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Puppy Mills and The American Kennel Club: A Response to Readers Comments

When I told a friend who is very involved in the dog sport that I would be writing about AKC and the puppy mills she warned I would be opening a can of worms. Sure, I expected things to get a little heated, but I did not anticipate either the number or the vehemence of some comments that have been published. BIS Daily Friday 6-27-14  Obviously this is a subject that needs to be discussed.

Re-reading my article I find nothing I want to change, but perhaps a couple of responses are required. Here goes. First, the term “puppy mill” is not one I made up; it has been used for years to denote someone who breeds a lot of puppies. Google it and you will find “puppy mill facts,” “puppy mill rescue,” “puppy mill articles,” etc. The living conditions in puppy mills may vary, as in most other things, but regardless of hygiene and cleanliness my point is that puppies should never be mass produced or disposed of without a great deal of concern for their future homes, which obviously means NOT through pet stores.

To those who breed puppies for financial gain I have nothing to say beyond what I already wrote. If you tell me it’s possible for a commercial kennel to put the dogs’ well-being first I can only repeat that this is a contradiction in terms, since the definition of “commercial” is that financial aspects are what’s most important. (Wikipedia Dictionary: “Commercial” = “profit-oriented.”) I already listed some reasons that obviously would prevent a commercial kennel from turning a profit. Just hiring enough staff to provide the dogs with the amount of attention, affection and socialization they need would be prohibitive for anyone aiming at financial success. Also, no commercial business can afford to turn away customers willing to pay ready money for their “product,” the way serious hobby breeders do if they are not convinced a prospective owner would be a good match for the puppy. Show me a kennel that puts its dogs well-being first and I promise you this won’t be a commercial success! I’ll say it again, at the risk of incurring further wrath: If you love dogs you do not expect to make a financial profit from your breeding program.

Even if you breed dogs simply as a hobby you may have an occasional windfall from puppy sales, but this is never enough to pay off more than, at best, some basic expenses involved in keeping your dogs happy and healthy. Most of the large hobby kennels I know run at a substantial financial loss, year after year, and have to be supported by income from other sources to keep going. They are not commercial kennels, regardless of the number of dogs involved. In other words, what AKC calls a “high volume breeder” may not be the same as a “commercial” breeder, even though the expressions are often used interchangeably.

As I also said earlier, there is unfortunately no guarantee that all hobby breeders will take wonderful care of their dogs. We have all seen lamentable examples of the opposite. However, if you breed dogs because you love them, of course the chances are much greater that you will give them a good life than if you breed dogs with the primary aim of making money.

That’s why it’s fine to set out to make money from other activities in dogs; it’s when the live animals’ well-being is at stake that commercialism and dogs don’t mix.

Over Regulation and Restrictions

I have a lot of understanding for hobby breeders who are concerned about over-regulation and restrictions on their right to keep and raise dogs. That affects all those who are involved in the dog sport, including myself. However, I absolutely refuse to align myself with the commercial breeders for that reason. Rita Rice is right in her letter: it’s high time hobby breeders distanced themselves from the puppy mills. We have done a lousy job in informing society in general — and the rabid anti-breeding establishment in particular — that responsible hobby breeders perform a valuable service, providing the general public with puppies that are as as healthy and happy, as carefully raised and well socialized as reasonably possible — puppies that are extremely unlikely to end up in a shelter or on the street. We should be encouraged and supported for that.

There is a huge gulf between the commercial kennels and those who breed responsibly because they love dogs without expecting financial reward. We go to endless trouble to place our puppies in loving homes, follow them through the years and are willing to take them back if something goes wrong. It ought to be much better known than it is that there are people who breed dogs simply because they love doing it, even if it’s a financial sacrifice. That fact is not known by the general public, and society at large therefore feels a greater need to restrict our hobby activity than necessary.

