December Chairman's Report
As the year comes to a close I’d like to review what the AKC has accomplished. The Board and Staff have worked diligently to ensure the continued success of our club and the sport. The Fancy has played a major role in our success.
They were effective in defeating the proposed mandatory spay and neuter bill in California. This was a major hurdle but I’m pleased to say that when push came to shove, the Fancy banded together to clearly communicate the failings of this measure. We should all be proud that we defeated a proposal that, at best, was unnecessary and, at worst, could have infringed on our rights as responsible dog owners and breeders. While we may have won this important battle, the war against anti-dog legislation continues.
We now have established a new AKC Political Action Committee and also created a Canine Legislation Support Fund. For the first time ever at the state level, AKC hired a lobbyist. We held two Lobby Days in California and other legislative training seminars across the country.
This year AKC launched its very successful Educational Match program with events in Raleigh, North Carolina and New Jersey. Clubs in the Portland, Oregon area held one of their own and in 2008 we are gearing up to assist many more clubs in rolling out this wonderful program in their communities. Our vision is for these matches to be held throughout the country, offering an opportunity for thousands of newcomers to join our beloved sport.
The Educational Match program together with our annual AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day allows us to reach out to pet owners and potential fanciers alike, ensuring that all dog enthusiasts have an opportunity to experience the AKC face-to-face. AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day was celebrated by more than 380 clubs and organizations nationwide with a variety of educational events. They received a bounty of local press coverage.
Our Communications department continues to develop strategic media campaigns that reach hundreds of millions of people annually. Topics such as avoiding Internet scams when purchasing a puppy and our annual registration statistics enable us to gain national media attention and emphasize the expertise and resources that we can offer all dog lovers.
We also reach many millions through our paid advertising which aggressively highlights the benefits of AKC registration and the wonderful AKC programs that enhance our dogs’ and our own lives. In 2007 we placed ads in USA Weekend magazine which reaches over 23 million readers each Sunday via 600 papers across the country.
Our licensing program continues to grow in 2007. We added numerous licensees to our roster expanding the AKC brand into several new categories including custom photo albums, limited-edition replications of the AKC art collection and children’s coloring books. These additions join an existing program that is currently in more than 4,700 stores nationwide. Our AKC branded kennels and toys continue to fly off the shelves and we think the new Junior Series of dog toys and Agility play sets will do the same in 2008.
On the financial front, I’m pleased to report that for the first 10 months of 2007, the picture is quite favorable and that we are on track again this year to have a record number of entries in all sports – a total of more than 3 million.
Agility events have grown by 9 percent and Performance by 2 percent. Strong growth was experienced by Lure Coursing events with a nearly 26 percent increase. It’s noteworthy to mention that this sport held a successful National Lure Coursing Championship – the first in five years.
The biggest growth in events has been in Coonhounds with a whopping 100 percent increase over the same period in 2006. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America held the first AKC-approved Working Dog Sport at its National Specialty in September.
In July, AKC helped sponsor the third Parent Club Conference - where representatives from more than 150 AKC Parent Clubs as well as miscellaneous, and FSS breeds - participated in a weekend of education and networking.
To continue our commitment to the integrity of our registry, I’m happy to report that we implemented a new Inspection protocol as approved by the Board in November 2006. This department continues to make us proud, having already conducted more than 5,000 inspections this year. We are on track to having the most productive year ever in regard to inspections.
This year saw the launch of Online Record Keeping which enables breeders to compile and check their records on akc.org. The AKC Breeder’s department facilitated an increased number of Breeders’ Symposia held in conjunction with the AKC/Canine Health Foundation and brought distribution of the AKC Breeder newsletter to nearly 120,000 readers per issue.
Preserving our history is important to the AKC and I’m pleased that the AKC Archive provided services to almost 10 new collections from clubs and personal donors and assisted dozens with important research. In addition, two new online features of the archive include the Digital Collection, where researchers can view important documents such as the original AKC minutes from 1884 and the Finding Aids tool, a summary and index of AKC Archive collections by type at akc.org. To find these resources simply click on About AKC on the homepage and look for the AKC Archives under Departments.
We are very pleased to have also launched the AKC Humane Fund, a new and distinct not-for-profit organization, separate from AKC, to present educational programs and give to charitable causes. We expect to realize the Fund’s mission which is “to unite a broad spectrum of animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible and productive pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making.”
One area in which AKC consistently demonstrates its dedication to all dogs is canine health. We anticipate providing significant support to the AKC/CHF endowment fund above the more than $1.2 million annual donation the AKC normally contributes to this worthy cause.
With these many accomplishments, AKC demonstrated its commitment to its mission of promoting the Sport of Purebred Dogs, advancing canine health, protecting the rights of all dog owners, and promoting responsible dog ownership. I look forward to an equally productive 2008 and I personally would like to thank the entire Board, the Delegate Body, and the hard-working Staff for all their dedication.
Lastly, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC National Obedience Invitational rounded out the year with nearly 3,000 dogs competing from all over the globe. The addition of the Eukanuba World Challenge brought added excitement and fostered better relations throughout the international world of dogs.
I invite all of you to relive the excitement of the AKC/ Eukanuba National Championship with millions of viewers on 8 p.m. (EST/PST) Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008, Super Bowl Weekend, on Animal Planet and Discovery. And don’t forget to view the video highlights of the Bred-By Exhibitor groups and Eukanuba World Challenge on our website at www.akc.org.
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