Showsight December 2017

Lines From Linda: Candid Candidates Part II


but we need to allocate additional resources to telling this story, now. We must support proactive positive legislation to protect dog owners’ rights and combat the current social and political climate that seeks to dis- parage purebred dogs and their breeders. Choosing an AKC purebred dog should never be equated with “shopping”. We need to take back the conversation in order to safeguard purebred dog ownership for future generations. Finally, consistent with its Mission, the AKC must be dedicated to upholding the integrity of the registry. The AKC should consider safeguards to maintain the reliabil- ity of the registry with new inexpensive DNA initia- tives and incentives. We can only extoll the virtues of purebred dogs and promote their predictability in type, health and temperament if lineage is certain. 6. What is your motivation for wishing to serve on the AKC Board of Directors? What difference do you hope to make? My passion for purebred dogs motivates me to serve on the AKC Board of Directors. I have been blessed in the sport of dogs and I wish to give back to the dog world that has given so much to me. 7. Bringing and retaining new people into AKC sports is essential if our sports are to survive. How would you address this challenge? In order to recruit and retain new people in AKC sports, it will take a concerted effort by the AKC, Clubs, Breed- ers and Exhibitors. The AKC can help by defeating the current social and political challenges to purebred dog ownership. If those new to the sport are not constantly attacked for their choices, they will be more likely to “come, sit and stay.” AKC can also help by supporting its clubs generally as indicated above and specifically, here with an opt—in option for new AKC registrants for direct Club contact. With direct contact, Clubs can target those newbies currently unaware of their local All Breed, Specialty or Training Club and start relationship building before a show or trial. Parent Clubs can target new owners and provide them with associate memberships, educational materials and opportunities for networking. Individual breeders and exhibitors can play critical parts in mentoring and support. 8. How can we improve AKC’s image among its core constituents and owners of AKC registered dogs? To improve AKC’s “image” among its core constituents and owners of purebred dogs, we must confirm what that image currently is. We must also determine if in fact, these two diverse groups share the same perception. However, for the purpose of this question, speaking as one of AKC’s core constituents, I believe many feel the AKC is a growing distance from its roots. Efforts to generate revenue through the Link AKC Smart Collar and Boarding and Grooming Facilities in New York are not fully accepted as being within the AKC’s ambit.

These forays are far removed from the realities facing AKC Clubs. Core constituents in All Breed Clubs confront financial constraints, the graying of their membership and alternative entertainment choices affecting gate, pub- licity, entries, club membership and financial viability. Parent Clubs face diminishing litters, low entries, aging breeders and shrinking memberships. The result is a lack of connection with Clubs and the AKC. Again, for the purpose of this question, speaking as a breeder who interacts with purebred dog owners not involved in the fancy, I believe few owners have specific knowledge of what the AKC is. In order to improve the AKC’s image among both core constituents and purebred dog owners, focus on improved communication is key. Beyond this, returning to the AKC’s mission as outlined more fully in the response to Question 5 will most quickly restore and improve AKC’s image on all fronts. 9. The conformation sport continues to decline. Do you have any thoughts on how to engage more peo- ple in breeding and showing purpose bred dogs? To engage more people in breeding and showing purpose-bred dogs, I believe that we should first focus on our current breeders and exhibitors and our clubs. If we can reconnect these groups with the AKC they will be our most effective ambassadors in reaching out to engage more people in breeding and showing purpose bred dogs. The AKC’s advocacy of its mission will also encourage more breeders and exhibitors. George Washington said: “Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages”. While it may be impossible to recapture the sheer num- bers of registrations of the past, with sufficient persever- ance and spirit the AKC may be proud to be synonymous with excellence: Healthy purpose bred dogs, dedicated preservation breeders and committed clubs offering a wide range of events to eager participants. 10. How do you reconcile the fact that often the AKC Board of Directors must make decisions that may not please the Delegate body yet may be necessary to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to AKC? Fiduciary duty requires Board Members to remain objective, unselfish, responsible, honest, trustworthy and efficient. As stewards, Board Members must always act for the good of the organization, rather than for the benefit of themselves or any individual Club. While some of the Board’s decisions may displease the delegate body, if these decisions are made in good faith in the best interests of the AKC, there is no recourse. If the Delegate Body would prefer a different result in the future, there is always the remedy of the ballot box. CHRISTOPHER SWEETWOOD 1. Please share your background in purebred dogs including breeding and events.


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