New Hampshire fight reveals American Kennel Club as a champion of puppy mills, not dogs 

By on May 25, 2018 with 30 Comments

It is a cruel irony when an organization that touts itself as a champion of dogs works behind closed doors to oppose a wide range of animal welfare bills, including those advanced to crack down on cruel puppy mills. But that is exactly what the American Kennel Club has been doing for years, and now AKC has done it again in New Hampshire, where it’s helped kill a bill that would have protected dogs raised, mistreated and neglected by unscrupulous breeders.

The bill in question was Senate Bill 569, introduced by Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, with the support of Gov. Chris Sununu, after a high-profile rescue of 84 Great Danes from a mansion in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, in June last year. We have extensively covered that rescue — with which the Humane Society of the United States assisted — and subsequent developments, including the trial of the defendant Christina Fay, her sentencing, her appeal, and her conviction last month of 17 counts of cruelty. Even as the trial has played out, and as Fay awaits final sentencing, the dogs have remained in legal limbo. We are committed to caring for them through the entire legal process and the costs of looking after them have reached almost $2 million and counting.

Related: Putting the costs on animal abusers, not animal protectors

One of the facts of the Fay case that shocked us almost as much as the disgusting conditions the dogs were found in was the absolute lack of regulations in New Hampshire for commercial dog breeders. During the course of the investigation, it came to light that New Hampshire’s Department of Agriculture had been notified of the defendant’s breeding operation two years prior to the search warrant that resulted in the dogs being seized. But because of weak regulations, the Department of Agriculture could do nothing to require licensing and inspections, which would have alleviated the suffering of the dogs.

SB 569, which was supported by local animal shelters, law enforcement, prosecutors, animal control officers and municipalities, would have put some of the financial burden of caring for rescued animals on the perpetrators of the cruelty rather than on taxpayers, reformed commercial breeder regulations and strengthened penalties for egregious cruelty. The bill flew through the state senate with bipartisan support but its fate was pretty much sealed once it landed in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee. AKC has a strong hold over this committee, not least because its former chairman is also a former director of the AKC. In no time at all the bill was stripped of its commonsense upgrades to commercial breeding regulations. Instead, the AKC worked with allies to weaken existing cruelty laws by prohibiting anonymous reporting of breeders and banning public access to records kept at pet stores and commercial kennels. House committee members walked away from negotiations when Sen. Bradley and his senate colleagues refused to allow a bill intended to protect animals to turn into a bill protecting irresponsible breeders.

The AKC immediately handed out a $1,000 cash prize to the former chairman of the committee for his work to defeat the bill.

This is not the only time the AKC has interfered to hurt animal welfare in New Hampshire. In just the past four years, the organization has opposed every animal protection measure in the state, including cost of animal care, protections for outdoor dogs, penalties for animal fighting, the ability for Good Samaritans to rescue animals from hot cars and even a bill banning animal sexual abuse. And AKC continues to weaken canine protections and prevent progress in stopping puppy mill cruelty in other states as well. In the last 10 years alone, the AKC has opposed almost 250 laws in states to protect animals in puppy mills, prevent the sexual abuse of animals and make it easier to rescue dogs from hot cars.

Consumers who support the AKC through pet registrations and dog show fees often have no idea that some of their dollars are being used to lobby against the interests of dogs. Far from being a champion of dogs, the AKC, by opposing animal welfare bills, enables the bad guys – the ones responsible for animal cruelty, suffering, and neglect – to win.

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Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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30 Comments

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  1. Betty Ausley says:

    This is a shame. And I am shocked that they would feel like that.

  2. Jaime Perez says:

    This is so disgusting to find out the AKC is so corrupt. It makes me sick to learn that they have the power to stop bills that would protect animals. Money and greed control the world.

    • Mary O'Neill says:

      I don’t understand why the AKC whom I never realized would be stopping these bills. It’s unconscienable! What is wrong is them helping squash the good bills. I will never again have anything to do w/the AKC. They should be ashamed of themselves!

  3. William J.A. Sparks, Esq. says:

    If anyone reviews the position of the AKC and the concerns of breeders and owners re New Hampshire, you understand the driver is concern about over-regulation of legitimate rights. Animal activists have an agenda, but small non-commercial breeders must be protected, since they serve us well. The zealots purporting to represent ‘us’ at HSUS and elsewhere simply don’t get this. The NH proposal is precisely such a situation as Ms. Block, a lawyer like me, must realize. As someone famously said, ‘never ssume….’, and the AKC cares deeply about the fate of our beautiful canine companions in my long time journey with dogs. In this instance, Ms. Block is simply mistaken.

    • Sheri Loeffelholz says:

      I am from Iowa and we are 2nd largest in the United States for producing unhealthy, AKC registered puppies from puppy mills. AKC does not monitor these large breeding facilities but gives them their stamp of approval that they are AKC registered so the puppy mills make more money and so does the AKC. The AKC lobbyist in Iowa support large breeding facilities aka puppy mills but hide under the geise of protecting small breeders rights. My advocacy group proposed a bill excluding small breeders to protect their rights and solely concentrated on large breeders with 100 or more dogs. Again, AKC lobbied against that bill too. They are in it for the money pure and simple. One farm in Iowa has over 1500 dogs that are living wire cage upon cage, blasted with high pressure hoses to clean the feces dropping down from each cage. Their whole life is in that cage being made a breeding machine and the AKC supports this because they are making money off all the puppies without checking on these commercial breeders producing sick puppies with their AKC approval stamp. It is a 17 billion dollar business in Iowa. AKC pays big bucks for their lobbyists to shut these bills down. They are not concerned about government over-regulating they are more concerned about their right to profit on the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills. Do some research and take your head out of the sand unless you’re on their payroll too. I have plenty of research on the AKC, their lobbyist and puppy mills that I am more than willing to share. Better yet, come to Iowa and see for yourself, some of the farms you can smell the stench from the road of them living in their own feces and the stench of dead dogs discarded on their property. Then take a trip to our state Capitol and watch the AKC lobbyist and Farm Bureau defend the rights of large scale breeding facilities (puppy mills) in Iowa. Smh

