What you may not know about the Westminster Dog Club may astound you. At least it did me.
This week is the second time I have read about the AKC in regards
to their lack of concern for dog welfare. I have never been a fan
of the Westminster Dog Shows, and now- learning about their connection
to puppy mills even disillusions me more re them. If they truly
cared about dogs, they could never have ties to puppy mills where
so many of them suffer horribly from neglect and lack of proper
My first read was from Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS, and I understand
that both the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer also did
some major reporting on this issue. There is a good post on this
subject as well on Care2 by Joel Boyce.
Kudos to all of them for trying to enlighten us on a subject which
I believe stupifies any one reading about this. How can a dog club be
so insensitive as to support puppy mills?
Pacelle had earlier written about this connection in his book , "The
Bond." There he made a point to tell about Ted Paul, a dog breeder from
Oregon who was also a highly respected show judge. Nevertheless, he
was ostracized from the fraternity for supporting a bill to establish
HUMANE breeding standards. Incredible. I hope that especially those of
us who support and enjoy the Westminster Club Shows will take note and
react in some positive way. Anyone who truly cares about dog welfare
applauds Pau l's humane concerns for the dogs. I hope those who attend
these shows will let the AKC know their displeasure and disenchantment
with them for this as well as their affiliation with puppy mills.
Never personally having enjoyed this elitist dog show in the first
place -where pure breed dogs are endlessly groomed, combed, and paraded,
it seemed to me that without knowing it, I was justified in my dislike
According to HSUS, t hey also have opposed 80 state and local bills to
estabish some minimum humane breeding standards for the care of dogs.
The AKC not only opposed Prop B in Missouri (the nation's leading puppy
mill state) which would have meant better accomodations for puppy mill
dogs, but they also were against similar bills in Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma,
I truly was shocked to read this. I had no idea, and I imagine that
few people know about this too. Pacelle also remarked that he couldn't
think of a time when the AKC supported a bill to establish standards of
care for dogs on large- scale breeding operations. They even opposed
humane legislation on other levels having nothing to do with breeding-
such as prohibiting the debarking of dogs (cruel and unnecessary), and
preventing dogs from being left in hot cars or being chained for long
periods of time,
I am glad that I loved my mixed breed dogs and never yearned to have
a pure breed dog. Everyone of my 7 dogs were beautiful to me - my
mixed breed Minature Collie, Chihuahua, Samoyed, Chow and three Shepherd
mixes. They are all gone now, but I hope to see them again in end times.
According to Ecclesiastes 3:15 - the earth will be restored and everything
that was will be again. Good news for those of us who want to see our
beloved and cherished companion animals again.
There is a financial reason for the AKC's support of puppy mills. The
HSUS raids of illegal puppy mill operations have found breeders
affiliated with them and they brought attention to one of the most
notorious of these operators to the NY Times. He is Mike Chilinski, a
Montana breeder, who was convicted of 91 counts of cruelty for grossly
mistreating Malamutes he was breeding and selling. One of them rescued
by the HSUS was a two-year-old dog weighing less than 25 pounds. With
good care, he has since then more than doubled his weight.
Although I never liked this elitist dog show, I hope that you who
do, will convince them to change their policies, and instead of
promoting the status quo of puppy mills will join us in seeking
humane changes in them, though I believe that they should not even
exist at all. But regardless, it is up to us to let this dog club know
that their policies to date are not appropriate or supported by
people who love dogs.
In my opinion, all dogs are beautiful. And if we bring them up with
love and care, they will be our friends for all their relatively
too short lives. It amazes me that despite the horrible care given
these puppy mill dogs that some turn out well at all. But the truth
of the matter is that many of them have genetic and hereditary problems
through no fault of their own. As a result of selective breeding, many
of them have flattened faces, elongated backs, weak hips, and other
physical characteristics. And because of them, per HSUS many of these
breeds suffer from chronic health problems, shortened life- spans, and
a diminished quality of life.
In Care2 Joel Boyce also wrote about this issue and his post was
entitled "The Westminster Dog Show is Hurting Dogs." He brings o ther
points of view to this subject- one mentioning how this club dropped
Pedigree's (Dog Food Makers) sponsorship due to a lack of shared
"vision" re the cause of animal adoption. You can bet that Pedigree's
vision was one of compassion and probably contrary to theirs.
He also wrote of having two former "backyard" Humane Society adoptees.
Surrendered to his family by the breeders -the female beagle had
already lost part of her ear to frostbite. T he male beagle still
cowered and shook after years when meeting new people - not knowing
what to expect from them.
Recently, I became acquainted with the dog of my Slovak heritage - the
"Cuvac" (Chuvach). A beautiful white shepherd dog, I once entertained
the thought that one would be featured at this club -even though I
still had reservations about their worth. Now, with this new knowledge,
I no longer want even one of our beautiful Chuvaches to be exploited
in this way.
I just hope that they become known and loved. I would love to have
one myself, but it is too late for me now. I am too old and have 9
rescued cats to care for. One can only do so much, and even though I
am basically a dog person, some of my cats I considered to have loving
Among these special cats were George and Bootsie who were both selfless,
loving, and uncomplaining. I could pick them up at will. I can't pick
up my 3 ferals, though obviously it is not their fault, and this is
characteristic of all ferals. I was able to move George and Bootsie
to the refurnished basement, and they offered me no resistance. Both of
my present upstairs cats objected to this move. George and Bootsie could
probably be walked with a leash. Yes, these two were among the beautiful
" cat-dogs" I've had over the years. I miss them both.
Joel Boyce sums up my feelings too about the Westminster Dog Show. Maybe
you also will agree with his thoughts:
"This isn't a show for people who care about dogs. This isn't an
organization for people who care about dogs. Supporting dogbreeders
and trying to portray yourself as an animal-lover is like saying you're
an environmentalist and driving a Hummer. It's no surprise that
Westminster didn't like 'Pedigree' throwing it in their face."
Thank you Joel Boyce and Wayne Pacelle for cluing us in with this sad
information. Hopefully, humane changes will be made in this club, but
I believe it will up to those who support it to agitate for them.