It seems to me that this is where our — and AKC’s — real efforts should be instead of trying to defend ALL those who raise puppies, even those who are involved in a mass production that cannot possibly be good for either the dogs or their future owners.

Too Many Puppies?

It’s a separate problem that too many people who ought not to have a dog want one. The puppy breeding “industry” has an inherent interest in as many people buying puppies as possible, regardless of the consequences. The responsible breeder does not. Too many puppies are already sold to people who buy one on the spur of the moment without having the time, the facilities or even the long-term commitment to keep it, love it and take care of it for 10 or 15 years.

There’s not much most of us can do about that, but there is no reason — for us, or for AKC — to encourage the mass production of puppies that go to unsuitable homes. (Someone said it’s none of my business how they breed their dogs. Yes, it IS my business, and everybody else’s, too, how people raise dogs, if they are not kept physically and mentally comfortable.)

The AKC Commercial Breeders Department

One thing I admit to is being naive about AKC’s Commercial Breeders Department. I did not even know one existed, and I bet most other active fanciers don’t either. I tried the Search engine on AKC’s website without finding any information about it. I spoke to two people who are employed by AKC, both of whom had heard it existed but neither of whom had any idea what exactly it did. It seems AKC is not exactly trumpeting the existence a Commercial Breeders Department very loudly. While searching the AKC website, however, I came across the following recommendations for buying a puppy:

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase from a responsible breeder. In conjunction with the Online Breeder Classifieds, other online resources AKC recommends include:

AKC Parent Club Breeder Referral
Local Club Breeder Referral
Breed Rescue Groups

None of these resources are likely (to put it mildly) to recommend commercial kennels or pet shops. The Online Breeders Classified eligibility clause specifically states that Brokers, Pet Shops, Auctioneers and Flea Markets (!) are not allowed to list litters for sale on the AKC website. So why does AKC then support such outlets elsewhere? Isn’t it natural to assume, as most of us do (or did) that AKC is all about dogs as a hobby?

One letter writer includes the supposedly comforting note that “most” of the commerical breeders don’t treat their dogs as if they were livestock. That just about says it all…

Stop Criticizing AKC

To the person who says I should stop criticizing AKC and instead point to all the good they do: that’s what I do as often as I can. The AKC does many things extremely well, and there are many bright and passionate individuals involved on so many different levels that their support of an activity that most of us in the fancy despise is doubly surprising.

To those who question my background as a dog person, breeder and journalist: I have been a dog owner for 55 years and a breeder for more than 50, although I have never felt comfortable producing more than, on average, one litter per year. I am an FCI judge and was until recently an AKC judge and AKC delegate, but now focus on my present occupation as publisher of a specialist dog magazine (which AKC feels would constitute a conflict if I remained a judge or delegate). I have written about dogs for as long as I can remember, including a few award-winning books, and earned more professional recognition for my writing than I feel comfortable listing.

Thanks for the nice letters of support, both those published and those sent directly to me. Some of them express what I wanted to say with greater expertise than I coiuld ever hope to do. One email questions my assertion that the U.S. is the biggest producer of puppy mill puppies in the world; she is probably right in that e.g. Russia and China may have even more. Another email is from an AKC parent club official who would like to reprint my article in her club newsletter but is as yet “afraid” to do so.

Obviously the subject of AKC and the puppy mills is even more loaded than I thought it might be.

Written by

Bo Bengtson has been involved in dogs since the late 1950s and judged since the mid-1970s in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Japan, China and Russia. He has judged twice at Westminster, twice at Crufts and four times at the FCI World Show, as well as the U.S. national specialties for Scottish Deerhounds, Whippets, Greyhounds and Borzoi.
  • Tracy Wagner July 1, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Good, informative article. How about sending a copy to the TODAY show after that debacle news story they did? PETA & HSUS look like super hero’s and the AKC looked incompetent. I stand behind the AKC and it would be nice to set the story straight with these organizations as well as the public.

