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Inspections Educate Breeders and Promote Better Breeding Practices

(Wednesday, December 28, 2005)
Most of us have some anxiety about undergoing any kind of inspection, whether it's for our cars or luggage at the airport. Getting breeders to embrace a thorough inspection of their dogs and kennels is no small feat. But the American Kennel Club's emphasis on education and cooperation is succeeding to combat negative connotations and bring about a significant shift in perception and attitude.

"This July, I experienced my first AKC inspection," said Lynne Brinkley, who breeds German Shepherds and Havanese. "At first I was nervous, since I was not certain what to expect, and our four-legged children and their children mean a great deal to our family."

"Before setting one foot on the ground, our inspector donned disposable, protective boots in order to keep diseases and germs from entering our kennels and house," Brinkley added in an unsolicited e-mail sent to the AKC. "When I saw him take such care and time with just his boots, I gave my first sigh of relief. I could tell that he cared as much about the health of our kids as we did."

"Not only did we pass (the inspection), but we received compliments about our care and concern for our critters as well as suggestions about things we had not previously thought about," Brinkley added.

An AKC inspector completes an inspection report.
Credit: Arliss Paddock ©AKC
The AKC is unique among the purebred dog registries in the world in that it maintains a systematic and sustained inspection effort to ensure compliance with standards that support the health, safety and welfare of dogs and the environment in which they are maintained. These inspections serve as the cornerstone of the AKC registry by ensuring its unparalleled integrity.

Scores of other breeders echoed Brinkley's sentiments. In a survey completed earlier this year of more than 1,300 breeders who underwent an AKC inspection, more than 97 percent of respondents said their overall experience with AKC inspectors was positive. And more than 90 percent of respondents viewed AKC inspections, requirements and regulations as necessary to ensure proper breeding practices.

"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," said Inspections and Investigations Director Steve Robinson. "Every aspect of our inspection program encourages compliance with AKC rules and regulations regarding recording the identity of dogs and the care and condition of dogs and their kennels."

Continuing the momentum of 2004, during which the Inspections and Investigations department completed 5,000 inspections, the number of annual completed inspections fast-approaches the 5,000 mark once again. Department management and field agents, often called "inspectors," coordinated and carried out an unprecedented disaster relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And staff attended, made presentations, and met with thousands of breeders face-to-face at nearly a half dozen breeder association seminars throughout the Midwest.

"Our focus over the last couple years has been increasingly to educate people more about the AKC, better breeding and breeding practices. We focus on helping people improve," said AKC Assistant Vice President of Compliance Tom Sharp. "Our inspectors love to be proactive and positive and have taken to this change in attitude like a fish takes to water. And the breeders have embraced it with open arms."