Whatever Happened to the AKC and Petland Hook-Up?
We've probably all heard by now that the planned business blessing of the Petland chain of pet stores by the American Kennel Club has fallen through. But what has happened since then? Britain's K-9 Magazine recently followed up on the story.
What Have the American Kennel Club (AKC) Been Up To Then?
In October news broke in America that their Kennel Club had signed a deal with the retailer Petland, to allow it use the AKC logo on some of its merchandise and for the AKC to pre-register some of the puppies that are sold through Petland stores.
The Petland chain, it would appear, seem to be rather unpopular with many breeders and animal welfare campaigners in America as they sell puppies in many of their stores, a practice which is almost unheard of in Britain nowadays.
The Hunte Corporation, said to be 'a well known wholesaler of puppies' in the USA supplies Petland with their pups.
Many people refer to the Hunte Corporation as a puppy farm (or puppy mill to use the American expression). This, apparently did not put the AKC off linking up with Petland stores in a 'partnership' deal.
The stated aim of this partnership was given as allowing puppies sold via Petland to be registered with the AKC prior to being sold.
This proposed move caused unrest amongst many dog lovers in the States as well as the UK.
Protests and boycotts were planned as American dog owners got wise to the AKCs plans to link up with a company perceived to be creating a demand for farmed or commercially reared pups.
In a statement released earlier in October the AKC claimed that their partnership with Petland was intended to allow them to be involved with more breeding programmes and that those programmes would benefit from their involvement.
The AKC has undertaken a strategic plan to reverse the significant decline in registrations that has occurred during the last decade. The plan includes a number of separate initiatives", came the claims.
"Together these initiatives are designed to regain market share, while maintaining a registry of unequalled integrity and size. The approach outlined in the plan is to increase registrations by addressing the needs of all customer groups fanciers, breeders, pet owners and the commercial channel.
This focus stems from a belief that purebred dogs are best served by the AKC, and that breeding programs are improved with our involvement. This inclusive approach helps position AKC as the voice for all dogs and all dog owners."
One American breeder who wished to remain anonymous spoke to us about the AKC and their plans, she expressed concern that: the American Kennel Club no longer appear to be concerned with the welfare of purebred dogs, and are more interested in generating income, acquiring larger market share and imposing their views on everybody.
They have permanently tarnished their once well earned good reputation. I will be boycotting AKC events and Petland stores"
However, in a remarkable and one could say humiliating U-turn, the AKC at the very last moment, backed out of their agreement with Petland.
Ron Menaker, Chairman of the Board and Dennis B. Sprung, President and CEO issued this statement.
AKC's Board of Directors and management believed that this agreement would have helped to further the mission of the AKC. Promoting responsible dog ownership to new puppy owners, implementing our care and conditions policies, and exposing more dog owners to AKC educational programs and services would have had even greater reach.
In the past few weeks we have received many comments about this agreement, both positive and negative. We have listened to the concerns and because this issue has become so divisive, we believe it is in the best interest of our sport and the American Kennel Club not to go forward with this initiative."
What concerns many, even now that the deal is apparently off, is that the AKC were not prepared to stand by their original reasons for the commercial partnership and were swayed by the possibility of adverse publicity and potential loss of income to backtrack.
Our breeder contact, who initially supplied us with the news of the original partnership before the story officially broke expressed her disgust that the AKC was using deliberately emotive language in backtracking from their original plans.
The AKC are claiming that it in the best interest of the sport not to go ahead with this initiative. They werent thinking of the sport when they were planning on stamping their logo all over Petland merchandise and turning a blind eye to farmed puppies living in cages in stores across America."