    • Jen Smith July 1, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      How in the world do you consider this an opposition piece to HSUS or those groups who intend to put a stop to ALL breeding — including those of us who consider ourselves “responsible”? Got it all backwards … this article plays STRAIGHT into HSUS’ favor. They would like nothing more than to see this piece hit mainstream media.

  • Carol Suggs July 1, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Dear Mr. Bengston,

    Thank you for your first article and for this one, which points out the reality of AKC’s Commercial Breeders Dept. No, you can’t find any mention of it on the AKC website. Nor, can you find any mention of David Roberts who used to be listed on the Gazette Secretary’s Page as the VP of Registration and Customer Service, but now works In the Commercial Breeders Dept.

    It is important that the Parent Clubs and all members of the fancy know that such a Department exists.

    Carol Suggs

  • Iva Kimmelman July 1, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    This latest article is even better than the first. Keep talking, writing and don’t back down. The fact that a person is “afraid” to publish your writing in the parent club newsletter is tragic. When will people realize they need to stand for something? Everyone seem to be afraid to say anything that will help our hobby in the long run. I am sick and tired of those who say they love dogs yet do nothing to help dogs unless it somehow helps them win in the show ring. The ring has long ago stopped being the place to choose breeding stock. With all the cosmetic fakery going on in so many breeds, no one actually knows “what” they are breeding to and bringing into their breeding program. Keep up the pressure Bo……..

  • Joe Chen July 1, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Thank you so much for the two very informative and thought-provoking articles on this subject. This is a highly relevant subject for most of us in the dog fancy world.

    After reading this last article, I think I have come upon a solution just in the nomenclature department. Lets use “Commercial Breeders” and “Non-Commercial Breeders” to make the differentiation.

    From all that I have observed and experienced in decades of involvement in different breeds, I agree that “responsible breeding” and “commercial breeding” are mutually exclusive.

    I believe that using my suggestion above makes the two situations very clear. How the AKC relates to Commercial Breeders is another matter.

  • Michele July 1, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Mr. Bengston, please email me privately as I would like to give you some background on the underlying problems and a forecast of what is to come. Your articles are a bit naive, I wish you had spoken first to those of us on the ground fighting to even keep our dogs, let alone continue to breed. I hope you take me up on my offer to give you more food for thought. Knowledge is essential.

  • m biehl July 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Very good subject. I’m glad someone is covering this and that you’re not afraid of the outlash. I’m part of an AKC all breed club. It took a bit of time for our delegate and I to get along since he’s an AKC delegate and been involved with AKC for longer than I’ve been alive probably. I on the other hand have no problem saying what I think of them, including breeding to a standard regardless of what other regressive traits are showing up (temperament issues, reduced working ability, health, etc) in some breeds.

  • Sherry Shivley July 1, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    I talk to people at shows all the time- The Number 1 comment? AKC is all about money. They no longer care about the dogs, the owners or the show breeders. AKC has become a puppy mill itself. If you breed them, send us money and we will register them. We don’t care if they are healthy and that you are undercutting the serious breeders. They do nothing to educate the public about “Ethical Breeders” so why do we even try. When your own Kennel Club screws you over, its time for a hard look at who is running it and why.
    The other reason people are not happy- Westminster has become a joke. Are you retiring soon? Great! You’re the Winner!! It doesn’t matter if you’re dog sucks!!! You came back for 10 years, so you deserve the win!! I am showing UKC. they appreciate me, my dog and what we stand for.

