AKC Board Administration Policies
Code of Sportsmanship (February, 2006 Board Meeting)
The Board considered the Code of Sportsmanship proposed by the Chairman’s Conflict of Interest Committee. The version under consideration reflected the input of the Delegates at the January 2006 Forum in Tampa.
Following a motion by Mr. Merriam, seconded by Dr. Garvin, it was VOTED (unanimously) to adopt the following:
AKC CODE OF SPORTSMANSHIP
PREFACE: The sport of purebred dog competitive events dates prior to 1884, the year of AKC’s birth. Shared values of those involved in the sport include principles of sportsmanship. They are practiced in all sectors of our sport: conformation, performance and companion. Many believe that these principles of sportsmanship are the prime reason why our sport has thrived for over one hundred years. With the belief that it is useful to periodically articulate the fundamentals of our sport, this code is presented.
- Sportsmen respect the history, traditions and integrity of the sport of purebred dogs.
- Sportsmen commit themselves to values of fair play, honesty, courtesy, and vigorous competition, as well as winning and losing with grace.
- Sportsmen refuse to compromise their commitment and obligation to the sport of purebred dogs by injecting personal advantage or consideration into their decisions or behavior.
- The sportsman judge judges only on the merits of the dogs and considers no other factors.
- The sportsman judge or exhibitor accepts constructive criticism.
- The sportsman exhibitor declines to enter or exhibit under a judge where it might reasonably appear that the judge’s placements could be based on something other than the merits of the dogs.
- The sportsman exhibitor refuses to compromise the impartiality of a judge.
- The sportsman respects the AKC bylaws, rules, regulations and policies governing the sport of purebred dogs.
- Sportsmen find that vigorous competition and civility are not inconsistent and are able to appreciate the merit of their competition and the effort of competitors.
- Sportsmen welcome, encourage and support newcomers to the sport.
- Sportsmen will deal fairly with all those who trade with them.
- Sportsmen are willing to share honest and open appraisals of both the strengths and weaknesses of their breeding stock.
- Sportsmen spurn any opportunity to take personal advantage of positions offered or bestowed upon them.
- Sportsmen always consider as paramount the welfare of their dog.
- Sportsmen refuse to embarrass the sport, the American Kennel Club, or themselves while taking part in the sport.
Code of Sportsmanship Enforcement (August 2006 Board Meeting)
The Code of Sportsmanship is an affirmation of how registrants and participants should behave, and violations will be handled pursuant to the Charter and Bylaws and the Dealing with Misconduct at AKC Events booklet. Complaints will be handled by sending a copy to the subject of the complaint and giving him/her an opportunity to respond. If the number or seriousness of the complaints against a person rises to the level requiring formal discipline (i.e. conduct prejudicial to purebred dogs, AKC events or the AKC), AKC will consider preferring charges. Infractions of a lesser degree will be dealt with by an educational letter sent to the parties involved, affirming the Code of Sportsmanship .
“no person is eligible to become or remain a Delegate if he or she has a significant interest in a dog registry, dog event-giving organization or any organization deemed to be in competition with AKC or in conflict of its objects. Significant interest would include but not be limited to, ownership in, employment by, a directorship of, and holding office in.”
Delegates, as representatives of AKC Member Clubs, exercise the voting powers of those clubs in the governance of AKC and the Sport of Purebred Dogs as regulated by AKC. While there will always be debate and legitimate differences of opinion on issues, there should be no question, but that all Delegates are basing their votes on what is best for AKC vis á vis any competing organization.
Delegates, as part of AKC’s governing body, must hold the best interest of AKC over any organization that is clearly in competition with AKC for registrations or event entries or that is deemed to be in conflict of its objects. Besides the examples cited in the Bylaws, significant interest that would create a real or perceived conflict would also include monetary investment or gains, business affiliation, representation or consulting, with such interest resulting in payment or receipt of any remuneration or reward, cash or in kind, direct or indirect.
When it comes to the attention of AKC, that a Delegate may not be in compliance with this section, he or she will be contacted and given the opportunity to clarify the alleged conflict or to resign.
