Harrisburg KC photos by Perry Phillips
To Jeff Pepper's great credit, he had the following letter posted on the AKC Parent Club site:
I have just received a letter from Pedigree and the American Humane Association offering $2,000 towards our breed rescue fund. From the letter, I gather that all parent clubs are receiving the same letter. Not surprisingly, there are strings attached to the donation. First, the parent club must apply to become a member of American Humane and pay the $59 fee to join (another windfall for them). Second, and perhaps more importantly, in order to receive the donation, the receiving organization (a rescue associated with the parent club or the parent club itself) must agree to publicize the gift in the local media, to promote the receipt of the gift in interviews or media opportunities, to send a copy of the news release sent by the organization to American Humane, to give credit to American Humane on the organization's Web site, and perhaps most importantly of all, to write an article describing the specific uses to which the funds are used and to allow American Humane to use the article and relevant photos you provide in a “grant to American Humane (of) the unlimited right to use these stories and photographs… in its various publicity, PR and fundraising materials, in any and all media formats. In addition, you grant American Humane the right to name your breed group as the recipient of the grant and connect your breed group's name with your particular story or article.”
I confess to having some concerns about allowing American Humane to freely advertise its connection to PBGVCA or any specific breed, as I am unsure as to their status as an animal rights organization, rather than strictly as an animal welfare group. Do any of you share my concern or do you feel that PBGVCA should not have any concerns about signing this document? Please share your thoughts on this.
For Pedigree to be part of this solicitation is insulting to every parent club contacted. Quite frankly, I am speechless at the audacity of the terms outlined for receiving this $2,000 gift. As far as I am concerned, I would tell both Pedigree and American Humane to take their money and put it “where the sun don't shine.” As for wearing Pedigree armbands at dog shows, forget that too! Make up your own armband before you wear something promoting that food company, that's for sure.
By now most readers are aware of the latest California attempt to punish reasonable and responsible dog owners by requiring an across-the-board neutering and spaying of all cats and dogs, with a very precious few exceptions. Euphemistically labeled the “California Healthy Pet Act,” it is anything but that. Its sponsor, Lloyd Levin, has been led astray in his efforts to help reduce the “pet overpopulation” in that state. The hearing of April 10 failed to produce a vote, probably because the promoters of the bill realized that they did not have the vote to carry the proposal further along. A new hearing is scheduled for April 24! While the number of people attending the hearing seemed to be equally divided between supporters and opponents of the bill, I am told thatthe supporters' representatives were very professionally prepared, whilst those on our side were not. If we are serious in our efforts to doom this bill at this low level, it behooves AKC and others to have strong professional representatives there in attendance. Sitting back and waiting for this kind of bill to go to the next level is too dangerous a thing to contemplate. This bill must be nipped in the bud with the help from AKC personnel on the highest levels working with their California counterparts.
Last year saw at least a 10 percent turnover in Delegate seats. There are close to 600 member clubs with Delegates. Forget about the attendance records of certain people; the fact is that between 50 and 60 new Delegates are appointed by their clubs each year. And 2007 looks to be an even higher year in the number of turnovers. Seventeen new Delegates were announced in April alone! If memory serves me correctly, that makes at least 30 new Delegates in four months in 2007! What's going on here? No wonder the gene pool for Board members gets smaller each election. Those who stay around represent a hard core of divided representatives,with new people not staying long enough to become seasoned. These turnovers make it impossible to develop Delegates who may have the credentials to serve on AKC's Board. Additionally, they fail to gain peer recognition which gives them the ability to unseat an incumbent. Furthermore, last March's election produced the largest turnout of Delegates, I am told, in AKC's history. Some 407 people turned up. What happened, though, to the other 200 Delegates?What about their clubs' representation? Again, I am told that there is a large segment of Delegates who attend but one meeting a year-the election meeting. If these figures don't raise a red flag to you and force you to ask yourself whether, indeed, there should be a rethinking of both the need for and the make-up of the Delegate Body, I suppose nothing will.
Most of you who read my column know how firmly set I am against term limits for elected officials. Lest we forget, the passage of the Board term limits was by ONE vote—and this was, as per usual, an unrecorded vote. It was based upon a stand-up counted vote tally. What a way to change a By-Law! With the election of 2009 being the first where all sitting Delegates up for re-election are ineligible to run, four seats will be open. With the state of flux created by the massive Delegate turnovers, combined with a process which discourages rather than encourages development of sitting Delegate, tell me in 2009 FOUR NEW QUALIFIED PEOPLE are going to magically appear. In the past, it's been difficult to fill one new person — four is a virtual impossibility. •