    • doug williams July 5, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      I wonder if Bo has ever heard the expression do what you love and the money will follow.
      As a small breeder who also breeds about one litter a year ( I wish I could do more because I LOVE doing it) I know that when there are 17 MILLION people looking for a new pet every year in the USA alone. Hobby breeders cannot fill that need.. I wish that they could. In my area you are limited to two dogs in your house.. one litter per year.. and over 300 dollars for an intact permit.plus 250 for a “breeding permit”. so not many people breed good dogs.. however we do have a huge underground “rescue” of dogs coming in from everywhere including hundreds of thousands from Mexico many sick and diseased and mostly underage..Pet stores and commercial breeders at least have the USDA standards and a return policy .. try that when you buy a dog in the Wal Mart parking lot for cash.
      On the other hand it seems Bo thinks that only the elite should own dogs.. poor person? no dog for you..sort of like the soup Nazi eh

  • Randie Blumhagen
    Randie July 1, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    I am sure no one expected a retraction from you Mr. Bengston. You are WAY too entrenched in fighting WITH the animal rights groups rather than against them. They believe their own rhetoric also.
    Your first biased, propaganda filled “story” was appalling enough, this is calculated.
    Again, let me offer my congratulations on a job well done, the anti-animal groups are applauding you for doing their work for them. I am embarrassed for those in the dog world that agree with you.

  • Stormy July 1, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    It’s always best to see and read articles, comments in context. For those who may not know, Here is the context for Mr. Bengston. http://images.akc.org/pdf/board_minutes/0314.pdf — see pages 3 & 4 The issues that Mr. Bengston are raising have been discussed in and out of the rings for years. For this to appear as a surprise is ridiculous on his part. But to follow the events surrounding him the last few months, not at all surprising to us now. Perhaps UKC will allow a judge to also own a commercial magazine. Let’s see if BISD will post this.

    • kayla
      kayla July 2, 2014 at 4:49 AM

      Hi Stormy, thank you for being part of the Best In Show Daily community and for writing. Bo has been quite open in his challenges to the AKC over the Judges Approval Process, writing two articles on the subject and it’s painful outcome. Bo is not alone in his desire to improve the Judges Approval process. It is a discussion taking place at all levels of the fancy. Multiple applicants have raised concerns about the process and are working for change to make it less expensive, less time consuming (as measured in decades) and more transparent. During his appeal process, Bo had an opportunity to purchase a publication he had founded which made him ineligible to judge for the AKC or to be a delegate. He has been effective in improving the Approval process for all future applicants. While not benefitting him directly, his efforts for more transparency should be applauded by anyone aspiring to be a Judge or that enters their dogs at AKC events. We think the AKC should rethink the occupations for both judging & for delegates to include media and would be like to hear our community’s thoughts on it. We believe had Bo not purchased the publication, he would have been approved for the balance of the Group. Many have expressed sadness that they can no longer present their dogs to Bo as they value his opinion as a true dog-man and expert in Hounds, especially his beloved Whippets.

      Here’s our comment to a post on our facebook wall from Florence Bleecher that included the March Board Meeting Minutes: “Bo wrote two articles on the Judges Approval process and his personal difficulties. As a result of his efforts, the blinded applications have been done away with. He did choose to return to an ineligible occupation and that has removed his ability to judge AKC shows. BISD believes he is exploring the AKC’s support for commercial breeders as a matter of conscience for him and is creating an opening for airing all sides of the issue. Apparently, there are longtime fanciers that were as unaware as he was. With discussion can come consensus and a direction for policy as all policy making has feedback loops.”

      Looking forward to more discussion. Thank you for all you’ve done to support purebreds, our rights to own and breed them.
      All the best, Kayla

  • Brian Carbone July 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Agree with Schipnut58. You really don’t have a clear understanding that the AR activists view ANYONE that breeds dogs as a puppy mill. Period.

    The effort that the AR activists are putting forth toward restrictive legislation to take away our rights is astounding.

    It’s time that you and the rest of the dog fancy take notice of what’s happening before we all lose our right to have our dogs.

    I know I have.

  • K July 1, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Dear Bo Bengtson,

    Yes lets distance ourselves from everyone you deem “unworthy”, and strive to shut them down. Lets pretend that we are the best and that if we get rid of the “unworthy” we will all be OKAY. Sunshine and rainbows, doesn’t it sound lovely?! At least until the animal rights come for you and me and everyone else who supports this “superior” breeder idea. Dogs will come to an end as long as people keep supporting these elitist views. Lets not really try to fix the problem lets sweep it under a rug.

