AKC Loves Puppy Mills ... and the Naïve
The Missouri Puppy mill featured in the video clip, above, is considered a "Blue Ribbon Kennel," and is part of the Missouri Department of Agriculture's "Elite Puppy Program" which it runs in conjunction with the Missouri Pet Breeder's Association.
The American Kennel Club is a proud platinum member of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association.
This is the part of the AKC that the American Kennel Club does not want you to know about -- that they work hand in hand with the puppy mill industry.
And the AKC's relationship with the pupy mill industry is not a small thing either -- it is a vital part of the Americal Kennel Club's financial operation. It is where the money comes from.
Over at The Canine Chronicle, Gretchen Bernardi has written about her five years of working with the "High Volume Breeders Committee" of the American Kennel Club.
The High Volume Breeders Committee is the AKC's new name for what used to be called a puppy mill.
For those who have not followed the AKC's long involvement in the puppy mill business, here's a quick summary:
- While the American Kennel Club has always put itself out there as an "elite" organization of elite people and elite dogs, the facts are quite the opposite. A huge chunk of the money that finances the American Kennel Club, and an astounding number of dogs, come from commercial puppy mill breeders.
- The AKC puppy mill connection first came out in the press in the late 1980s thanks to a handful of defecting staff. Prior to that time the AKC simply ignored questions about puppy mill registrations, lied about it, or gave deflecting answers.
- With the rapid rise of genetic defects within some Kennel Club breeds, the issue of negative genetic loads and genetic bottle necks came to the forefront of discussion on internet list-servs and bulletin boards. Vocal breed club members began to demand that the AKC keep better track of paperwork, and that they stop winking at puppy mills that cranked out a hundreds dogs a year from a single sire.
- The AKC's implementation of a Frequently Used Sire program, along with some increased inspections of commercial breeding facilities, resulted in the Missouri Pet Breeders Association boycotting the AKC and switching most of their registries over to the no-questions-asked, American Pet Registry which originates in Arkansas.
- Over the space of six years – from 1999 through 2006 – AKC registrations dropped by 250,000 dogs as increasing numbers of puppy millers ditching the AKC.
- The loss of puppy mill income precipitated a cash crisis for the AKC. You see, the American Kennel Club depends on puppy mill money to finance their expensive building on Madison Avenue and their money-losing dog shows, as well as their staff travel, pre-and post-Westminster dog show parties and the like.
- What to do? The answer, of course, was to woo the puppy mill trade back, and so the "High Volume Breeders Committee" was created. This was the old puppy mill business with a new (and not too transparent) name.
- The first meeting of the High Volume Breeders Committee was held in September 2001.
In her article, Gretchen Bernardi notes that since 2001, the AKC has not increased the inspection and investigation staff of high volume breeders, and has simply ignored eight of the nine committee members who sought to get the puppy millers to "raise the bar" and change their way of doing business.
Instead of trying to get the puppy mill world to change, the AKC has joined them. The American Kennel Club is now a platinum member of the Missouri Pet Breeders, the very organization which launched the boycott against it back in 2000.
In addition, notes Ms. Bernardi, the AKC has removed the “do not buy puppies from a pet shop” advice from its website.
Andrew Hunte, founder of the Hunte Corporation, the largest commercial puppy mill broker in the U.S. was invited to sit in the AKC box at Westminster.
Then, in 2005, the AKC entered into a contractual arrangement with Petland, the largest outlet for Hunte puppy mill dogs in the U.S.
This deal was only abandoned after a massive protest by dog owners, but the AKC continues to register puppy mill puppies, continues to register pet shop dogs, and continues to give discounts to high volume breeders.
And, of course, now there is a direct web link from the Hunte Corporation (supplier of pet store dogs) to the AKC's web site.
In August of 2007, the AKC unanimously passed a resolution “to direct management to aggressively pursue the registration of every AKC registerable dog and to actively welcome any breeder or owner who is willing to abide by all AKC rules, regulations, and policies.”
In short, do whatever it takes to make nice with the puppy millers. The AKC needs the money!
Ervin Raber, the fellow named in the ad above, runs the Buckeye Dog Auction at the Holmes County Amish Flea Market in Walnut Creek, Ohio.
The fact that he is a bundler for Hunte tells you everything you need to know about Hunte, and the fact that Hunte is in bed with the AKC tells you everything you need to know about the AKC.
To see where the Buckeye Dog Auction dogs come from, see these pictures of Holmes County dog breeders.
To find out when the next Buckeye Dog Auction is going to be, click here,