If, after clarification, there is still deemed to be a conflict, and the Delegate declines to resign, the matter will be referred to the AKC Board at its next meeting for adjudication. If the Board finds a Delegate to be ineligible to continue to serve, the procedure outlined in ARTICLE VI, Section 7 for new Delegates, shall apply, with the Delegate’s club having 30 days to appeal, which appeal shall be presented to the Delegates at their next regular meeting. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Delegates present and voting that the candidate is eligible shall be required to sustain the appeal and to enable the Delegate to continue to serve.
Any questions on the provisions of the Bylaws and their enforcement may be directed to the attention. Of the akc Executive Secretary.
Dog Show Point Schedule (May 1995 Board meeting)
A three-member staff committee, appointed by the President, is given the authority to approve the annual dog show point schedule, which upon completion, is to be reported to the Board.
Edited Minutes (June 1998 Board meeting)
There are to be no deletions from the published minutes other than: judging denials, pending discipline, pending legal matters, sensitive business matters, and matters the Board specifically votes to delete.
Event Committee Discipline Report (November 1994 Board meeting)
The authority to review and reconsider Event Committee discipline reports involving misconduct at those events has been Delegated to AKC management with the following stipulations:
1. The Board-approved procedures for the handling of discipline at events are followed.
2. Penalties are assessed according to the schedule approved by the Board. Any recommendations for a penalty outside of this schedule must be referred to the Board for action.
3. Guidelines established by the Board for assessing the mitigated and aggravated penalties are followed.
4. All actions taken by management in these matters are to be reported to the Board at its next meeting.
Event Committee Legal Expenses (May 1985 Board meeting)
AKC will afford legal representation, upon request, to members of Event Committees, who are sued for activity or actions undertaken while acting within the scope of their duties on said committees.
Financial Conflict of Interest/Full Disclosure (July 1997 Board Meeting)
It is the policy of The American Kennel Club that all members of the AKC Board of Directors will avoid any conflict between their interests, direct or indirect, and those of AKC or any organization affiliated with the AKC. The fundamental principle guiding implementation of this policy is that no Board member who represents or has any direct or indirect interest in any company, organization, institution or any other entity shall participate in any decision when that entity does or seeks to do business with AKC. Furthermore, any Board member whose immediate household members or immediate family members represent or have any direct or indirect interest in any of the above business entities will also be prohibited from participating in any decisions involving that entity. Board members in such situations, either personally or through association with household and/or family members, will reveal their interest, making full disclosure of the same, and leave the room during any discussion period concerning the entity and transaction involved. Board members will also abstain from voting on any matters pertaining to such entity.
Further, in pursuance of this policy, all Board members will sign a disclosure statement annually at the Board’s annual reorganization meeting, and all appointed Board members will sign such a statement upon taking office.
Direct and indirect interests will include, but not be limited to, monetary investment or gains, partnerships, business affiliation, association, representation or consultancy with such interest resulting in payment or receipt of any remuneration or reward, cash or in kind, direct or indirect.
For the purpose of this policy, members of an immediate family are: husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law.
AKC affiliated organizations will include, but not be limited to: the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the AKC Museum of the Dog, and AKC Companion Animal Recovery.
The forms will be maintained by the Executive Secretary and only the Chairman and Treasurer will have access to them.
When an alleged incident of misconduct involving a judge arises at, or in connection with, an AKC event, the following guidelines should be followed by the Field Staff:
- All complaints against a judge at an event which involve deviation from standard judging procedure and responsibilities will be reported to the Field Representative and handled internally by the AKC. (procedures follow)
- All complaints against a judge at an event, which involves action allegedly prejudicial to the sport of purebred dogs and the AKC, will be reported to the chairperson of the Events Committee to be handled, if deemed appropriate, by the Events Committee.
- The AKC office should be informed as soon as possible of any incidents referred to the Events Committee.
Internal Procedures for the Handling of Complaints
Concerning Judges’ Alleged Misconduct
- The complaint is investigated by the Director or head of the applicable department. Working within the department’s normal guidelines additional information is gathered relative to the complaint and a written notice of the complaint is mailed to the accused giving ample time for a response.
- If the matter requires investigation beyond the ability and resources of the department, the head of the applicable department will refer the matter to the President with a request for permission to obtain assistance from outside the department to do the necessary investigative work.