    The American Kennel Club has more integrity then you ever will have. They are taking the high road and trying to help commercial breeders from within! Not only giving them support in legal battles, but in the health and wellness of dogs, promoting a message to the public that AKC cares about the health and wellness of ALL dogs. Not just the ones that you Bo, deem worthy. They are the true dogs champion! I don’t know of any other kennel club in the world that does more for all dogs then the AKC. What a great club we have here in America, one strong enough to unite all breeders and even rescues to do better for the dogs! I am more then glad AKC doesn’t give into the elitist pressures that not only make us look rude and stuck up but also as if we only care for the dogs we deem worthy. It takes a real Dogs Champion to really work at fixing the problem from within, with care, support and a wealth of knowledgeable people in dog care. So rather then sweep the problem under the rug as you and some others wish to do, I prefer to stick by AKC to create a better world for all dogs.

    P.S. the best dog my family ever got was bought at a pet store, she lived to be almost 20 years old. I use to believe the same as you, but then I did my research lost my elitist attitude and stand at the forefront of the fight against animal rights terror and lies.

  • Dorothy Kendall July 1, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    You overlook one important point; how can anyone who breeds one litter a year possibly make a difference in any breed? I no longer breed dogs because of the rabid anti-breeder activists who abound in this country, but I have produced over 200 champions in three breeds. This was possible because I raised many litters, followed sound line-breeding principles, cared for my dogs properly and placed them in good homes. One litter a year? Don’t make me laugh …

  • Randie Blumhagen
    Randie July 1, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    I am sure no one expected a retraction from you Mr. Bengston. You are WAY too entrenched in fighting WITH the animal rights groups rather than against them. They believe their own rhetoric also.
    Your first biased, propaganda filled “story” was appalling enough, this is calculated.
    Again, let me offer my congratulations on a job well done, the anti-animal groups are applauding you for doing their work for them. I am embarrassed for those in the dog world that agree with you.

  • Carol Suggs July 2, 2014 at 4:17 AM

    It is plain to see the Commercial Breeders are expressing their self serving opinions once again.

    When the Parent Clubs and members of the fancy see the AKC fighting a Bill that limits a breeder to 50 intact bitches, it is time for them to stand up and say, this is not what I believe is right. You are using my money to fight something that is contrary to what I stand for.

    In a perfect world Commercial Breeders would be breeding healthy, happy puppies and every dog they registered with the AKC would be a purebred, they aren’t. The
    Commercial Breeders are aided in their deception by AKC’s Administrative Research Registration service, ARR. The ARR pedigrees are so full of fantasy that Disney would be impressed. Sires that are 21/2 months older than their offspring, stolen identities, dogs that have been previously removed from the AKC Registry, dogs whose Registration number is lower than that of their sire and dam,

    You can read about this service by going to: http://www.akc.org and typing Administrative Research Registration into Search.