      • CAROL D. says:

        Thank you for speaking up for the innocent animals who have no voice. The only reason these AKC puppy mills exist is to make money for the AKC and the owners who want to make a fast buck from these dogs, who spend their lives being neglected and abused.

    • Carol D. says:

      What legitimate rights are you speaking of????? What type of law do you practice?

    • Jen S says:

      Same backwards mentality that keeps the NRA going strong and prevents us from having common-sense gun laws in this country.
      Must be a lazy, piss-poor lawyer if you think people and the law can’t discern puppy mills from small-scale, responsible breeders.

    • Bob says:

      Great comment and 100% accurate.!

    • Rose LaBarge says:

      If the AKC really cared about dog welfare they would refuse to register litters produced by puppy mills. If pups were not registered by AKC this would help greatly in reducing the pet store trade. Breeders with ethics do not have many breeds and hundreds of puppies a year. In this computer age, it is very easy to flag the commercial producers of dogs for investigation . the AKC is a money making enterprise that has little concern for ethics or animal welfare.

    • Laura says:

      It’s those bad breeders that are ruining it for all! If ya got nothing to hide why would you care what regulations are placed and if you care you would want them to do everything they can to keep them protected just saying! I know there Are shady issues with AKC witnessed it Myself and would not support them anymore in anyway!

    • Adele McConnell says:

      Shame on you. The AKC’s position has been reviewed over and over again for many years and falls far short of anything resembling an organization that “cares deeply about the fate of our beautiful canine companions”. That dog won’t hunt.

      Saying that the AKC’s concern is over-regulation of the legitimate rights of small non-commercial breeders is laughable when one considers that there’s no regulation whatever of large commercial breeders in the State of New Hampshire; and you cannot with a scintilla of veracity argue that those guilty of animal abuse who perpetuate the misery and suffering of helpless animals, not already overburdened taxpayers, should be held financially responsible for the care and rehabilitation of those rescued animals. And you cannot with the milk of human kindness and compassion, contend that fighting and lobbying against reformed commercial breeder regulations with stronger penalties for appalling acts of animal cruelty, is motivated by anything but greed.

      And for your information, using of “Esq.” in a comments section doesn’t impress or elevate your opinion above those of “the zealots” nor does it reduce those of who disagree with you to obsequious weenies. What your condescending comment does display is gross ignorance. There is a vast world of difference between animal rights activists (P.E.T.A.) and animal welfare activists (animal rescue) so kindly take use your experience as an arbitrator and mediator back where they belong. Sentient beings are not “Commercial Matters, Construction Disputes, Fee Disputes, Foreclosure, FTCA, Insurance Coverage, Property Disputes”. And if you don’t think dogs are sentient, you’ve got another think coming.

    • Kimber Gronert says:

      YOU are part of the problematic continuum, Mr. William J.A. Sparks, Esq.

    • Deedee D. says:

      I wholeheartedly disagree. Facts are facts. AKC = Animal Killers Club.

    • LouLou says:

      Wow, I too am a lawyer and I surmise, not assume, your connected to AKC which benefits you in some way. There is no excuse that both sides should not be protected. If AKC genuinely wants to protect, then they should have lobbied to renegotiate the bill, not Block it ! Motive is obvious.

    • Faith says:

      Small breeders does not equate 84 large breed animals without proper care. I know where you were going with this but small or large there must be adequate care.

  4. Cecily Morris says:

    I am horrified at this news.
    This organization should be ashamed.
    You go under the pretext of CARING when the opposite is true.
    AKC must be dismantled and those responsible for this outrageous behavior fined and or jailed.
    Your job is to protect dogs- not treat them as the product.

  5. Natalie Colton says:

    So the people who supposedly love their dogs are basically the biggest abusers out there. Time to SHUT THEM DOWN!! If they can’t be the dog lovers we all expect them to be and are a part of the horrors of puppy mills then THEY ALL SHOULD BE CHARGED for the criminal acts of torture and abuse they will onto these poor poor dogs. We’ve all seen the heartbreaking ways they are kept and the poor mothers that are in horrific condition . Just sickening. Jail time and huge fines should be mandatory for all involved.

  6. Linda York says:

    Another case of money over compassion. But I was shocked to see that the AKC continues to weaken canine protection bills. How can anyone try to protect puppy mills??!! Especially someone who supposedly cares about animal welfare. My opinion of the AKC has dropped considerably.

  7. Jackie Phillips says:

    Great job, HSUS, for bringing all this to the front for everyone to see how super clear it is that AKC consistently stands in the way of progress.
    Keep up the great work!

  8. Stillthere says:

    I still work at the AKC and know enough to support this opinion. This company is evil.

  9. Michele Carol Jankelow says:

    How tragic and appalling that a Society such as the AKC would be involved in such atrocities against the very dogs they should be protecting! How revolting a species, how corrupt, how greedy are these people that would ignore and even endorse such blatant cruelty! Leaves one aghast!

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