I am a vehement adopt don’t shop advocate and while I know there are valid points on both sides of the spectrum, I cannot quantify spending thousands on a purebred dog that you do not know the background of when thousands of dogs die every day in shelters.
Which is why I wanted to talk about the AKC Marketplace.
Our goal is to educate wanna be dog owners on the misleading platform the American Kennel Club has created to buy and sell puppies.
First, I am one of those that does not think dogs should need to be maimed to be considered “perfect” as per many dog show guidelines. If you have to cut off a dogs tail or ears to make it “perfect” – then something is definitely wrong.
Aren’t dogs perfect they way they are?
I do not think dogs should need to be bred for perfection when thousands are being murdered every day.
I have heard all the reasons why we need breeders and why they are not part of the euthanasia problem.
We need to maintain a breeds features.
People who buy from breeders won’t adopt a dog anyway.
Breeders take back their unwanted dogs.
Breeders are safe and care about their pets.
Yes, I heard it all.
But I still disagree with it all.
I guess that makes me close minded and unwilling to change, but when I see dogs being euthanized every single day – I cannot see why we still need to bring new ones into the world. Especially when we have limited laws and organizations overseeing what dog breeders are really doing.
Some of the dogs being murdered in shelters ARE purebred dogs by the way. They are dumped at shelters when dog owners find an excuse to no longer keep them.
But let’s focus on what this article is about, the AKC Marketplace and why we hope you will consider not using it to obtain a new family member.
What is the American Kennel Club?
The American Kennel Club, which has been around since 1884, basically states that they love purebred dogs. Their objective is to advance studies in breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs.
The AKC is also the governing body behind the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which I also will not support in any way.
What is the AKC Marketplace?
It is an exclusive list of AKC registered breeders that you can use to search for puppies for your preferred breed.
Basically, it is an online puppy store – and we hate everything about it. Not just because we are not fans of breeding dogs for profit while so many are dying every day, but because the AKC is NOT holding the breeders to expected standards of care.
Yes, they have investigators that are doing inspections, but at last check they had and estimated 14 investigators for all of the US. There is no way in hell 9 people are inspecting all the AKC registered breeders out there.
So, just how trustworthy is the AKC?
We have covered why we hate anyone buying dogs in our puppy mill article, but is the AKC any different?
Let’s take a look at some stories in the news that show that the AKC may not be all it is cracked up to be. The stories below are of people who have either had litters registered with the AKC or had actually been “inspected” by the AKC – but yet were still found with appalling conditions for the dogs in their care.
Keep in mind, this is what I found in just 30 minutes of research.
NAMES WITHHELD – NJ
Over 200 dogs were rescued and 20 were found dead in the horrific home of a Westminster winning breeder. The dogs were found with a variety of illnesses, lack of human contact and many were pregnant.
Margaret & James Hamilton – Montana
This married couple were well known in the dog show world for raising and selling purebred Chihuahuas and Rottweilers. Margaret was actually a dog show judge and had won awards for Chihuahuas and had some of her litters registered with the American Kennel Club.
They were what everyone considered the perfect couple raising purebred dogs in a loving and healthy environment.
But everything is not always as it seems.
In 2011 police entered their home and found 38 dogs, mostly Chihuahuas living in small crates and in total filth. Feces, dirt, cages stacked in a dark basement is how these dogs lived. Music blaring so the barks would not be heard. 13 of those dogs would be euthanized that night because of the horrific health conditions.
In another residence they owned not too far away, 62 more dogs were seized who were also living in horrific conditions, with 1 being euthanized.
The AKC made a statement that yes, Margaret Hamilton had registered 4 litters with them, but they had never been subject to an inspection. She was litter stripped of her AKC privileges.
Mike Chilinski – Montana
Mike Chilinski, who actually had been inspected by the AKC and passed, was raided back in 2011 and was found housing 161 Malamute breed dogs. He was another breeder who was respected and had dreams of being a dog show judge.
These dogs were living in filth, eating their own feces and had diseases and cancerous growths. Dead dogs were found outside the kennels. Five of the rescued dogs died within weeks – 18 pregnant female dogs were also saved, but sadly half of their litters did not make it do to poor nutrition.
The A.K.C. inspectors had visited his kennel in 2008 and 2009 and was said to be in compliance with about 60 dogs in his care.
Bonnie & Wilson Pike – New Hampshire
A case from 2019 where a New Hampshire couple was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after 18 of their Cocker Spaniels were removed after being found living in horrific conditions.
They were known as award winning breeders – you can see them listed here for being the breeder of the year with the AKC for the sporting group in 2018
They were discovered when someone who was on the property notified authorities that dogs were being kept in the basement. What was found was dogs that were being housed 2 to a cage and lying in their waste. A litter of puppies that were upstairs in clean kennels were not removed.
While the dogs were said to be in OK health – the conditions they were living in were not at all healthy.
The Pike’s also had a visit back in 2016 for a similar complaint.
But the AKC still awarded them breeder of the year.
Disturbed yet? I am.
Lynne Hackney & Miles Allen – Mississippi
Over 60 Australian Cattle dogs were seized that were found to be living in absolutely deplorable conditions. The kennels were filled with excrement and urine and many of the dogs had broken teeth, missing pieces of their ears, body sores and more.
A satisfactory report was given to the kennel by the AKC on October 2, 2014.
On October 10, 2014 a raid was conducted on the property where the same animals were found in filthy conditions.