    • elaine July 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      I don’t think there are a lot of “commercial breeders” even reading these articles, much less posting comments to “protect their interests.” The people trying to educate the author and those who agree with him are “hobby breeders” who actually understand that ALL dog breeders are under attack, and being a “hobby breeder” is not going to exempt you. We are all targets of the animal rights agitators who want to sever humans from all ownership and other uses of animals.
      You are incensed that AKC is using “your money” to encourage commercial breeders to care for and breed their dogs with the same commitment to their well-being that you have. Let’s do some basic math: if hobby breeders are breeding 1-2 litters a year and registering them with AKC, and commercial breeders are breeding dozens of litters a year and registering them with AKC, just whose money is it that is supporting AKC breeder education and public education programs? “We” don’t outnumber “them” in quantities that will result in our occasional litters outumbering theirs. Be assured that AKC’s registration income is NOT primarily from “hobby breeders.” AKC no longer publishes the kind of registration data it used to, but over the years it did, AKC said that registrations from “the fancy” ranged from 4% up to 8% of litters registered over X years. I would document this fact if I could, but it is no longer made available; however, it made such an impression on me that I have not forgotten it. I can’t date the factoid either, but it’s likely it reflected data from the first 10 years or so after AKC computerized registration records. Tell me again: whose money is it that AKC uses to support improvements in the practices of dog breeders? And BTW, it isn’t using the income it derives from your entry fees, either. AKC competition events (all of them) are subsidized by registration dollars.
      It would take me the rest of the afternoon to explain what I believe is wrong with the condemnation of commercial dog breeding, and I have to carve a show dog out of a pile of hair resting at my feet. Others who have commented in that vein have covered most of what I would say, so I’ll stop here and spend some time with my own dogs.

  • Sue MacMillan July 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Thank you Bo, for having the courage to say what so many of us think. I too do not want to play on the same team as commercial breeders. It should not be All Breeders vs Animal Rights and Government Regulations. I don’t want to be on the All Breeders Team. I want to be part of a Responsible Breeders Team. We need to get involved.

  • C Zimmer July 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Well Bo, you are seriously misguided. Depending on the State that you live in, your Department of Agriculture will determine by the number of intact bitches, if you are a hobby breeder or commercial. This is simply a means for them to determine if you will need a license through them or not. It does not in any way reflect how that breeder takes care of their dogs, or whether they show, or whether they turn away possible customers who do not seem to have a clue about that particular breed’s needs are, or whether that breeder breeds to a high standard and/or health tests their stock, or if that breeder is a smart business owner and can balance making a profit with doing something that brings them great joy and they are passionate about. You have drawn conclusions from thin air, it is clear that you do not know or associate with those who are “commercial breeders”. (They have “cooties”.) Therefore you have no real knowledge and no way to verify that your opinions have any basis in truth. The new USDA rules will now classify all breeders that ship puppies by cargo (sold site-unseen) and who have four intact bitches (from 3 months old and up) as a COMMERCIAL BREEDER. That seems like it will include YOU. You may wonder how I know that your opinions are based on media fluff. The reasons are: I live in Missouri and have a kennel, and I am licensed and inspected by the Missouri Department of Ag, I am considered “commercial” due to the fact that I have more than 10 intact bitches over the age of 6 months (state regulations) , I do show with several registries and I do health test my stock, I also have turned away perspective pet owners when they seem clueless about my breed and/or the person is not what I deem trainable, and I do make a profit doing something I love! I am very good at what I do and frankly, no one decides one day to raise dogs because they are going to be rich. But it is not a crime to raise a profit either. That profit allows me to walk into my vet’s office and say “Do whatever it takes to make my dog better” because I CAN AFFORD the services rendered. I can afford to buy expensive foods, and toys, and doggie beds, and pretty much anything else my dogs could want. Anyone who has raised one single litter, knows there is a lot of work, gut wrenching nerves, and sometimes heartache involved. And that’s just getting through the delivery. Most breeders love their dogs more than people and will tell you that they want nothing more than to hang out in their kennel, just being with their dogs. I find it so sad that people like you feel that you have to “judge” others for being different, as if your flawed opinion is the only one to have, as if your way somehow makes you superior to others. Just another FYI, of the about 800 licensed kennels in the State of Missouri, there is just over 200 are kennels that have JUST 10 intact female dogs and these kennels are still considered “commercial” ( as of June 2014).

  • Bo Bengtson July 2, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Thanks for the posted comment by the BIS Daily publisher. May I add that I was in fact approved to judge the entire Hound Group at the February AKC Board meeting, following an appeals hearing at the AKC office in New York that was both civilized and cordial. If I had wanted to continue judging AKC shows I would have left it at that, but I had already decided to return to publishing after proving my point. It is regrettable that you can’t judge and publish dog magazines at the same time, but it’s obviously impossible, at least in the U.S.

