AKC: The Puppy Mills’ Champion?

By on February 11, 2015 with 37 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Wild Bill once had the honor of being named an American Kennel Club champion dog. The Australian Cattle Dog competed in AKC events and won ribbons for his good looks. But then he got some gray on his muzzle, and fame faded.

It wasn’t long before local law enforcement came across Wild Bill, starving in a filthy, rusted crate in inches of feces-infested water, with more than 60 other dogs in a Mississippi puppy mill. He had gone from the loftiest heights in the show world literally to the bottom of the barrel. And if that wasn’t bad enough, an AKC inspector saw it all – and handed the kennel a clean inspection report.The Pearl River County SPCA rescued Wild Bill and more than 60 other dogs from Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs last October. The owner of Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in December.

But there is more than one guilty party involved in this riches-to-rags story. The fact that an AKC inspector could go on the property just days before Wild Bill and the other dogs were found in squalor and hand the owner’s facility a favorable review tells us so much about what’s wrong with the AKC, and with some corners of the dog fancy world.  In fact, at one point, the AKC granted its highest honor, the Breeder of Merit status, to the owner of Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs.

It seems so counterintuitive, and even bizarre, but there is an unmistakable, amply documented trail of evidence that AKC regularly fights laws designed to crack down on puppy mills, in addition to conducting private inspections and giving its approval to mills like Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs.

Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs

Despite the apparent squalor, an AKC inspector handed Bleu Moon Cattle Dogs kennel (above) a clean inspection report.

In 2012, we released a report  exposing the fact that the AKC had opposed more than 80 laws designed to protect puppy mill dogs from cruelty; today that number has climbed to more than 150, showing that the AKC has doubled down on its lobbying to protect mills. The AKC’s political action committee has funneled thousands of dollars to politicians who oppose animal welfare reform, including Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Two of the AKC’s “elite” Breeders of Merit have been found just over the past few months to be keeping their dogs in filthy conditions, and one has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. Both closed down just weeks after passing their AKC inspections.So much of this boils down to money. The AKC is sustained by fees breeders pay to register puppies. The more dogs registered with the AKC, the more revenue the organization gets. The organization’s PAC then fights many laws that would protect dogs.

Some of the worst facilities wave around their AKC credentials like a badge of honor, and draw consumers away from better sources of dogs, such as animal shelters and rescue groups and responsible breeders. When the AKC fights bills that would protect dogs and do no harm to responsible breeders, it damages the reputation of breeding as a whole and hurts the very dogs it claims to value.

Because of the intervention of groups that make animal welfare a priority, Wild Bill’s misery has ended.  But the tens of thousands of dogs still confined to puppy mills all over this country are not likely to get a helping hand from the AKC – only more obstructionism and phony inspections from the group that ironically brands itself as “the dog’s champion.”


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  1. june lay says:

    I once loved watching the dog shows because I love dogs. I now know that these shows are big business and big bucks. Anyone who thinks all these dogs are loved and pampered, even if not as a horrible story as this need to learn that the breeders and all involved are for profit or ego.
    I wrote “The Life of a Show Dog, Abuse of Another Kind”, http://www.junefit.me
    about my little doggie I adopted, bred to show.
    It is another type of puppy mill.
    Thank you for sharing this story, people need to learn more about behind the scenes.

    • Megan says:

      ” need to learn that the breeders and all involved are for profit or ego.”

      Not all. I compete and show my dogs, and not only have I never made a dime, I’m several thousand in the hole. Please use caution when using words like “all” because it’s almost never a true statement.

      • june lay says:

        I appologize, but my full sentence did state for profit or EGO, ego, which u didn’t respond to.

        So, why did you show your dogs, did it not involve ego? These shows for show, and show only are not fun for dogs, traveling, constantt grooming, etc.,

        No ego involved? Certainly the dogs don t care about perfect proportions and being in a beauty pagent.

      • sandra Christenson says:

        Megan, High five on your comment. I bred and showed German shorthairs and Bedlington plus handled (for free) dogs for other people. If folks did not meet my standards they didn’t get one of my pups. I’d keep them, show quality or not! And I bred about 1 litter every 5 years! So to all he critics out there, posting all their false opinions, try going to a local show and talk to the exhibitors. You’ll find your pathetic, Whiney comments terribly false and one sided. There are some jerks out there but you have done a great disservice to those of us who are dedicated to our dogs and sport.

        • stephanie marshall says:

          Just as it unfair to say that all breeders are in it for profit, it is equally unfair to say all are not. The point to this discussion is that AKC is giving all the breeders they register total freedom to abuse their dogs. Just because some breeders truly love their dogs and the breed does not mean many are not suffering horribly. I think ego is getting in the way of helping those abused.

