Systematically destroying the AKC's credibility Last month dog owners in California were devastated when the AKC yanked the rug out from under them on AB 1634. Revealing that it had been negotiating with legislators behind the scenes, at the last minute the AKC announced that it no longer opposed an animal extremist-driven mandatory sterilization proposal. The next day, the AKC attempted to defend its position. Six days later, out-flanked and out-maneuvered by mandatory spay-neuter proponents and animal extremists, and under siege laid by its own members, the AKC reversed itself yet again and announced that it "vigorously opposed" the bill. It was a piss-poor, embarrassing, performance that left both dog owners and legislators dumb-founded and shaken.
Can the AKC's lobbyists really be that bad? Did the AKC really have so completely mis-read Lloyd Levine. Hello? The guy's a term-limited whackjob, desperate to make a name for himself in politics. This isn't news.
What really happened in Sacramento? What deals were offered?
Why did the AKC break ranks? Partnering up with animal rights extremists In July, the AKC announced that it will join a lawsuit brought by Karen Breslin of the Progressive Law Center and others against the Denver, Colorado "pit bull" ban. Breslin--an animal law attorney that also represents Rocky Mountain Animal Defense -- happily shares the bill with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's general counsel Russ Mead in presentations for law students. To quote Ms. Breslin in discussing breed specific legislation and specifically the Denver ordinance-- "[I]f the government can say that your interest in your companion animal isn't any more consequential than my interest in my laptop, or my interest in my briefcase, then there is no limit to what they can do in the way of regulating that animal. And there's very little that you can do about it constitutionally, as long as the law stays as it currently is." Changing the "lowly" property status of animals More than a year ago, and waaay long enough for the AKC to have found out about Breslin's stand on animal rights issues before joining the suit, Breslin remarked -- "We aren't asking for the property status of animals to be taken away, but that they be recognized as much more than JUST property, which is a lowly distinction in the law, and allows government extensive power over that property." Folks, if our pets aren't our property, then we can't protect them from threats like AB 1634. There is no "more than mere property."
You can't have it both ways, no matter how nicely its packaged. God knows, "pit bull" owners are desperate for a little support. But this ain't it. Breslin's agenda, with all its facetious reasoning, is an animal rights agenda. If we don't own our dogs, we'll lose them in a heartbeat.
The AKC went ahead and partnered up with Breslin and Co. Why? Its beyond embarrassing. Its frightening. No response is the worst response from the AKC The AKC permits itself to be tarred and feathered by animal extremists who condemn it as a puppymiller's registry.
(And by the way, with Menaker's September statement now public, should we add Macy's to the list of damned puppymill outlets, and Menaker himself as puppymill customer? After all, he confessed to buying an AKC-registered dog at what amounts to a pet store. Another department store bites the dust.) There has been no vigorous public relations campaign to defend the AKC's "gold standard" position in the marketplace. PETA compares the AKC to the Klu Klux Klan. What is the AKC's response? Silence. The AKC's PR strategy generally is "turn the other cheek" and hope it will all go away. Like we're all back in Sunday school. How's that strategy working for ya, Ron? Gentlemen's agreements, golden parachutes. Before any of the above had even happened, Dog Politics identified the AKC's urge to merge. AKC stands to benefit hugely from a merger with HSUS. After all, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or allow yourself to be bought out. Did Ron Menaker and Wayne Pacelle have lunch one day--maybe during the PAWS fiasco--and plan the gradual integration of the AKC into the HSUS? Think about it. With HSUS as a partner and protector, the AKC is guaranteed participation in revenues from the microchip database it pioneered. Its largest, wealthiest constituents won't get shut down by anti-puppymiller legislation. The AKC will take on a larger "breeder-police" enforcement role, having already set itself up as the responsible breeder standards expert. The AKC could regain the economic support it once derived from control of the huge, lucrative pet market by aggressively pursing the registration of all pet dogs, free from harassment from HSUS. They might even openly register mutts. Why not? You better sit down kids. If you manage to concentrate on nothing else in that long meandering whine, re-read the last few lines of Menaker's statement. "Doing what's right for the future" in this context is ominous. "No one is suggesting we lose sight of our rich heritage and traditions, but let’s not allow the stated goal of our competitors to become a reality. As Bill Wrigley Jr. said recently in the New York Times, “We must respect the past…but at all times do what is right for the future.” Menaker's not panicking. He's setting the stage for the "inevitable" he's hoping for: an HSUS takeover of the AKC.