I had a comment regarding my post of 6/26 on AKC Registered dogs that actually come from puppy mills. You may remember the photo of the deformed Italian Greyhound born in a puppy mill and used as a breeder dog before she was rescued. The post was actually an email sent to me from a fellow rescuer who has extensive experience rescuing dogs and puppies from puppy mills. We have a BAD problem with puppy millers here in Georgia and Tommy Irvin, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner, does little if nothing to regulate them.

Here is my response to ADJ’s comment, which I received today.

ADJ Wrote:

“Puppymills are horrible, but it’s not the AKC’s fault. The AKC is a registry. They are not the breed standard police, they are not the ethics police, they simply keep track of the family trees of dogs.

I think we should spend more time educating potential buyers instead of trying to place the blame where it really doesn’t belong.Signed ADJ

Dear ADJ:

I agree more time should be spent educating potential buyers.

My complaint (and that of anyone who has ever been involved in rescue) is that anyone can print off a blank pedigree form, fill it in with made-up names of non-existent dogs, and send it off to the AKC with .25-cents and two Post Toasties box tops (you’d have to be old to remember that) and get their litter and/or dogs “AKC Registered.”

As a result, “AKC Registered,” for the most part, is not worth the paper it’s printed on. It doesn’t mean a darn thing anymore, sadly, except to those, as you said, uneducated people who think if a dog is “AKC Registered,” it’s going to be healthy and well-bred.

Puppy millers know this and that’s why they want their dogs and puppies “AKC registered.” So when they sell them for $150- $500 at the local flea market or out of the back of a car in a parking lot, they’ll get more money. They have no concern whatsoever for the welfare of their breeder dogs, or the puppies they sell, much less ‘BREED STANDARD.’

It’s unregulated, uncontrolled deception on the consumer pure and simple and the American Kennel Club does NOTHING to stop it. They just take the money and say “oh well.”

What I’d like to see the AKC do is have some sort of pre-screening process that would weed out the backyard breeders and puppy mills so they can’t hide their cruelty behind “AKC Registered.” Once the AKC gets an application, they should have a nearby “reputable breeder” go do an inspection of the applicant breeder, their dogs and puppies, and their facilities. But the AKC doesn’t want to do that..they’d rather be a snobby club that travels to dog shows and pats themselves on the back for having preserved the “breed standard.”

I once tried to get the AKC to investigate a puppy miller who claimed her badly bred Shihtzu and Chihuahua puppies were AKC Registered. It took, literally, MONTHS of phone calling and writing to the AKC before they finally acted, but it took me threatening to do a news story before they finally removed her from their books.

It’s extremely disappointing to the rest of us dog lovers and rescuers (and I’ve been rescuing and placing cats, kittens, dogs and puppies for some 30years) to have what should be a dog loving organization that’s beyond reproach and setting the standard for dog breeds to be so completely irresponsible in who they register.

So while I appreciate your comments, ADJ and do agree with part of it, to say “they’re a breed registry, nothing more” is not accurate. They market themselves as the sine qua non of dog registries and they’re not. Which is why so many reputable breeders have left the AKC and started their own breed-specific registries.