Chairman's Report

September 2012

-- Together We Are Truly the Dog’s Champion! --

At the Delegates Meeting in June, we spoke of the proposed new regulations to the Animal Welfare Act and the onerous impact on AKC Fancy breeders, like you and I. We were determined to act quickly and with great purpose to address this issue. And we did. The AKC Government Relations team developed comprehensive, compassionate, and convincing comments requiring a re-think of the USDA proposal. Thousands of you took individual action and offered constructive comments, also. And the petition we started that day advocating for the AKC position ignited the passionate support of over 70,000 people. We made our voice heard strongly and undeniably. The quest for equitable regulations will continue for some time. This was just the beginning of a long journey – one that we are prepared for and committed to for as long as it takes.

Earlier this year, as I was travelling to New York for an AKC Board meeting and with these anti-breeder actions on my mind, I was approached by a flight attendant shortly after boarding the plane. She mentioned she had noticed my AKC Breeder of Merit pin and asked if I was a dog breeder. I responded “yes” and steeled myself for what she might say next. I was truly unprepared for it.

She said, “Thank you.”

She went on to explain that a dog has always been an important part of her life, her family’s life, her children’s lives, and now her grandchildren’s lives. Each a purebred dog, albeit several different breeds; each acquired from a breeder.

She understood the life-long joy her dogs brought to her and her family was made possible by breeders. She just wanted me to know my role as breeder was appreciated and worthwhile.

Unfortunately, every day we are confronted by those who see a breeder very differently than she does – those who work law by law by restrictive law to take our rights away. Every day we fight to protect those rights from the onslaught of extremists who would see breeding restricted to the point of elimination.

The American Kennel Club believes in your rights as responsible owners and responsible breeders. We stand up for your rights wherever and whenever necessary. We will not stand by and let breeders be bullied into hiding.

To ensure that will not happen we need more than a strong argument about what we are against; we need to be just as strong about what it is we are for.

In September, we have the perfect opportunity to tell everyone about that. This month hundreds of our clubs will participate in the tenth annual AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day by hosting free community events reaching dog lovers, potential pet owners, voters, and legislators. The AKC will host its flagship event in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, Sept. 22. We welcome AKC clubs, Canine Good Citizen® evaluators, rescue groups, dog trainers, vet clinics and all other dog-loving groups to join us in making this year the biggest month-long celebration yet. If you haven't already, I urge you to sign-up your club or organization for an event.

Last year, more than 630 dog clubs and other organizations hosted events reaching millions of dog lovers and potential pet owners through extensive media coverage. Dog lovers also posted thousands of "Acts of Responsible Dog Ownership" on our Facebook and Twitter pages to help us celebrate "Virtual AKC RDO Days." This year, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest AKC RDO Days updates and participate in our virtual celebration.

President Kennedy had an inspiring thought that I believe applies to us: “One person can make a difference, and every person should try.” We not only each have that responsibility for individual activism, but together we have a requirement for collective action. By doing both, we will shape our own future and ensure our rights as responsible dog owners and breeders.

Together, we will continue to stand up for what we believe.

Together, we will continue to fight for our rights.

Together, we are truly the Dog’s Champion.

Sincerely,


Alan Kalter
Chairman