        • Donna says:

          The problem is that their are more jerks that not only mistreat their dogs, but inbreed them as well. When there are so many unwanted dogs in rescues all over the country, why breed at all?? If it’s not for money or ego, then what? I’m just curious.

      • sandra Christenson says:

        High 5. I didn’t keep track of all the $ I spent on showing.

    • jean masker says:

      I used to show great Danes back in the 70s. They knew who was going to win before the show even took place. That is when I got out of the show business

    • Real Falardeau says:

      thank-you …it’s not about animals, but about $$$

  2. David P Bernazani says:

    And if you subscribe to an AKC magazine, you’re supporting cruelty to dogs. The AKC is a greedy organization that cares nothing about dogs, only the money they get from breeders. I haven’t convinced my veterinary clinic to cancel their subscriptions, but I throw them away every chance I get.

    • jan dykema says:

      Funny I did the same with the HSUS publications I find at the vet.. I should say my former vet.. My current vet knows about the HSUS

    • Jen Hileman says:

      Vet clinics don’t pay for magazines, the companies send them free to put in the waiting room in hopes of getting subscribers, same with Dr and Dentist offices. And my guess would be that your vet thinks you are a nut!

  3. Erin Schleintz says:

    AKC – Knock this off – you should be ashamed of your disgusting environment your selfish snobs put these beautiful animals in. Your selfish greedy agenda is showing and soon you will be shut down. It is stupid that you parade around looking idiots anyhow. Boring and pathetic. Sad and lonely you must be. Your AKC’s come from puppy mills anyways, so you cheat by “engineering” the animals – isolate, made to be in fear of, starve to be “just right”, manufactured, It makes me laugh YOU CHEATERS. Go ahead and feel proud you abuse animals. It is not right. I hope you fee their pain someday soon.

  4. elvbend says:

    While it is easy to sensationalize instances such as this, in reality they are few and far between. AKC is a registry organization. I have to wonder – how many of the “members” of HSUS have been inspected by HSUS to ensure humane treatment of animals?

    • Tom Grady says:

      There is a HUGE difference between the AKC and the HSUS.

      The AKC consistently fights against protections for dogs, while the HSUS is fighting to protect all animals from abuse.

    • joan silaco says:

      PLZ! you’re comparing a member like myself,and or others to AKC! you’re either a troll or a hsus hater! we neuter! they don’t! we speak for all breeds mix or otherwise, they don’t get your head out of that puppy mill manure!

  5. Bob Stevenson says:

    This is the kind of inhumane story that shows what states like Iowa and their ignorant politicians, like King, are showing the world. They see the cult status of groups like the AKC and how they treat defenseless animals as the real America, where money and egos rule their actions! From horse soring, farm animal abuse, to puppy mills and posing by the fools in the NRA,
    the US has little to be proud of and MUCH to be ashamed of! Women and child abuse is merely part of that culture, when a country is ran by the wealthy and their brain dead followers!

  6. Cindy Bachicha says:

    This has to stop. I am not in favor of “breed “standards either. Where dogs are mutilated. Tails and ears cropped. Often without anesthesia. This is cruel. These dogs deserved to be pampered all their lives not just when it suits people.

    • sandra Christenson says:

      Obviously you don’t know that breeders have been moving to uncropped , undocked dogs

      • Jen says:

        Breeders are individually but the AKC has not. Hooray for breeders who leave it to the new owners or even refuse to dock yorkies, but until a tail is standard for shows puppies will still be mutilated even if they are never going to be showdogs.

  7. Tom says:

    The news just keeps getting worse for the AKC and similar groups.

    Opposing every proposed protection for breeding dogs is all we need to know about the AKC.

    And look what happens to even “champion” dogs they no longer make money for the industry.

  8. Gail Doggett says:

    Breeding in animals, by its very definition, is wrong. The only exception I would make is in the case of animals on the verge of extinction. We have way more dogs than can ever find homes and they are euthanized by the thousands every day. Why would you want to intentionally breed more? For every dog you breed and find a home, that is one less home that could be given to a shelter dog. You say you want to breed out undesirable traits but who or what gives you that right? If there is any species that needs to be bred for removing undesirable traits it is humans. I’ve often wondered how dog breeders would feel if some higher power decided they needed improvement. It would sure fix a lot of stupid and a lot of egomania.

    • june lay says:

      The slogan is “for every dog bred another dog is dead”.
      I believe that while we kill millions of healthy companion animals every year, it is morally wrong to bred more especially for money.

