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Is The American Kennel Club Supporting Puppy Mills?

According to accusations by both the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Kennel Club is not doing their part to protect dogs and puppies in America.

What is the American Kennel Club's role in the ongoing success of puppy mills in America? Watch the video to learn more.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) was founded in 1884, with a mission to “advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.”

For many years, people looking for a breeder have sought out those which have recieved an AKC inspection and certification, under the impression that those breeders were responsible, put the health and well-being of their dogs, both the breeding stock and their offspring, in the highest regard, and that they weren’t operating what has come to be known in recent years as a “puppy mill.”

In the video and interview with American Kennel Club’s director of communications shown below, Lisa Peterson admits that the AKC doesn’t know exactly how many breeders are registered with the group, but that there are only 9 inspectors within the organization that handle each of the thousands of inspections done annually. Further, only a percentage of AKC-registered breeders are ever actually inspected. Still, she insists they’re doing a great job… watch the video and decide for yourself.

Basically, the AKC certification boasted by breeders around the country is no more than a meaningless piece of paper that just about any breeder can buy, regardless of the conditions in which their dogs are kept and raised.

Not only is the AKC certification meaningless, the American Kennel Club is actually going to great lengths to protect these types of breeders. Instead of working with animal advocacy groups to improve the lives of these dogs, the AKC has fought in opposition of stricter laws and increased inspections for breeders.

It is beyond sad that one of the oldest, most well-known dog advocacy organizations, founded on a mission to promote responsible ownership and protect dogs, is not only doing too little to put an end to puppy mills themselves, but they are fighting other advocacy groups that are trying to help.

If you are looking for a purebred dog of your own, find a breeder that you can visit with, that will show you their kennels and breeding dogs. Do not buy a puppy online, from a pet store, or through some other means where you can’t see exactly where the dog is coming from and how they are cared for. Not only would you be supporting the heinous practices going on in these puppy mills, but you’re likely to end up with a very sick little dog on your hands.

Instead, find a reputable breeder in your area and visit their kennels before deciding to make a purchase. Better yet, look for the specific breed you’re interested in through local shelters and rescue organizations.

14 Responses to Is The American Kennel Club Supporting Puppy Mills?
  1. lucy drabek
    January 9, 2014 | 10:27 pm

    The A.K.C. is what keeps puppy mills going. Period.

  2. Lorry Schlick
    October 12, 2013 | 4:39 pm

    The AKC should be completely exposed for its lack of integrity and greed. What they are promoting with the Board’s full knowledge is puppy mill breeding. This is an organization that is definitely duping their contributors and supporting animal cruelty. How dare they still exist with so many knowing this?

    Lorry Schlick, Director
    NYS Citizens Against Puppy Mills

  3. Yuka
    October 11, 2013 | 8:10 pm

    Advocate for the purebred dog — we all know that means, they’re NOT advocate for the animals. Sure enough, puppy mills get certified without having AKC inspectors come in to investigate.
    It’s all for commercial business and animals are the ones who end up suffering. If I see AKC certified, I know it is a business that has nothing to do with compassion for dogs.

  4. DEE
    October 11, 2013 | 2:15 pm

    Stop supporting the AKC they are making money from puppies from puppy mill dogs, and off the back of breeding females from puppy mills who we all know live in deplorable conditions and have a horrible existence. Dogs are not meant to lived in a cage for life and breed and breed, over and over gain. The AKC is in bed with puppy mills big time. All you so called hobby breeders, needs to get another hobby. People need to stop wanting breeds of dogs, this is the whole problem. These dogs, along with so called responsible breeders, back yard breeders and puppy mill dogs are spilling over into the shelters and being euthanized by the thousands. There are no prize dogs at the shelter! Educate yourself. The truth is comming out and people are voicing their voices to end puppy mills for good. We do not need an AKC, we need dogs to be adopted that are on death row, all breeds, and all ages. Google puppy mills, and stop putting your heads in the sand, it is what it is, all about profit, puppies are not products. Do not shop, adopt!

  5. Asai Erika
    August 8, 2013 | 5:29 am

    Although I really like this publish, I think there was an punctuational error close towards the end

  6. Mary DiBlasi
    May 2, 2013 | 5:25 pm

    The bottom line IS the bottom line. The AKC gets paid for every one of those useless pieces of paper. The litter registrations and the individual puppy registrations. They do not want to see them limited in any way. They do not want to see breeders limited in any way even though there is ample evidence that many of these “breeders” are nothing more than puppy mills, houses of horrors where these poor dogs are forced to live in horrendous conditions for their entire lives and churn out puppies, with no vet care, poor nutrition and no human interaction. The puppies aren’t socialized and they are usually sick because there parents are sickly and not well fed. They do not want to support dog adoption – they dropped Pedigree as a sponsor of the Westminster Dog Show because their commercials were geared to adopting shelter pets. They are not the “champion” of all dogs.

    • Antihsuspeta
      May 3, 2013 | 7:11 pm

      Perhaps if you knew anything about the AKC you would know that they do more to promote the welfare of animals than any other animal organizations, including the radical animal rights groups HSUS and ASPCA.