The AKC made a statement that the owner of the kennel must have not been cleaned since their October 2, 2014 visit. But based on the images we have seen, there is a lot more than 8 days of filth in these kennels – and the dogs did not become in such poor shape in 8 days either.
The picture on the right was taken at the facility – if this is acceptable to the AKC investigators – then what can you expect they have on their AKC Marketplace?
Joseph & Cynthia Williams – North Carolina
Just months before their North Carolina kennel was raided and 28 Great Danes & Mastiffs were found in “serious to severe” condition, the Williams had been inspected by the AKC. A large amount of complaints from buyers is what resulted in the raid.
The AKC noted the 34 Mastiffs and Great Danes in their care were in acceptable condition. 2 items on their list were marked as needs improvement and these were for kennel construction and signs of untreated and visible wounds. But the AKC found them otherwise in compliance with their requirements.
Three months later 28 of those dogs would be seized.
The dogs were looked over by a veterinarian and were determined to be in very poor health with most being chronic injuries that had been there for a long period of time.
Sadly, this case had a horrific end when Joseph Williams took the life of his child and himself a year after the raid.
The video below will show you how an AKC approved facility is allowed to keep their dogs. In my opinion keeping dogs in crates with tarps above them is NOT acceptable. It has also been noted that the dogs were not receiving acceptable play or exercise time.
AKC Opposes Animal Protection/Awareness
Below are just a few of the many instances we found where the AKC has opposed important animal protection actions or awareness campaigns.
AKC opposes House Bill 7477 in Rhode Island
This bill requires pet stores to only sell cats or dogs from shelters, pounds or rescues. This law also prohibits the sale of dogs or cats on roadsides, parkways or other outdoor market.
AKC opposes Puppy Mill Awareness Day
They want dog breeders to contact their representatives to not recognize Puppy Mill Awareness Day. This is directly from their website:
“AKC encourages responsible dog breeders in Iowa to contact their State Senator and Representative, county supervisors, and Governor Branstad TODAY and ask them not to support a resolution to recognize “Puppy Mill Awareness Day” and instead respectfully educate them about the important roles dog breeders have in the state, to consumers, and the future of well-bred dogs. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center “Key Issues” page for more talking points on responsible dog breeders.”
AKC opposes AB 485 in California
AB 485 in California is a bill that would prohibit the sale of a dog, cat or rabbit in a pet store unless it was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group, as defined, that is in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter, as specified.
This bill was passed and made into law!
AKC opposes legal allowance for people to save pets from hot cars
Not sure why the AKC is even involved with this one, but they were opponents of 2 bills proposed in Illinois, House Bill 4191 and Senate Bill 2294. These bills allow people to rescue dogs from hot cars after notifying police of course.
Somehow the AKC thinks this is a bad thing and will lead to stolen dogs, potential community risks and more.
AKC opposes Senate Bill 569 in New Hampshire
A more recent case of the AKC siding with puppy mill style breeders is the Senate Bill 569 in New Hampshire. This bill has the support of shelters, law enforcement, prosecutors and more, but not the AKC.
The bill would put the financial burden of caring for rescued animals on the perpetrators of the cruelty instead of the taxpayers and local community. It also reformed commercial breeder regulations and strengthened penalties for cruelty.
The bill flew through the state senate but hit a roadblock when it got to the Agriculture Committee. Why? Well because the AKC has a strong hold on the committee. Oh – and the AKC paid $1,000 to the former chairman of that committee for his help in defeating the bill.
Breeder sues the American Kennel Club
So maybe it is just me, but I think it is a pretty bad sign when a dog breeder sues the AKC!
Hailey Parker, a breeder of Coton de Tulear dogs filed a lawsuit against the AKC claiming that the AKC has a reputation for being associated with commercial breeding operations and are putting breeds at risk with their practices. Coton de Tulear breeders did not want their breed to be AKC recognized for fears of the breed then becoming too popular and mass produced.
Sadly, they did not win the case and the breed is recognized by the AKC.
So for one I would like to thank Hailey Parker for her attempts at doing the right thing. If I were ever to buy a dog from a breeder, it would be her since she clearly cares about the breed – not the money.
Another breeder is called a traitor
Another example of what we would consider a good breeder! Ted Paul breeds Salem collies and has been a dog show judge for over 40 years and when he was asked to support a new bill in Oregon House Bill 2470 – he was all over it.
The bill was proposed to limit the number of dogs a breeder could have to 25.
Personally, I think even 25 is too many – who can properly care and exercise and love 25 dogs – and the puppies they have too?
But it is a start.
But because he agreed to support the bill, the AKC called him a traitor and stopped inviting him to judge events. Although this happened a while ago – it still shows that the AKC does not have the best interest of the animals in mind.
In 2010, the AKC had an estimated $61 million in annual revenue.
Most of this income is from registration fees from members of the organizations – including the members listed above who have been charged with abuse and neglect of the dogs in their breeding facilities.
Dirty money in our eyes.
Still not enough to convince you?
Check out this expose by the Today show on the American Kennel Club.
While I am a big advocate for animal rescue and want to encourage more people to adopt, I understand that there are those that prefer pure bred dogs – I just hope you really do your homework with the breeder you choose to go with.
Am I saying that EVERY AKC registered breeder is bad – absolutely not, but sadly the stories of bad breeders are becoming more common. Just because they say they are AKC certified should not be enough anymore.
What I have provided in this article are facts about the AKC – where they stand, where they are lacking and how little care they have for the animal welfare of the AKC registered breeders dogs.
I hope this has given you enough to think about to avoid their AKC Marketplace.