    It was when my attorney informed AKC that I had purchased Sighthound Review and inquired what the proper procedure would be that they decided I was ineligible. We had investigated the rules carefully beforehand to make sure I was not doing anything improper. There is no rule that prohibits an AKC judge from owning a publication, and if I had realized that AKC – which is usually such a stickler for everyone following the letter of their law – would disregard their own rules I would simply have waited until after the Board meeting to purchase the magazine. As it was, they would not let me resign as planned. I can see no sensible reason they would not let me do that; the end result would be the same.

    Not sure what this has to do with the subject in hand, or why it’s so controversial to feel AKC has no business supporting the commercial mass producers of puppies. Lots of people in the fancy are shocked by that, and since even AKC’s own website prohibits puppy brokers and pet shops from advertising their puppies there it sends rather a mixed message, doesn’t it?

    Thanks for allowing me to make this clarification.

  • Pat Burgee July 2, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    You have pointed to an essential contradiction that pollutes the dog show world and has caused me deep distress.I have always had great respect for the AKC.It does a remarkable job keeping the dog show system afloat, especially considering that it exists in a climate frustratingly complex both financially and culturally. But that they are willing to participate in anyway with puppy mills is a permanent stain on their reputation.Worse yet,it feeds right into the Peta agenda,leaving us all vulnerable. If the only way to keep the AKC solvent is to continue registering puppy mill dogs then it is time to rethink the whole situation.

  • Robin Sheets July 3, 2014 at 5:18 AM

    Mr. Bengston!
    1 litter a year , seriously! That does not qualify you to write an article such as this. I fully support AKC and its efforts to protect the dog breeders and the pet owners right to own pets. You are truly in the folds of HSUS. You do not have a clue how much heart , soul, hard work, and money most breeders put into their breeding programs, to ensure they have good blood lines , that they have healthy dogs and puppies. Some of them invest time and money to show their dogs, they are constantly getting educated thru programs out there that are offered to them to keep improving their breeding programs.
    Most are regulate by their state, and USDA to ensure that their animals are properly taken care of. As for the Hobby Breeders out there that think they are safe from the AR’S , they are in for a rude awakening, Because it is the goal of HSUS and all the other AR organizations out there to destroy the pet industry as a whole and pet ownership. So the next time you are out walking your dog be thankful for that time and appreciate it, because one day if the AR’s win that will no longer be an option .

    • Iva Kimmelman
      Iva Kimmelman July 4, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      And another thing…….In CASE no one is paying attention, the show world is shrinking at an alarming rate. AKC BOD needs to WAKE up. Hopefully it isn’t too late.
      What is it, 50% drop off from a decade ago? Maybe more.
      I feel true empathy for the employees of AKC, especially the reps and the people who remember what it used to be. They are the good guys in this mess.
      Good dog people, good breeders are fed up and leaving the hobby.
      I am one of them.
      Right now the Backers and the Pro Handlers have a strangle hold on this hobby and something needs to change.
      Anyone who wonders why the AR zealots are making headway, the reason is that the AKC is looking in the wrong direction about what to do.

  • Carol Suggs July 3, 2014 at 5:28 AM

    I would like to relate a story with a positive outcome. The Norwich Terrier Club of America (before that the NNTC) has been working for almost a decade to remove non purebred Norwich from the Registry. These dogs were bred by Eastern European and Commercial Breeders in the US. When the Wisdom Panel Test became available we began working with Mars. After testing close to 100 dogs, we were able to prove that wherever in the world a Norwich Terrier was bred, the Wisdom Panel would recognize it as a purebred Norwich Terrier.

    A gentleman who had foolishly purchased a “Norwich” puppy on line, soon discovered his puppy was not a Norwich Terrier. He used the Wisdom Panel and then sent the results along with a letter of complaint to his credit card company.

