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The AKC Marketplace: Everything You Need To Know!

Advocacy 03.08.2019
By Jill Caren
AKC Marketplace Just A Puppy Store
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AKC Marketplace Just A Puppy Store

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.

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2019/06/12/nearly-200-dogs-rescued-from-filthy-home-of-westminster-winning-breeder/

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Dog-Hoarding-New-Jersey-Hundreds-Dogs-511185661.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_NYBrand

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.

Sources:

https://komonews.com/archive/dog-show-judge-charged-in-animal-cruelty-case-11-21-2015

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Animal-cruelty-charges-filed-against-Issaquah-dog-3540222.php

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.

Sources:

https://helenair.com/news/local/dog-breeder-defends-kennel-operation/article_a9198330-1883-11e2-91d8-0019bb2963f4.html

https://helenair.com/news/crime-and-courts/chilinski-gets-years-suspended-in-malamute-abuse/article_620df482-4a09-11e2-92c9-001a4bcf887a.html

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/mt-supreme-court/1674860.html

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.

Sources:

https://lawandcrime.com/crazy/dog-breeders-of-the-year-charged-with-animal-cruelty/

Lynne Hackney & Miles Allen – Mississippi

Dont Use American Kennel Club Marketplace

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?

Sources:

https://www.picayuneitem.com/2016/04/hackney/

https://news.orvis.com/dogs/mississippi-breeders-charged-with-animal-cruelty

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.

Sources:

https://abc11.com/archive/9206128/

https://www.complaintboard.com/nc-great-danes-l8228.html

https://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11462859/

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.

Source:

https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/rhode-island-committees-consider-mix-good-bad-bills-week-contact-legislators/

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.”

Source:

https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/ia-resolution-impacts-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!

Source:

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/why-californians-need-to-worry-about-ab-485-the-pet-store-bill/

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.

Source:

https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/illinois-committees-consider-allowing-private-citizens-remove-animals-vehicles/

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.

Source:

https://blog.humanesociety.org/2018/05/new-hampshire-fight-reveals-american-kennel-club-champion-puppy-mills-not-dogs.html

https://www.akc.org/legislative-alerts/new-hampshire-update-dog-breeder-bill-failed-conference-committee/

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.

Dirty money

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.

https://www.today.com/video/rossen-reports-akc-failing-to-protect-dogs-28587075513#51729986

Final thoughts

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.

The Truth Behind The American Kennel Club's Marketplace

Jill Caren

Jill Caren Bio Logo

Jill Caren

Jill is the owner and creator of CharityPaws and has been involved in animal rescue for over 12 years as a volunteer and board member for Jersey Animal Welfare Society. You can read all of her articles here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Denise says

    It’s appalling how many AKC breeders find themselves in trouble. Sadly, unethical and downright illegal behavior goes on even with their “breeders of merit”. There is a Doberman breeder in GA who does not use a vet to crop ears! She admitted to me and when I told her she was wrong, her excuse was vets can’t do show crops. I was horrified when I found out! How can a non vet give proper pain management? They can’t! But it’s all about that ribbon even if it means torturing a puppy! I personally would never buy from an AKC breeder again. I personally stopped an AKC champion from going into rescue because the breeder wouldn’t take him back.

    • Jill Caren says

      OMG that is horrible about the Doberman! I never understood why a dog needs to be “changed” in order to meet someone else’s idea of perfection. Thank you for your thoughts – and doing what you can to make a difference!

  2. Michele L says

    Sorry but I disagree. I also tried to adopt a collie from a rescue, but they would not let me have her, because I would not allow her to sleep in my bed!!! Seriously? I feel the rescue groups are worse than the people you mentioned int his article. Many just wan the money they get for housing the dogs and they plan them off on any one.

    • Julie says

      Hi Michele, I actually wrote a post about the issues with rescues too and how they are actually helping breeders. (You can see that here: https://charitypaws.com/rescues-failing-homeless-animals/). Sadly the whole system is broken – but I still stand strong that the AKC is not a good option for the reasons noted here. I just hope you got your new best friend! Jill

  3. Vickie says

    I am a RESPONSIBLE breeder and it makes me sooooooo angry when I hear about those breeders that are not responsible and should be put in jail for their in humane treatment of these precious animals. Those that are buying from a breeder need to inspect the living conditions of these poor babies. The one thing that pisses me off are those people condemning those of us that want a pure breed dog saying there are a ton of dogs that need adopted. Well, I always ask if they have biological children because there are a lot of children that need a permanent home. How dare they have there own children when there are soooooo many that need adopted. So with that comparison do not condemn me for loving to help people get the puppy of their dreams. I screen the families that contact me so my babies don’t go to someone that isn’t going to treat them as a precious member of their family. Everyone that has one of my babies tells me how loving and smart they are. My babies are potty trained by the time they go to their new home. So, as was mentioned above, there are good things about buying from a breeder.

    • Jill says

      Hi Vickie – thank you so much for your comments. We are not condemning all breeders, and while we are focused on helping people understand the benefits of adopting a pet, we understand it is not the right choice for everyone. While I support breeders who do it for the love of the breed – what I hate is those that do it solely for the money, which is what we are primarily focused on uncovering in this article. It sounds like you would be a reputable breeder who really loves their babies and for that I thank you!

  4. Sandy says

    How come you don’t offer any central place to go to to adopt a rescued dog?. Going from shelter to shelter is very time consuming.
    Tried the “Find a Pet” site…often Rescue groups don’t contact you back if you live outside their state.

    • Jill says

      Hi Sandy,

      There are already so many resources out there to find a pet like Petfinder.com and adoptapet.com. Most rescues do not adopt out of state which is why they do not contact you back. Also there are local shelters as well in most communities that you can try as well. It is time consuming, but finding the right dog is a process…..I hope you will be patient to find the perfect dog for your family! Jill

      • G Mathews says

        More than once I applied to adopt a bichon frise from rescues, but was rejected because we live in a condo without a fenced yard. We have owned bichons for 20 years, losing our two within months of each other. The entire “rescue” thing left the proverbial bad taste in our mouths. We ended up purchasing a 5 month old boy from a conscientious and ethical longtime bichon breeder, and later adopted an adult female from the same breeder. I originally located her kennel on AKC Marketplace, so while I saw a few litters advertised whose breeders appeared a bit “dicey,” I believe that most are reputable and dedicated to maintaining the breed standard.

        • Jill says

          Thank you for sharing you had a good experience. I actually agree about rescues making it difficult and actually wrote about my own experiences when I was trying to adopt a pit bull and had a horrible time, so I understand why some turn to buying dogs. I still do not recommend the AKC for reasons mentioned here – but am always happy to hear the good stories.

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