      The AKC is extremely disappointed that The Today Show was given all of the information below but chose not to include any of it in their segment this morning. We met with the producers for an hour prior to the taped interview — which also lasted nearly an hour — and we provided them with supporting documentation, and they chose only to include less than 1 minute of airtime for AKC. They disregarded important facts that should have been told. In fact, we requested to receive a copy of the tape of the entire, unedited interview with Jeff Rossen so that we could show you all of the information we gave them, but their lawyers refused to provide the footage to us.

      Here are some top facts that The Today Show didn’t tell you:
      They didn’t tell you that no other organization does more to protect dogs than the AKC and that “being the dog’s champion” means, among other things, donating more than $24 million to canine health research, conducting kennel inspections, and offering more educational programs for responsible dog owners than any other organization.
      They didn’t tell you that when an AKC inspector finds substandard kennel conditions they must immediately report it to the appropriate federal, state and local authorities to take action.
      They didn’t tell you that, in many instances, the highly publicized raids for which animal rights groups take credit in the media have come about as a direct result of AKC’s reporting to law enforcement.
      They didn’t tell you that, as we explained to Jeff Rossen and his producers numerous times, there are no “AKC Registered Operations” or “AKC Registered Breeders” and that breeders use AKC services voluntarily.
      They didn’t tell you that less than 5% of AKC’s registration revenue comes from commercial breeders or that the AKC is a not-for-profit organization whose total revenues are less than the total marketing budget of the HSUS.
      They didn’t tell you that AKC saw substandard breeders leave the registry in droves in the mid-1990′s when we instituted an inspections program. We did it anyway, even though it affected our bottom line negatively, because it was the right thing to do for dogs. And, more breeders left when we began DNA testing.
      They didn’t tell you that when AKC has concerns with legislation, it publicly puts legislative alerts on its website where anyone can learn about how a bill may potentially affect responsible breeders and dog owners’ rights and not do anything to protect dogs.
      They didn’t tell you that AKC works to ensure the enforcement of cruelty and neglect laws, as well as the provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act. As a result, AKC has a productive working relationship with local animal controls, state and local law enforcement, state departments of agriculture throughout the country, as well as the USDA.
      They didn’t tell you that AKC is well respected by lawmakers who consider us credible experts on dog issues, and rely on our thoughtful and considered advice when it comes to legislation that will impact dogs and their breeders and owners.
      They didn’t tell you that the purebred rescue groups they referenced are actually AKC breed parent club groups and affiliates that make up the largest dog rescue group network in the country.
      They didn’t tell you that The Today Show’s Natalie Morales made a TV public service announcement in conjunction with the Ad Council and the HSUS.

      • Lisa
        May 15, 2013 | 6:25 pm

        Is it true you can just “buy a registration?” I think that is NOT true. I could only get a limited registration for my miniature poodle (that I paid $1500 for from a show dog breeder who does genetic testing on the parents and shows her dogs)- I cannot breed my dog and expect to get papers on his puppies. I dont know how you could just buy one. Maybe they are forged.

    • zippy
      May 3, 2013 | 8:16 pm

      They dropped pedigree as a sponsor because the ads were TOO DEPRESSING, not because they don’t support dog adoption. Not to mention that more show people feed their dogs pro plan, so it kind of made more sense to have them as a sponsor anyway! If what you are saying is true, why would they make purina pro plan a sponsor when they too have a rescue program? (I think it’s called rally to rescue?) Or better yet, if the AKC doesn’t like shelter dogs…why do they have a registration service available to companion dogs, pedigreed or not, so their owners can also enjoy competitions like agility or obedience? Or why are they offering their help to pets displaced by the California fires, when many of them will likely be rescues?

      And btw, you are a fool if you seriously think most AKC breeders are substandard commercial ones…I know quite a few AKC breeders, and they absolutely DO care about every one of their animals, they DO get vet care and plenty of human interaction, and they definitely do not make a damn penny off of a litter. Unless if your idea of profit are black and red dollars, or if you mean the money the breeder’s vet is making! There is a HUGE difference between a substandard breeder and a reputable one…I suggest you learn that difference before painting an entire group of people with the same brush when you probably don’t even know any of them personally!

  7. Stacey
    May 2, 2013 | 5:21 pm

    This is a copycat of a very biased article that trimmed down what AKC said to make them look bad. The ones who should be under investigation are HSUS and PETA. A good journalistic piece should present BOTH sides accurately. Now, to balance out the nonsense, here is what AKC posted following the ridiculous news segment:
    The AKC is extremely disappointed that The Today Show was given all of the information below but chose not to include any of it in their segment this morning. We met with the producers for an hour prior to the taped interview – which also lasted nearly an hour – and we provided them with supporting documentation, and they chose only to include less than 1 minute of airtime for AKC. They disregarded important facts that should have been told. In fact, we requested to receive a copy of the tape of the entire, unedited interview with Jeff Rossen so that we could show you all of the information we gave them, but their lawyers refused to provide the footage to us. Here are some top facts that The Today Show didn’t tell you:

