From the Editor

Harnessing the power of cooperation


These are stressful times for dog fanciers. What with restrictive legislation popping up everywhere around the country and animal-rights extremists portraying breeders as villains, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, burned out, frustrated and even downright helpless. All the more reason to encourage a gathering of knowledgeable and experienced dog people coming from diverse backgrounds to pool our information and learn from one another.

This column is being written upon my return from one such event, the 2007 United States Canine Registries Conference held in Las Vegas on November 14–15.

The threat against our right to enjoy purebred dogs brought together dog registries from all over the country, including (year of establishment in parentheses) the American Dog Breeders Association (1909), American Dog Owners Assocation (1970), American Field/Field Dog Stud Book (1874), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (1954), Masters of Foxhounds Association of America (1907), and the United Kennel Club (1898) … several hundred years of dedication and tradition that ought to impress anyone.

Two days of dynamic speakers included Lt. Col. Dennis J. Foster (US Army Ret.) of the Masters of Foxhounds Association; Eddie Dziuk, Chief Operating Officer of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA); Patti Strand, cofounder and National Director of the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA); and Eric V. Johnston, Senior Manager, Operations, of MMI Genomics, Inc.

Since the United States Canine Registries is in its infancy – this was only its second meeting – it was especially impressive to look around the room and see the lawyers, lobbyists, parent-club delegates, veterinarians and other heavy-hitters in the audience. As Dennis Foster put it so succinctly: the issue is not dogs, the issue is not horses, the issue is freedom. We may not all own American Pit Bull Terriers or hunt to the hounds or breed dogs that have traditionally had their tails docked and ears cropped, but it’s essential we support one another, putting aside our personal differences to concentrate on our common concerns.

Kudos to the organizers for providing a venue where this passionate, diverse, well-informed group could meet, harness their energy and brainstorm. A full report on the conference will follow in a later issue of Dog World.


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