletter is just tone deaf.
I wanted to at least hear a spirited description of the AKC five and 10 years down the road. I think if there had been a contested election, there may have been more of that on the day. But now, unless one is prone to reading newsletters, we really have no idea what this slate has in mind to bring AKC into a more modern era.
Las Vegas, Nevada
No, I am not concerned they won unopposed. They are good board members. I think the Class of 2027 elections in March 2023 will be more interesting and have more running either by the nominating-committee selections or from the floor. Take my word for that.
In case YOU haven't noticed, the fancy is dying – and not just because the older breeders are dying of old age and younger people have no interest in being quasi-farmers. It's worse.
Twice in the past week I have forwarded ads from (breeders? scammers) posted on Craigslist offering AKC Doodles and Pomskies. I sent them to Mari-Beth O'Neill. Yes, AKC dogs are offered, too, but they don't exist, and those idiots who sent money to someone believe they got ripped off by a breeder. The AKC is not protecting the brand.
The AKC could work with Craigslist to stop this, but they have no interest. Their legal money is going to defend pet shops selling commercially bred dogs. You know that, I know that — and I believe most of the fancy knows this, and yet the issue is the old men being reappointed? If they don't listen to any of the delegates, and the delegates can't bring the issues up at any meetings …
We probably won't find any genetically sound Miniature Schnauzers in about five years. The AKC is registering parti-colored, blue-eyed dogs as purebred.
Anne Marie Kubacz
Jackson, New Jersey
I think this is a great functioning board at the AKC and am glad they are all back.
Patrick C. Byrne
Kansas City, Kansas
Having been president of one of the oldest AKC clubs for 22 years, I am certainly concerned that there were no nominations from the floor for AKC board positions. It does not bode well.
I am not sure that it is that meaningful. I think it happens quite a bit in industry. I do think, however, that the AKC is probably becoming irrelevant. I think it needs to stop trying to make the entire universe its audience and focus on the people who care about purebred dogs and maintaining their integrity – to their standard and function. And, of course, “grooming” the next generations of purebred-dog enthusiasts.
Medford, New Jersey
It does not surprise me at all that there were no nominations from the floor. There is an old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Many of us long-time breeder/owner/exhibitor/judges have simply tired of the AKC "process." Apathy is about the most correct word to explain our feelings.
Janie A. Hecker
To be honest, I have only been involved with AKC since 2012. In my view, the AKC is similar to a large corporation. Much of the running of AKC is a mystery to me. I do know that a good many people believe that AKC puts making money before advancing purebred dogs. When I see puppy-mill breeders allowed to advertise their litters on AKC Marketplace and training programs promoting mixed breeds where they should be promoting purebreds, I cannot argue with that opinion. A healthy board should always develop new individuals to serve on it so that the board does not lose touch with reality.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Because of the fact that the three individuals had only served one term and under the bylaws are entitled to serve two four-year terms in a row, no. Also note that even competition to serve on the standing committees was way down in number of individuals trying to obtain membership.
Could Covid and not getting together face to face have an impact? Not sure on that issue.
I believe the AKC stopped being an effective champion of the dog fancy with an emphasis on breed protection several years ago. The AKC has become an organization more focused on conjuring up ways to make money to support an ever-increasing administrative wasteland.
A simple perusal of the AKC website "Breeder's Page" will reveal many listings of various breeders offering puppies for sale (currently or in the future) who have no AKC or dog-club affiliation. This displays the AKC board's total lack of commitment to supporting reputable breeders (who produce litters based on the quality and health of the pair rather than the profit margin). By not requiring every breeder/kennel to be a member in good standing with a regional club and the AKC, the board is allowing unvetted, for-profit breeders to list his/her "kennel" and puppies for sale on the site.
I believe the AKC has lost touch with those people who the organization was meant to help and to represent. Possibly that is why I see other dog organizations gaining ground and offering competing shows and titles.
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Under the bylaws, outside nominations may also be made with a petition signed by 50 delegates. So, question number one should be: Did any other delegates submit a valid petition to run from the floor? If there were, then the election would be a clear violation of the bylaws and therefore invalid.
In the recent past, there have always been those who have run from the floor. I would hope that the rules were followed? If not, we need to know why not. It seems that the delegates have very little input or power and that everything is being run by the staff and the board. The input from the delegates and the fancy should not be ignored.
The sport benefits greatly from a board of diverse opinions. If the goal is to nominate people who will play follow the leader, we will never be able to move forward with a change that may have a positive impact on the future. There are many highly qualified people who would be good leaders moving forward.
So again, the question is very basic: Were there individuals who expressed an interest to run from the floor, and did they have the required 50 signatures on their petition? If so, the election should be declared invalid and a new vote must be taken. If the rules were followed, there really is no discussion.
One could look at this question from two very different perspectives. One, the current board governed so well there seemed to be no need to change what worked. Two, even though it seems that about 90 percent of the dog-show fancy complains about how the AKC conducts their business, no one will step up to the plate to try and implement any changes. A lot of the problem lies in the apathy of the fancy. So many complainers and not enough doers. Perhaps this starts at the club level, where we still have very few who do the actual work to create dog shows.