    They didn’t tell you that no other organization does more to protect dogs than the AKC and that “being the dog’s champion” means, among other things, donating more than $24 million to canine health research, conducting kennel inspections, and offering more educational programs for responsible dog owners than any other organization.
    They didn’t tell you that when an AKC inspector finds substandard kennel conditions they must immediately report it to the appropriate federal, state and local authorities to take action.
    They didn’t tell you that, in many instances, the highly publicized raids for which animal rights groups take credit in the media have come about as a direct result of AKC’s reporting to law enforcement.
    They didn’t tell you that, as we explained to Jeff Rossen and his producers numerous times, there are no “AKC Registered Operations” or “AKC Registered Breeders” and that breeders use AKC services voluntarily.
    They didn’t tell you that less than 5% of AKC’s registration revenue comes from commercial breeders or that the AKC is a not-for-profit organization whose total revenues are less than the total marketing budget of the HSUS.
    They didn’t tell you that AKC saw substandard breeders leave the registry in droves in the mid-1990′s when we instituted an inspections program. We did it anyway, even though it affected our bottom line negatively, because it was the right thing to do for dogs. And, more breeders left when we began DNA testing.
    They didn’t tell you that when AKC has concerns with legislation, it publicly puts legislative alerts on its website where anyone can learn about how a bill may potentially affect responsible breeders and dog owners’ rights and not do anything to protect dogs.
    They didn’t tell you that AKC works to ensure the enforcement of cruelty and neglect laws, as well as the provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act. As a result, AKC has a productive working relationship with local animal controls, state and local law enforcement, state departments of agriculture throughout the country, as well as the USDA.
    They didn’t tell you that AKC is well respected by lawmakers who consider us credible experts on dog issues, and rely on our thoughtful and considered advice when it comes to legislation that will impact dogs and their breeders and owners.
    They didn’t tell you that the purebred rescue groups they referenced are actually AKC breed parent club groups and affiliates that make up the largest dog rescue group network in the country.
    They didn’t tell you that The Today Show’s Natalie Morales made a TV public service announcement in conjunction with the Ad Council and the HSUS.

  8. Lori D
    May 2, 2013 | 4:02 pm

    The AKC doesn’t support ANY breeders. Breeders are not “members” of AKC at all, clubs are. The AKC is a registry, which means it records litters and individual dogs, and keeps track of titled earned in various dog sports. The quality of the dogs is in the hands of the BREEDERS, and that applies to ANY registry, of which the AKC is only one. The fact that the organization attempts to do inspections at all is above and beyond the purpose of the organization, and beyond rescinding registry when it’s obvious that the dogs recorded in paper work are not the dogs actually being bred, the only authority the AKC inspectors have over poor conditions is to report them to local animal control authorities. When an inspector is fraudulently shown a model facility, there is not necessarily a way for an inspector to know it. People who want dogs from great breeders who take excellent care of their dogs and socialize puppies well need to find local breeders, establish a relationship with them with serious interest, and enough patience to work their way up the waiting lists that these breeders have. Impulse buyers who believe slick internet pictures and phrases like “AKC inspected” (but no mention of whether it passed or failed the inspection),or fall for the “doodle” designer crosses in the belief that they are actual breeds end up paying for the impatience and poor research. It is the buyers that support puppy mills, not the AKC.

    • Debf
      June 3, 2013 | 9:33 am

      There is an implied belief that a dog registered with the AKC is superior to one that is not. For most of the public, the AKC is “the authority” on the quality of an individual dog. Hence, the AKC, in reality, is far more than a “registry.”

      The AKC if a profitable, self-serving, and successful “business” quite obviously dedicated to bringing in revenue, even if it is at the cost of the animals. They do nothing (AKC) to clarify the FACT that buying an AKC registered puppy means NOTHING in regard to the quality of the breeder, health or temperament of the puppy, or the living conditions of the breeding stock. Additionally, even those dogs awarded “champions” do not have to pass a temperament test. Many of these so-called “champions” are bred despite health and/or temperament issues, and it IS with the IMPLIED endorsement of the AKC.

      It is all legal, and after all, this is America, but, to defend their “purpose” and it’s execution thereof is ludicrous.

      Adopt a shelter dog. 99.9% of “Breeders”, well intentioned or not, should be OUT OF BUSINESS.

      Millions of healthy dogs are killed every year in shelters. Enough said.

  9. Vicki
    May 2, 2013 | 3:57 pm

    I’ve seen where my Chihuahuas were bred and their parents and the way they were kept. The kennel had an outside run and a climate controlled inside. when the puppies were born, the mom and babies lived in the house in a playpen. However, these animals were not treated as pets. They were treated as breeding livestock. Not cruelly, but not loved either. My 3 dogs are 9 years old now and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

    • zippy
      May 3, 2013 | 8:21 pm

      Well guess what then? CONGRATS ON SUPPORTING A COMMERCIAL BREEDER. A REPUTABLE small home breeder absolutely does raise their puppies with love and care so they are properly socialized and used to a home environment. But buying a puppy from a reputable breeder would have costed you more money…and we ALL know what the walmartsified public thinks about spending more on things, even if the more expensive choice is more responsibly sourced! Why the heck would you still buy a puppy from someone whose breeding practices were questionable to you?

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