Fri, 07/05/2024 - 9:11pm

Editorial: July 5, 2024

Term limits rejected … again

For the second time in two years, the American Kennel Club board of directors has tried to push through a vote by the delegate body to eliminate term limits for board members. Much to the credit of the delegate body, it was soundly defeated. At one time the delegate body was sadly the ultimate ole-boys club, made up of like-minded elders who ran the kennel club with an iron fist. Not much changed over those decades, and there was frustration by the fancy for dragging their feet with regard to any major change. Member clubs elected or appointed delegates who could pay their own way, even if the club could afford it, to New York for the meetings. Some delegates never even attended the shows that they represented. That’s true even today. But social gatherings or not, the delegates meetings were day-long affairs. Decades past, woman were allowed to become delegates, and ever so slowly the whole identify of the delegate body changed. As did the board of directors, as a result of woman delegates. As those elders retired from their delegate positions, younger and less experienced dog breeders and exhibitors were becoming commonplace in the delegate body. Then came the introduction of delegate committees, modeled after our federal government. These committees, hosted by an American Kennel Club employee, meet on the Monday preceding the Tuesday delegates meeting. A stipend is now paid to the delegates for attending these committee meetings, and the Tuesday delegates meeting has morphed into an attendance-taking exercise, old and new business with the meetings adjourning before noon and the dreaded rubber-chicken luncheon. As it was an amateur sport, no one — even those in good standing — could become a delegate if their income was earned from purebred dogs. (Of course there were some exceptions.) This left out a large portion of breeders, handlers, judges and the like. Recently the delegates voted, much to the surprise of many, to open up the delegate body to those who do earn their living from purebred dogs. One would have thought that the floodgates would open and that judges, handlers and others would chomp at the bit to become delegates. Who better to know the dog-show scene and problems faced in today’s dog-show experience — issues such as public awareness of the American Kennel Club and proliferation of dog shows — than those who are out there weekend in and weekend out? Eliminating term limits for the board of directors only aids the members of that body. So, bravo, delegates, for voting that down. We need new and varied delegates for a fresh approach and input, and to address the issues of today. 



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