So much is happening in the sport right now, in addition to what goes on at dog shows, that it has my head spinning. It is my job to stay informed of what goes on in the sport, at the American Kennel Club, and in the world of dogs in general, but this past month I found myself struggling to sort through a lot of seemingly contrary, often inflammatory and seldom clear information about current happenings at AKC. If I can’t easily access solid, factual information, how can others in the sport who have far less time to devote to ferreting out the truth? Those who have devoted much of their lives to this sport deserve to be informed. So although it is not easy to get straight answers, DR is attempting to clarify current events at AKC in this and the next few issues by bringing you factual information and intelligent dialogue.
There are a number of people on staff at the American Kennel Club who have long-term experience in the sport. We’re fortunate that they bring their knowledge and experience to AKC. It is also crucial to a positive outcome for the future of AKC that the voices of other experienced dog people are heard. Four of these people have contributed their views in this issue.
Dr. Patty Haines has not only served time as a successful breeder, exhibitor, active club member, delegate and AKC Board member, she is also a practicing veterinarian, which gives her a unique perspective into the mindset and the needs of today’s pet owner. She has valid concerns about recent implementations and proposals at AKC, and offers worthwhile suggestions that would allow AKC to respond to current deficiencies, better serve the burgeoning pet dog market, and also stay true to what has been called its core constituency, the hobby breeder and exhibitor.
AKC Delegate Gretchen Bernardi is another invaluable source of information and ideas, with more than 30 years of experience in monitoring and covering the animal rights movement in addition to her experience as a breeder, judge, active club member and delegate. These two women are among the most informed minds we have in this sport. They have contributed their views of the new registration program and the proposed Mixed Breeds program as well as other dialogue pertinent to current activity at AKC, beginning on page 66. Following their comments AKC Director Nina Schaefer contributed what I believe is the overriding AKC stance on the new registration research service, as well as her views on the two other subjects we asked about. AKC Vice Chairman David Merriam sent DR his views on the Mixed Breed proposal, which you’ll find on page 22 of this issue. In addition, DR’s Bo Bengtson weighs in on all of these topics and more in his column on page 14.
With the exception of anti-dog legislation and the animal rights movement, I don’t know that there are many topics of more importance to our sport today than those we’re covering in this issue. Indeed, the subjects discussed in this issue relate in many ways to legislation and animal rights. It is of the utmost importance that we listen to these voices, ask more questions, and keep ourselves informed.
Christi McDonald, Editor
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