The Philadelphia Inquirer Exposes AKC Greed

Dog Registry is "Largely a Sham"

CAPS was responsible for a major investigative article on the AKC in The Philadelphia Inquirer (12/31/95) and other newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The article entitled "Digging into the AKC: Taking cash for tainted dogs" started on the front page of the newspaper and continued for more than one entire page.

CAPS has been working with six former AKC inspectors to obtain information about AKC malfeasance. The Inquirer interviewed these inspectors at length. They told the Inquirer that the AKC's dog registry is "largely a sham."

Over the past five years, the AKC has made more than $100 million for providing registration papers to more than six million purebred dogs. A significant percentage of this money came from puppy mills. The former AKC inspectors said in the article that AKC papers are "often worthless or untrue."

According to the former inspectors, "the AKC does not verify bloodlines." The organization processes applications and fees and sends out registration papers. The AKC assumes the information provided by the breeder is correct. Under AKC rules, all dog breeders must keep strict records of their dogs' lineage. "If the chain of proof is broken at any point, the dogs can be canceled from the registry."

The former inspectors claim that the AKC registry has been tarnished. They told the Inquirer that the registry is "no longer reliable" because the organization has, in recent years, accepted so many dogs without proper papers and proven lineage into the registry. In addition, they informed the Inquirer that in many cases, "the AKC knows the registrations are suspect but approves them anyway for a fee. The AKC has never undertaken a thorough study of its stud book." (There are actually two AKC books: the registry which lists the names of all purebred dogs registered with the AKC and the stud book which lists all dogs that have been bred.)

Robert Nejdl who became the AKC's first investigator in 1973 and retired in 1994 told the Inquirer the following: When people buy an AKC dog, they expect it to be of high quality and they expect the papers to truly match the dog. But that's not often true. It's just so much window dressing. The American Kennel Club is in the registration business and not the deregistration business. It's the cash cow."

Robert E. Hufford, an eight year employee and a former manager of field agents, stated that the AKC is nothing more than a "moneymaking operation." According to Hufford, "'[t]he AKC is shipping out registration papers daily they knew should have been canceled out. The bottom line is the AKC, they don't give a damn [about conditions] as long as the checks don't bounce.'"

Rona Farley, an inspector from 1991 to 1995, estimated in a court affidavit that 90 percent of the breeders she inspected did not meet AKC record-keeping requirements. She informed the Inquirer that very few noncomplying breeders were, to her knowledge, ever disciplined, sanctioned or suspended. In fact, when breeders failed to comply with AKC rules, the AKC told her to help these breeders re-create records.

Sharon D. Reed, a five year investigator, said that the AKC never wanted dog registrations canceled, even those that were fraudulent. When AKC told her that they didn't want to harm consumers by canceling registrations, she informed them that they were only augmenting the harm. Reed told the Inquirer that "'AKC registration is worthless."

Mike Reilly, an inspector from 1985 to 1994, told the Inquirer that the AKC "'didn't want to know anything that would upset the applecart. They wanted everything to run smoothly, get the registration money, don't make waves. The bottom line is the money.'"

Martie W. King, an investigator for four years, said that the AKC did not want to cancel registrations because if they removed too many dogs, the AKC might have to refund money.

Current AKC inspectors refused to talk to The Philadelphia Inquirer because AKC policy prevents employees from speaking to reporters without permission.

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