Report Alleges American Kennel Club Lobbies Against Puppy Mill Laws

humane societyPurebred dogs are the picture of perfection, and their popularity was highlighted at the recent Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. But an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States alleges that the American Kennel Club – a major player at dog shows – has opposed more than 150 different laws around the country that would help protect dogs in puppy mills. That includes the puppy mill regulation passed by Tennessee lawmakers in 2008 that was not renewed last year. Leighann Lassiter, the Tennessee state director of the Humane Society of the United States, says the AKC played a role in what transpired. “The Kennel Club actually fought against keeping that regulation in place for Tennessee,” Lassiter says. “In 2014 Tennessee became the first state in the nation to ever go backwards on puppy mill regulation.” Lassiter says in addition to lobbying efforts, two former AKC “Breeders of Merit” reportedly were found to be keeping dogs in poor conditions after recently passing their AKC inspections. A spokesperson for the American Kennel Club says the organization would “never support disreputable breeders,” and any violation of their policies is met with a quick response. Kathleen Summers, director of outreach with the Society’s Stop Puppy Mills campaign, says the AKC has an incentive to register more dogs. “There’s a profit motive involved,” says Summers. “The AKC does get income from litter registrations and the more puppies they can register, the larger their market share as a dog-registry organization.” Lassiter says the best thing consumers can do is investigate breeders before doing business with them, and adds if they decline your request to visit their facilities to pick up the pup, it could be an indication they don’t have the dogs’ best interest at heart. “They’ll tell you ‘I live too far into the country, you won’t be able to find my house, just let me just meet you in town in a parking lot,'” says Lassiter. “They come up with all kinds of excuses not to let you see their kennel and if someone won’t let you see their kennel don’t buy a puppy from them.” Lassiter also emphasizes many purebred dogs can be found at local animal shelters and asks consumers to report any suspicious breeding facilities they encounter to the local authorities.