American Kennel Club President and CEO Dennis Sprung and Chairman Alan Kalter recently sent the letter below to the president of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), Rafael de Santiago, in response to the international organization allowing Russia to host the 2016 World Dog Show:
One of the most compelling aspects of the human-canine bond – cherished internationally more than ever before – is the fact that our dogs love us unconditionally. Dogs do not discriminate. Gender, race, sexual orientation and other status do not enter the equation of responsible pet ownership. That is why the American Kennel Club and our constituency are puzzled and disappointed by the decision to allow Russia to host the 2016 World Dog Show. The proliferation of anti-gay and lesbian laws in Russia today is both disturbing and shocking to our community. The choice of this country as a venue for such a prestigious dog show flies in the face of the ideals of the human-canine bond.
On behalf of the American Kennel Club, our member clubs, and the American purebred dog fancy, we urge you to move the 2016 World Dog Show from Russia to a nation that respects and upholds human rights for all its citizens. The international dog community deserves to enjoy the World Dog Show in a place that stands for freedom and equal rights for all. AKC cannot and will not support participation in the 2016 World Dog Show if it is held in Russia.
As exhibitors, breeders, handlers and trainers, we teach our dogs many things. But there is no denying, they teach us too. Our bond with dogs is not defined by the type of person who holds the leash. We cannot support competition in an environment where tolerance does not exist.
Alan T. Kalter, Chairman of the Board
Dennis B. Sprung, President and CEO