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Pass this on!

Hard copy of the following letter was mailed on the 3rd.

PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

Walt Hutchens
=============================================
March 3, 2004
Mr. Dennis B. Sprung,
President,
The American Kennel Club
260 Madison Ave,
New York, NY 10016

Dear President Sprung:

What the Hell is going on there?

The purebred dog fancy is on its way into the history books, yet the
AKC is still doing 'business as usual.' There's not just no sign of
urgency in our only major organization's response to the 'animal
rights' onslaught, there's barely a sign that you know it's happening.

Ten years, that's what I tell my fellow fanciers. "No need to buy
show or dog sport equipment that will last longer than ten years,
because the whole works will be gone by then."

One area of our country after another is being placed under severe
breeding restrictions, yet the shows go on as usual. December 4-7,
2003 the Burbank, Shoreline, Los Encinos, and Long Beach Kennel
Clubs sanctioned shows were held at the Long Beach, California
Convention Center. Here are a few words from the Long Beach
Municipal Code:

'6.16.190 Dog breeding prohibited.
No person, as principal, agent or otherwise, shall establish or
maintain any dog kennel for breeding purposes, keep any dog for
breeding purposes, or breed any dog in the city.

What are you thinking, sanctioning shows justified by the need to
evaluate breeding stock, in locations that forbid breeding? I note
that the Newfoundland Club of America and the Alaskan Malamute
Club of America recently held their National Specialties at the
National Western Stock Show Building, Denver Colorado. Denver
County also forbids the breeding of dogs.

Dozens of locations around the country either forbid breeding or so
restrict it as to make lawful breeding impractical. The AKC is doing
business as usual in all of those places. Do you even have a
comprehensive list? I can offer a shortcut to building one:

http://www.helpinganimals.com/t-lawspayord.html

Notice the name in the upper right corner of that web page. The
'animal rights' movement knows what they've accomplished. One
action that's not on there is the definition in various California
localities of dog breeding as 'manufacturing' and thus permitted only
where so zoned.

Here's a snip from a current proposal by the North Carolina House
Interim Committee on the Prevention and Disposition of Unwanted
And Abandoned Companion Animals:

1. Spay & Neuter All Cats and Dogs -- Require companion animals
to be spay or neutered by 6 months w/ medical condition exception.
Owners of unaltered animals have breeder permit - minor breeder
permit (one unaltered animal) or major breeder permit (more than one
unaltered animal). Breeder permit # must be displayed and given to
buyers. Fine for noncompliance. [sic]

Elsewhere in the proposals it's clear that this will be a breeder's
license requiring inspections, record keeping, and reports. Unless
we succeed in stopping it, this will become law in the short session
of the North Carolina legislature beginning in May. Does the AKC
care if the state in which its Operations Center is located makes it
impractical to breed dogs?

These proposals have been cropping up all over the country. We
beat one in Virginia this year, ditto in Illinois, probably beat the one in
Wisconsin. A back door approach to the same in New Mexico
appears dead. We've acted against local measures in Lane County,
Oregon and Austin Texas; no word on the outcomes there.
Fanciers in your state are mobilizing and I think there's reasonable
hope that we'll win there. Florida folks are getting together to fight
local ordinances that would apply the federal AWA to hobby breeders
who have over two litters per year in Palm Beach and Jacksonville
Counties.

We have been fighting alone, we are not winning all the battles, and
most of this year's wins will be refought next year. Dear AKC: This
is your fight too. 'Doglaw' is nice but it is about 5% of what you
should be doing. Dear AKC: *If breeding is forbidden, then we don't
need a registry.*

1. Raise your prices, kill off non-paying activities, and prepare to
spend whatever it takes. This is literal life or death for our hobby and
your organization; emergency measures are justified. Some
fanciers, and member clubs will scream. If nobody's mad at you,
you're not doing enough.

2. Appoint a Vice-President for Fancier Rights with sufficient staff to
do more than toss out an occasional legislative alert. Twenty
people? More? You need a couple of attorneys (at least one each
with litigation and legislation drafting experience), some paralegals,
some people with on-the-statehouse-floor or local lobbying
experience, writers, marketing skills, people with 'citizen action'
experience passing and defeating laws.

3. Establish a date certain after which sanctioned shows may not
be held in localities that substantially restrict the right to breed.
Fanciers in these localities must act to repeal these laws but they're
all in noncompliance; no one will step forward due to perfectly
reasonable fears of being targeted for enforcement. You need to give
entire clubs and those fanciers who attend their shows a motive for
united action and their show venues something to lose from their
restrictions. I suggest January 1, 2006 for the date. I further
suggest that after a later date -- say January 1, 2008-- no litter
registrations be accepted from localities where breeding is forbidden.

Note also what DDAL tried to do with regard to home breeding and
the AWA: Places like Long Beach are one 'failure to enforce' lawsuit
away from the end of their sport. It's nearly universal for 'animal
rights' activists in such areas to have lists of breeders compiled from
AKC referral sources, advertising, kennel club web sites, and the
like; when enforcement is contemplated such lists are both handed
over to authorities and used for harassment.