- If the President concurs, direction will be given as to which other departments or employees are to assist in the investigation process, as well as the extent of that involvement.
- A complete review is conducted to determine if the complaint has been substantiated.
- If the department determines disciplinary action is warranted, the accused individual is notified in writing of the allegations and recommendation. The Staff’s recommendation (to include a penalty and precedence, if available) is then presented to the Board for adjudication.
- If the Board concurs with the Staff’s recommendation, the accused individual is notified in writing of the Board’s action. The accused individual has 30 days from the date of the Board’s letter to file an appeal with the Judging Operations, Performance or Companion Events Department.
- If an appeal is filed, the Director or head of the applicable schedules a meeting with the Board Review Committee. The accused individual may; 1) attend in person or via conference call for a 30-minute presentation; 2) make a written appeal with pertinent additional information. The BRC reviews all material submitted and may concur with the recommended disciplinary action, amend the disciplinary action, or may recommend all disciplinary action be overturned. Any recommendation by the BRC requires the approval of the full Board.
- This concludes the appeal process.
- The accused individual is notified in writing of the decision.
- Suspension/fine is published in the AKC Gazette.
Judges’ Temporary Referral Policy (November, 2010 Board Meeting)
When an AKC-approved judge is charged by a government entity with cruelty, inhumane treatment of animals, or similar offense involving inhumane or cruel treatment of dogs, or charged by a government entity with any crime involving moral turpitude, especially as it concerns dog-related activities, AKC may temporarily place the judge on referral, which would have the effect of temporarily holding the judge’s approval to judge or accept assignments in abeyance. The purpose of this procedure is to prevent the judge from judging or from accepting assignments to judge while the charges are pending. If and when the charges are resolved and AKC’s inquiry into the matter determines that no action will be taken by the AKC to cause a suspension of judging privileges, the temporary judging referral will be removed.
No AKC judge may have a significant interest in a dog registry or dog event-governing organization deemed by the AKC Board to be in competition with The American Kennel Club. Significant interest would include, but not be limited to ownership of, employment by, a directorship in, and holding office in.
Licensing Superintendents (May 1995 Board meeting)
A three-member staff committee, appointed by the President, is authorized to handle the licensing of superintendents, with decisions to be reported to the Board.
Officers’ Expense Reports (February 1998 Board meeting)
All officers have their expense reports reviewed by the President. The Chairman is to review the President’s expense reports on a periodic basis.
Penalties: Mitigated and Aggravated (November 1994 Board meeting)
Circumstances that could, but would not necessarily result in an act of misconduct being mitigated would include, but not be limited to:
1. The lack of any prior offense.
2. The lack of experienced as a participant in events.
3. The minimal nature of the offense.
4. Recognition of wrongdoing.
5. The recommendation of the Events Committee.
Circumstances that could, but that would not necessarily result in an act of misconduct being aggravated would include, but not be limited to:
1. A record of prior offenses.
2. Extensive experience as a participant in events.
3. The seriousness of the offense.
4. Refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing.
5. The recommendation of the Events Committee.
Providing Information to AKC (May 1997 Board meeting)
AKC will consider paying some or all legal expenses for someone sued as a result of supplying requested information to AKC. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and a final decision made by the Board, using the following criteria:
1. The request for the information must be initiated by AKC as part of a Board of Directors authorized inquiry.
2. The individual did not furnish the information to any other party except as the result of a supoena.
3. AKC does not have a reason to believe that the information is untruthful.
4. AKC is not contemplating disciplinary action or litigation against the defendant.
5. AKC has been named as a defendant in the same litigation.
6. The defendant has received an insurance company rejection letter if a policy was in effect that could possibly cover the cost of the litigation.
7. No other potential conflicts are known to exist.
Support of Educational Activities (August 1997 Board meeting)
AKC supports quality educational activities. It is the Board’s intent to include and not exclude AKC-affiliated organizations in these endeavors. Therefore, the AKC encourages subject matter input in providing AKC-sponsored educational programs from any national/regional AKC-affiliated organization. It is not AKC policy to underwrite the financial educational efforts of affiliated national or regional organizations.