    Discover card refunded his $1500 and went after the seller for their money.

    Carol Suggs
    Registry Integrity Committee

  • Karen Tormey July 4, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    For all of you who remain concerned about being associated with commercial breeders and “puppy mills”, breeding dogs is similar to freedom of speech. There is much speech I personally find obscene and offensive. However, when those individuals lose their right to speak, I, too, lose my right to speak. There may be breeding practices I do not view favorably, but if I do not fight vigorously for their rights, I am in eminent danger of losing my rights to breed. Thus, I need to support commercial breeders, backyard breeders and yes, even parents who breed a litter so their children can see the miracle of birth. They all have their place. Without opposition, there would be no appreciation of the higher quality of conformational breeding. As far a negligent breeding and abusive care of our beloved canine friends, there are already laws on the books to address these offenders.

  • Iva Kimmelman
    Iva Kimmelman July 4, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    A comment from Best In Show Daily: typically, our articles do not cleave our community into two distinct camps. When Bo wrote his columns, he did not anticipate a great schism. Iva’s comment is full of passion and she does not intend for anyone to undertake any criminal acts nor is she suggesting that she will. We’ll leave her comments unedited with the notion that our audience will understand they were meant to illustrate her level of frustration but not her intention.

    To anyone who is critical of Bo Bengtson, I suggest YOU educate yourself about HIM. Seriously, have any of his critics read his books? No one, NO one is more fair across the board than this author. He is a historian and honest to all get out. He needs no introduction to the real world of dogs, he sees both sides of EVERYTHING from the breeder to the AR circle and it will benefit us all if we just move forward and continue this fight to protect our rights to breed and own dogs and get the AKC and any other “power” in dogs to cut the BS and do the honest thing, finally. Attacking his words is stupid, because this isn’t about his opinions. This is about FACTS.

    I think the AKC should be burned to the ground and rebuilt. They currently have about 4 employees manning the offices and get approximately 25,000 emails a day. And these people are not even “dog people”. The AKC board is full of stick in the muds who haven’t been to a dog show, or exhibited or bred a litter in 20 years. Like I said, torch it and start over!

    I am positive the men who created the dog show “idea” to exhibit potential breeding stock are spinning in their graves at what the show world has become: Pro Handlers who only care about $$$$$ and will do anything to win; Big Money Backers who know nothing about dogs and just want to spend their money for their ego; Judging approval that does nothing to shape the future of the breeds and needs to go back to BREEDERS, not handlers as a base. Sincerely, Iva

  • Candace Nagle January 17, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    In less than two months, over 6,600 people have signed the petition to the American Kennel Club to Limit Registration of Dogs Sold At Auction. Here’s a link to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/american-kennel-club-limit-registration-of-dogs-sold-at-auction?recruiter=10939371&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition
    Just in December and January, 36 AKC breeds will have gone to auction. No breed is safe. Here is the Heartland Auction catalogue of the Jan. 17 2015 auction: http://www.auctionflex.com/showlots.ap?co=4902&weid=53150&weiid=0&archive=n&lso=lotnumasc&pagenum=1&lang=En It’s time for the AKC to limit registration of dogs sold at auction for the betterment of the breed!

  • Chris Ksoll September 11, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Thank you for writing this. You are correct in all you say. It will require those who have the courage to address what is wrong, to make things truly better for our dogs. As the Executive Producer of the new documentary “Dog By Dog” I can tell you that the full money trail of puppy mills is much more complex. Essentially, any help for the mill dogs is being blocked, through secret PAC’s and groups. The AKC has a role, but it is not alone. All of the participants are presented in our documentary. We also allowed every one presented in the money chain, to have the opportunity to present their point of view in the film. Our film is not anti-responsible breeder. But all of the facts are there, and they align with your analysis as well. Again, thank you.

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