4. Plan and carry out a comprehensive counterattack on breeding
restrictions and related fancier rights. This should include:

A. Analysis -- we need to know what's going on and what it means.
Give us a public data base of laws, bills, and proposals. Mandatory
spay/neuter laws have failed in (probably) a couple of dozen
localities yet 'animal rights' supporters still propose them.
'Outcomes' data should be collected and a report prepared for
distribution to officials considering such measures.

B. Legislative defense. In theory preventing bad laws is primarily the
job of state federations but as I'm sure you know most of them are
worthless. Will you continue hoping informal leadership will appear
when needed or will you find another way?

C. Legislative offense. Where rights are restricted without a valid
public purpose, we need to remove the restrictions. *You do know
that breeding restrictions don't work to reduce shelter euthanasias,
right? That they will in many cases increase euthanasias?*

D. Litigation. In far too many cases around the country, untrained,
incompetent, and corrupt animal control authorities supported by
vague or unconstitutional laws are violating the rights of citizens to
due process, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and
freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Individual dog fanciers
rarely have the money or knowledge to defend themselves and many
respond by going into hiding. Defending citizens rights vigorously in
even a few of these cases would help end the abuse.

(Examples of abuses: Trumped-up or minor violations used as
justification for seizure and impoundment at owners expense of all
animals and often all records (your computer) as well, without court
order or humanitarian need. Licensing laws written as though in-
home hobby breeding was subject to pervasive regulation; a legal
theory that is without justification. Laws simply 'invented' to serve a
perceived animal control need, for example telling citizens that a
locality has a pet limit law although no such law exists. Laws that
permanently bar shelter adoptions following any neglect conviction.
Badly written animal cruelty laws used to punish the unpopular: In
Augusta Cty, VA vs. Coleman, a man was convicted of a cruelty
felony for a clean-kill shooting of a dog creating a post-midnight
disturbance in his yard.

(While many animal control officers are excellent, there are far too
many exceptions. States have steadily handed them laws with more
complex and higher standards of care, and increased powers --
including in some cases no-warrant searches and the ability to bring
felony charges -- but qualifications, training, and supervision remain
what they were in the 'dog catcher' days. In some areas, ACOs are
well on their way to becoming America's equivalent of Hitler's Brown
Shirts.)

E. Model laws. It's tough to find even one well written dog law and
frankly it's tough doing the search without legal training. So give us
models we can hand to our legislators. We need basic care laws,
cruelty laws, animal control powers laws. Right now it all comes
from HSUS.

5. Provide leadership. Local people must do most of the work
because many hands are needed, we know our legislators, we vote,
and this really is our fight before it's yours. But many of us don't yet
see the problem and few indeed know what to do or how to do it. A
few hands-on leaders able to participate on e-mail lists and coach us
on citizen action to change laws could make a huge difference. You
should sponsor workshops to teach these skills.

6. Give us marketing/education programs and materials. Not just
promoting responsible ownership but exposing the fraud of
mandatory spay/neuter laws for officials, helping them learn how to
understand and resolve euthanasia rate questions, providing courses
and training materials for animal control officers. You may say that
these are not your problems, but HSUS and PETA are active in all
such areas -- increasingly they *own* the ACOs. Even when we do
get good laws passed, they are likely to mean what the people who
enforce them say they mean.

You bet I'm mad. Large and small organizations openly promote a
no-breeding agenda. New anti-breeder and anti-dog laws pop up
every single day. When I visit your web site I read about initiatives
that don't matter a row of pins -- Companion Animal Recovery (do
you know how many dogs are illegally seized in a year because AC
officials can get away with it?), a poster sells well at the
AKC/Eukanuba Show in Long Beach (did you know that breeding
dogs is illegal there?) The AKC says nothing that matters and your
apologists say things like "They're a club of clubs," "The AKC is just
a registry," and "It takes time to make big changes."

Fiddlesticks. An organization that can't wake up in a genuine
emergency doesn't deserve to survive and if I were to make a
prediction today, that would be it -- an emaciated shadow in ten
years, no 140th birthday. Members of the fancy, and all American
dog owners deserve better than your current lethargy. *Dear AKC: If
breeding is forbidden, then we don't need a registry.*

Sincerely,

Walt Hutchens
Timbreblue Whippets
 

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Hi Betsy. Interesting article. I live in Chesterfield County, Virginia (a suburb of Richmond) and the legislation here is even sneakier.

It is illegal by county ordinance to own more than two dogs. This includes the rural areas of the county. Essentially, it would be impossible for a dog breeder to have a legal operation in our county. Heck, I would like to own more than two dogs, as there are four people in our family and every lap deserves it's own dog. Animal control is allowed to confiscate ALL your dogs if you are found in possession of more than two.

Suzanne Edinger

[ April 19, 2004, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Suzanne ]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In some areas, even if the number of dogs the average household can own is limited, there are special licenses for "fanciers" and "kennels" or similar designations, that allow for more dogs to be owned. Does your jurisdiction allow for that?
 

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Hi Betsy. I'm not sure. I know that a license can be obtained to operate a doggie day care or boarding kennel in the county because the dogs are not "permanent" residents. I have not heard of anyone obtaining a permit to operate a breeding kennel, though. All the breeders I know live in Goochland or Powhatan counties, which neighbor us. For every rule there are always exceptions, though.

Suzanne Edinger
 
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