AKC eNewsletter

Inspections Maintain Registry Integrity and Educate Breeders

By Theresa Shea, editor

When long-time breeder and hunter Wayne Campbell received a call last July from AKC Executive Field Agent Marcus Bach, the two set up a meeting at Campbell’s Chesterfield, Virginia, kennel the next day.

DNA testing ensures the AKC registry is the most accurate in the world.
“When the inspector arrived, we went down and looked through the kennel,” Campbell said. “Everything seemed up-to-par, and we came back here to look at records.”

Bach DNA-tested a litter of nine Redbone Coonhounds and later used his laptop computer to see that Campbell’s breeding and ownership records matched AKC records. Bach completed the inspections report on-site and left Campbell with a copy of the report. Campbell was in compliance with AKC record-keeping rules and care and condition policies and passed inspection.

This was the second official AKC inspection of Campbell’s 30-dog kennel of Redbone Coonhounds, a follow-up inspection for one conducted nearly two years earlier in August 2003.

During the first inspection, Bach suggested Campbell consider microchipping his dogs to make it easier to identify them.

Campbell took Bach’s advice.

“Identifying the dogs with microchips has helped us tremendously. We’re going to microchip every puppy that comes out of our kennel before it leaves our premises,” Campbell said. “We were very happy.”

“We welcomed the inspection. We set the kennel up ourselves with runs and septic tanks as clean as we could,” Campbell said. “Having someone come in to give us suggestions of a better way to do things – we think it’s great.”

“Sometimes you do things day after day after day. It’s always good to get somebody to say, ‘Hey, is this the best way?’” Campbell added.

Campbell’s was one of about 5,000 inspections the AKC staff of 15 field agents will conduct this year.

The AKC is unique among the purebred dog registries in the world in that it maintains a systematic and sustained investigation and inspection effort to ensure compliance with standards that support the health, safety and welfare of dogs and the environment in which they are maintained. “One of our goals is education. We want to help breeders do the best jobs they can,” said Bach. “Some people are excited to see us show up to inspect their kennels and dogs, and some people are a little nervous. We try to put them at ease. If we find a problem, we help the breeder take care of it.”

“If, for instance, a breeder is having a problem getting a dog registered with the AKC, we can look up the paperwork and figure out what they need and call the office right then to fix it, if it’s during office hours,” Bach explained. “Or if someone hasn’t gotten a litter kit back yet, we can find out its status. Even if we can’t take care of a problem that day, we can often explain what they need to do to get the problem taken care of.”

“We’re looking at their facilities, the condition of their kennels, at the conditions of their dogs and at all their dogs’ ownership, breeding and litter records,” said Bach.

Regarding kennel conditions, inspectors check for structural soundness of the kennel, sufficient shelter to protect dogs from the elements, adequate and breed-appropriate space for each dog per kennel or cage, a source of fresh air and an ample supply of artificial or natural light. As far as cleanliness goes, inspectors look for an overall clean appearance, absence of fecal material and other debris, clean water containers with sufficient fresh water, fresh food provided daily and if bedding is available, that it is parasite-free.

AKC inspectors travel with laptop computers and printers and leave breeders with copies of the inspection reports.
Inspectors check the dogs for: visible signs of excessive parasitic infestation; untreated, visible wounds; matted and dirty coats; and appropriate weight. They also see whether dogs have access to daily exercise out of their cages or pens.

DNA certification is required for dogs that sire seven or more litters in their lifetime or more than three litters in a calendar year as well as for dogs whose semen is collected for fresh-extended (chilled) or frozen use. DNA technology allows breeders and the AKC to ensure that the AKC registry is the most accurate in the world.

“If the breeder has litters available and sire and dams on the premises, we may take DNA samples,” Bach said. “It validates what they already know and what they already do.”

The AKC Investigations and Inspections Department routinely conducts inspections of breeders who use the AKC registry. Any AKC customer (breeder, retail pet shop or broker) who registers seven or more litters per year or conducts 25 or more registration transactions per year is automatically added to the list for inspection. Inspections are also scheduled based on supported written complaints. Inspections may be conducted unannounced or by appointment. Unannounced inspections occur Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“The AKC's active role through its Investigations and Inspections Department is protecting and ensuring the integrity of the registry and improving conditions for our wonderful dogs and puppies,” said AKC Director of Inspections and Investigations Steve Robinson.

“Inspections are a simple process. Inspectors are courteous and respectful. The system is designed to help breeders come into compliance with AKC policies and regulations.”

“Only for the most egregious circumstances where people can’t comply or won’t comply with AKC regulations, do we take disciplinary action – but that’s usually only when a breeder won’t comply because we always work to find a way to help them,” Robinson added.

The AKC offers a booklet that clearly explains the rules for anyone who owns one or more dogs that they breed, sell, transfer or give away. Access the rules, regulations and applicable forms on the AKC website. Or order a copy of the easy-to-use “A User’s Guide to the AKC Rules for Record Keeping and Identification” by contacting AKC Customer Service: orderdesk@akc.org, (919) 233-9767. Ask for part number PRWKBK.

  Ronald N. Rella, director, Breeder Services
Theresa Shea, editor | Email: AKCbreeder@akc.org
Customer Service | Phone: 919-233-9767 | Email: info@akc.org

© The American Kennel Club 2005