The American Kennel Club Cannot Be Trusted

Years of lies and malfeasance have harmed man's best friend and duped the public, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) is responsible.

puppy mill In 1989, the AKC was presented with the unfavorable results of a large consumer fraud investigation involving its registration of countless "AKC-certified" purebred dogs and its cover-up of fraudulent activities. Since being officially notified of their flagrant fraudulent business practices almost fifteen years ago, the AKC continues to sell certificates affirming information about "purebred" dogs that it knows is false. And, no charges have been brought against the AKC for doing so.

The AKC says it isn't responsible for any fraudulent activities. It doesn't buy, sell, kennel, or keep dogs. What it does, however, is certify the accuracy of unsubstantiated information submitted by third parties, and then it resells that information.

Consumers have spent billions of dollars on dogs who have been misidentified by AKC certifications. The AKC knew or should known what it was doing when identifying animals because, in some cases, it does check the background information.

Previous findings of its inspectors, senior staff, administrators, board members, and court transcripts indicate that registration papers should not have been issued in 50%-90% of the cases actually investigated. In a 1995 court submission, the AKC stated it had erroneously registered 600,000 dogs and made approximately $5 million dollars by selling the certification papers to unsuspecting consumers.

Because of its practices, puppy mills continue to breed dogs which (if they survive the abhorrent conditions of their birth) may suffer from chronic diseases for the duration of their short miserable lives. AKC supports such breeders and has renamed them "High Volume Breeders" in a new public relations effort to increase registration income. There is no progeny testing, no follow-up on puppies sent out by the breeders, and thus no controls on breeding genetically defective animals.

Correcting the problem isn't difficult but it could drastically lower AKC's revenues and damage its reputation, both of which AKC jealously defends with collusion and threats. Meanwhile, the market in illicitly-produced and inaccurately identified dogs takes a huge emotional toll on hapless owners and causes veterinary costs to skyrocket. Consumers shouldn't have to pay for it.

Current lawsuits in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee confirm the problem with victim consumers who purchased puppies based on the false perception that an AKC-certified puppy has some assurance of health, quality, or even that the dog is the breed the papers say the dog is. Such deceptive practices are promoted by the AKC and should not be tolerated.

AKC is a not-for-profit and, therefore, is different from an Enron or Tyco. But it's no charity. And it isn't required to open its books to regulators because there are no shareholders or individual members. It is accountable to no one. It's corporate culture has become one of secrecy and deception. This once prestigious social club protects its image by donating a small portion of its tax-free registration income to veterinary schools and by making contributions to its own foundation. It thereby silences critics and deflects attention from questionable business practices.

Please contact your Congressperson and ask that the Federal Trade Commission investigate and prosecute potential consumer fraud being committed by the AKC. Alternatively, if you have any personal experiences with AKC's practices, let them know. Your personal request as a constituent is the most effective means for pressuring the FTC to take up this matter.

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