  9. auroralee_1 says:

    When all the facts are used then make judgment. This case is not fully represented in this article

  10. Lynn O'Toole says:

    “She may not be pretty but that’s not the end the puppies come from. Get one more litter out of her and you’ll get your money back ten fold,” this statement from an auctioneer grinning at a Missouri dog auction as a small female terrier missing a lower jaw shook in terror. This was an auction I attended in Southern Missouri. This dog, along with many others was in terrible shape from years of deprivation and the people who bid on them did not do so out of mercy. They were motivated by profit and greed. The AKC had a representative right on site, ready to provide papers for these canine wrecks. I bid for a Weimeraner male with a tumor the size of a grapefruit on its side, in behalf of an animal rescue. Out of pity, I bid for a tiny shaking Chihuahua with cryptorchidism, a trait that should not be passed on and such dogs should not be used for breeding. I was assured I could get AKC papers for him. How far this organization has fallen.

  11. joan silaco says:

    i want to see action from the hsus instead of more comments, because it looks like we can get more action regarding every other subject but this. this news of previous dog winners going back to living the life of a puppy mill dog astounds me! i never heard or realized that before! that news alone should be brought up over and over again! the public needs to know about the connection and the money trail, not to denigrate the show at this time, but to shed light on this PUPPY MILL PROBLEM! the average person does not know or understand the connection! and i’m ready to bring this up myself via the phone and letter, but we need a full blown article to address this/these problems! years ago i once had DAVID FREY’S phone # which i called on the PEDIGREE/PURINA issue. this issue reminds me of the race horse win- ning the derby and then when his winning days are over, he’s sold at auction to be shipped to who knows where! sure, he can be used for breeding, but still be sent away. WAYNE! you can talk face to face with hunters and talk about factory farming, but YOU need to talk about this to AKC or people like DAVID FREY or others and we need to see this in an article so the public can ask the questions and hold these people accountable! i read about these puppy mills being rescued everyday, but nothing of the enabler [akc] that should be taken to task. HSUS needs to speak more about this subject when at the same time you’re getting the PR on the very same topic. i’m sure i’ll be bumping into WAYNE at the expo and i’m going to remind him of this. for all i know, the people hear that comment are probably the only ones reading these comments!

  12. Home of Wild Bill says:

    Just so everyone knows, Wild Bill was rescued by his original AKC breeder. It was a long, drawn out process, but he is now back home. He is in fact alive and well. He has gained his weight back and is very happy. There are evil people in every organization of people, but they do NOT define the whole. Support respectable breeders! Their heart truly lies in breeding happy, healthy puppies, and doing their best to place them in happy homes. Though, sometimes they are fooled. It could happen to anyone, and we are forever grateful to the people who discovered Bill’s mistreatment and to those who fought with us to bring him home.

  13. Kat Porter says:

    I called and reported this woman to AKC way back. The wheels of justice turned slow but I am so happy this monster for now is out of the dog breeding business. She is a very sick person that needs help. Don’t know much about AKC but I would think this case would make them stand up and take notice. Weed out the bad ones!

  14. Lori Garcia says:

    I don’t know how they sleep at night!

  15. K9 lover says:

    EGO…..if its not then stop breeding until all the shelters are empty and dogs stop being needlessly put to death. Spay and neuter no matter the breed, who cares if its purebred its a living breathing animal full of love. Do you tell people my dog is a “purebred……” Its your ego you are satisfying. The dog sure doesn’t care about a blue ribbon or title. Come on BE HONEST

  16. Sue Zeleny says:

    I am just becoming aware of the existence of puppy mills. I understand from what my vet told me that the Amish are huge puppy mill owners & it looks like they are doing it under the radar. This is disgusting & heartbreaking. I put an app on my phone & watch videos of this horror & it sickens me. Please Humane Society help these defenseless animals.

  17. JREESE says:

    I hope the 60 dogs rescued from this disgusting breeder found good homes. Beautiful dogs…People need to forge ahead with dog protection and put a stop to the breeders, whether back yard or AKC..the AKC is nothing more than just a dog club period! Kind of like the NRA trying to run politics!

  18. Heather Ferguson says:

    I currently have an adult dog we got from this puppy mill 12 years ago before we knew what kind of person was running this facility. When we got him we lived in New Mexico and had our dog sent to us in New Mexico. Upon arrival he seemed healthy but quickly became ill with what at first we thought was parvo. He ended up being very sick with worms but we got him back to a healthy puppy. We made many complaints back then and saddened to learn of the conditions of the facility. Our heeler is happy and healthy today but only wish our complaints were taken more serious 12 years ago so this facility was shut down sooner.

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