Unauthorized Use of Club Funds (April, 2009 Board Meeting)
Following a motion by Dr. Battaglia, seconded by Dr. Smith, it was VOTED (unanimously; absent Mr. Goodman) to adopt the following policy which provides that the unauthorized use of a licensed, member, or sanctioned AKC club’s funds, or assets is hereby recognized to be conduct prejudicial to the best interests of The American Kennel Club, purebred dogs or the sport of purebred dogs.
A conviction or admission in a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction or a finding by a federal or state administrative agency of unauthorized use of club funds or club assets or a finding of financial liability or a signed admission of unauthorized use of club funds or club assets, shall be deemed conclusive proof of conduct prejudicial to the sport of purebred dogs and to the best interests of The American Kennel Club and, accordingly, shall be grounds for suspension of all American Kennel Club privileges as the Board of Directors shall determine, upon proof being presented to The American Kennel Club by a member or officer of a licensed, member, or sanctioned AKC Club, or any other person. Any club or person(s) interested in purebred dogs could submit a complaint alleging that a violation of the proposed policy has occurred. Staff foresees that a majority of complaints would be submitted by a club, but in accordance with Article XII, Section 1 of the Charter and Bylaws of The American Kennel Club , it would not be required. Once the complaint is submitted, if staff determines that further inquiry into the matter is warranted, it would contact the club involved to obtain additional information.
As with any alleged violation, if the inquiry into the allegation determines that there is sufficient evidence to prefer charges, the accused would be notified of the AKC’s intent to impose disciplinary action.
After being notified of the AKC’s intent to impose discipline for a violation of the policy and the penalty that is intended to be imposed, the person shall be afforded the opportunity to appeal to the Management Disciplinary Committee on the grounds that the conduct was not prejudicial to The American Kennel Club, purebred dogs, and the sport of purebred dogs. The appeal must be accompanied by a $200 fee, which shall be returned if the appeal is sustained. If the Management Disciplinary Committee denies the appeal, the accused may appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Board of Directors, whose decision is final. Additionally, the person shall be notified and afforded the opportunity to request reversal of the suspension by submitting proof that he or she was not convicted for such conduct or that the conviction was reversed or vacated upon appeal. If such a conviction is reversed or vacated on appeal, and there is no further prosecution of the charges, and the American Kennel Club is presented with proof of same, the person’s privileges with the American Kennel Club shall be reinstated.
If the complaint alleges that the violation was committed by an AKC approved judge, staff would follow the Board of Directors’ policies that pertain to conducting inquiries into matters where the accused is an approved judge. Specifically, the Director or head of the department that is responsible for approving the judge would be notified of the complaint. If an inquiry into the matter was warranted, the President would allocate the necessary staff resources to conduct the inquiry. Additionally, during the inquiry, when applicable, any new application for the judge accused of misconduct would be placed on hold, pending the results of the inquiry. Staff would also take into consideration the fact that the accused is an AKC approved judge when setting the penalty for any alleged violation of the policy.
Further, prescribed penalties for violations of Unauthorized Use of Club Fundspolicy were approved to be added to the AKC Disciplinary Guidelines :
VII. Unauthorized Use of AKC Dog Club Funds
a. Judicial or administrative determination of,
or a signed admission of, unauthorized use of club funds
|1 YEAR ALL PRIVILEGES/$1,000||5YRS ALL PRIVILEGES/$2,000||10 YEARS ALL PRIVILEGES/$5,000|
Vendors List (September 1997 Board meeting)
Management is to provide Board with a list of AKC’s top 25 vendors (based upon amounts paid). The intent is to provide information on the types of vendors who do significant business with AKC.
Veterinary Scholarships (January 1995 Board meeting)
A staff committee appointed by the President is authorized to award veterinary scholarships consistent with applicable guidelines, reporting their decisions to the Board at its next meeting.
Web Site Linkage (June 2000 Board meeting)
The AKC retains complete editorial control of the web site’s content and has sole discretion to place links on the site. The AKC will only consider linking to other sites that meet any of these criteria:
a) The site is the official site of an AKC affiliate or subsidiary organization
b) The site is the official site for a member, licensed, or sanctioned AKC club
c) The site is an official rescue site affiliated with a member, licensed, or sanctioned AKC club
d) The site is operated by a party who has contracted to have their link and associated creative material on the AKC site