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When POLITICS become PROJECTS, we get RESULTS.  It was AKC's support of PAWS that made it a Project.   You will now decide the future of the AKC and of the purebred dog.  PAWS has divided the fancy more than ever before.  As a voting member of a member club YOU have the power to bring about the right  RESULT.  And remember, the uninformed owner thinks PAWS is a good thing so send this link to everyone!

Our purpose is to illuminate, not to burn.  Help us turn on the lights!


The 800 pound Gorilla and the Circus

By Louis A. Fallon

The Scheduled appearance of Mr. James S. Holt, PhD, the AKC Government Relations Consultant, to appear as a speaker at the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs educational seminar to be held in conjunction with the 2005 Fall Tar Heel Cluster Championship dog show circuit in North Carolina, has been cancelled.  Here are the details.

Mr. Holt was invited to speak by the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs (NCFDC) on the subject of the proposed PAWS legislation.  Mr. Holt’s client, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is in favor of the proposed legislation.   Mr. Holt’s intelligent, well organized and articulated views are found on the Internet at the AKC website  and were first presented on June 13, 2005 at the Delegate Meeting of the AKC held in Chicago Illinois.  Mr. James S. Holt’s credentials include representing AKC and the sport of dogs before Congress and to other associations and interest groups active at the federal level.  He is a senior economist with the law and government relations firm of McGuiness, Norris & Williams in Washington, D.C.  He has been in Washington, D.C. since 1978 after spending 16 years on the faculty at Penn State University.  Jim Holt has been involved in purebred dogs for over 40 years as a breeder, exhibitor, handling instructor and dog show announcer.  He was the AKC delegate from the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America for 15 years and served on AKC's Board of Directors for four years.

North Carolina Federation Of Dog Clubs is composed of member dog clubs with people much the same as can be found at any dog show in these United States.  People that like dogs, read about dogs and attend dog oriented seminars to learn more about dogs.  There are no barn burners, no wide-eyed radicals in the North Carolina dog clubs any more then there are in any other dog club, dog federation or individuals attending any dog show.  People in different parts of the USA may dress up or down as the local custom calls for, we may pronounce our words slightly differently with a local dialect, but we all know a good dog when we see one.  A poor dog which has been artificially changed, enhanced, doctored or presented by a great dog handler is still a poor dog.

A proposed piece of political legislation, like a show dog, should be examined, a hands-on examination, moved around the ring, and then compared against other dogs or legislation.

Ms. Cindy Cooke, J.D. was also invited by The North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs to present the viewpoint against the proposed PAWS legislation.  Ms. Cooke is also a paid legislative consultant to a nationally known dog registration organization, in her case it is the United Kennel Club (UKC).  The UKC opposes PAWS and Ms. Cooke’s reasoned opposition is available at webpage  Ms. Cooke’s credentials include being an attorney, the AKC Delegate from the Kalamazoo Kennel Club, service with the Air Force JAG, a Court hearing Officer, Vice President of Dog events at the UKC and an active dog breeder of Scottish Terriers.

The plan of the NCFDC was to have both speakers present their respective viewpoint on the proposed PAWS legislation.  The audience could then submit written questions to a moderator, who would then ask questions of the two speakers.  It was a typical dog fancy educational seminar that people attend to advance their education about dog related matters.  The decorum and demeanor the same as found in the televised Presidential debates.

Both Mr. Holt and Ms. Cooke would be welcome speakers before any dog club, federation or dog oriented organization.  Listening to their viewpoints, both for and against the proposed PAWS legislation, would benefit all participants in the wonderful world of pure-bred dogs.   Ms. Cooke has spoken in February 2005 before the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada on the subject of dog breed legislation.  Mr. Holt appeared in June 2005 before the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs as an advocate for PAWS and his co-speaker that day was Mr. Thomas W. Evans, the Virginia Federation Legislative Liaison.  Jim Holt also made two appearances at dog shows in California and Washington last month. 

The dog fancy is the loser in not having these two talented articulate people, Mr. Holt and Ms. Cooke, on the same platform to present their respective viewpoint on the proposed PAWS legislation, before an audience of dog owners.  Imagine two top dogs in your favorite breed both invited to appear before a national specialty dog show, the dog fancy audience eagerly looking forward to watching the presentation and then having been told - permission to hold this dog show is withdrawn or not given.  There is only one 800 pound Gorilla that abuses its power to cancel dog shows or dog related events.

As the entertainer, stand-up comedian and actor Mr. Dennis Miller has said, the 800 pound Gorilla can sit any place it wants, it can do whatever it wants.  In the wonderful world of the pure-bred dog sport the 800 pound Gorilla has the power of economic life-and-death. The 800 pound Gorilla approves or disapproves dog shows and the people that take part in dog shows.  Dog show superintendents, dog show judges, dog show handlers, dog show exhibitors, and the multitude of dog club volunteers all speak softly and stand aside when the 800 pound Gorilla waddles down the aisle.  Most people don’t have an extra five-figure dollar amount to retain a competent law firm like Rifkin, Radler & Kremer in New York  to represent them before an AKC investigation or to appeal a denial of basic American due process of law when the 800 pound gorilla grunts.

A telephone call from the 800 pound Gorilla, from one of its 500 employee voices, will almost always have the desired result.   It takes a brave and wealthy individual to say “no” to the voice of the 800 pound Gorilla.

Intimidation to cancel the approval of a previously approved educational dog related seminar on the subject of the proposed PAWS legislation would be Gorilla child’s play to an 800 pound Gorilla whose history includes economic retaliation, intimidation, false charges, false arrest, suspension and expulsion.

Mr. Holt had issued a statement on his withdrawal from the confirmed invitation to appear before the North Carolina audience.  Ms. Cooke has also issued a statement on the subject of the North Carolina educational seminar that was cancelled, with first hand details.  Both statements are attached (links below) and I urge you to read and think about what each of these two intelligent, articulate people have to write.  I have read the statements, read several private emails on this subject, contacted people that were involved and reached a conclusion - the 800 pound Gorilla decided it didn’t want the North Carolina educational seminar to take place, especially not in its back yard.

The circus clowns.  The word “circus” has been used in a pejorative way in connection with the cancellation of the North Carolina Dog Federation debate.  Well, some of my neighbors think that I am funny, like a circus clown, because I spend time training my dogs, neighbor’s dogs, rescue dogs and foster dogs in basic dog obedience.  Maybe I am a funny circus clown, like the other dog people in the 5,000 USA dog clubs that invest hundreds of hours, each and every year to host dog shows and dog events; we also train and take therapy dogs to visit hospitals and shut-ins, we try to make people smile, to enjoy dogs. To make people happy just like a circus clown would.

Did you know that there are 70 male circus clowns that are members of a dog club in New York City?  One day many years ago a wise old circus clown proposed that their dog club members wear tuxedos, Penguin suits, to their annual dog show.  This unique attraction caught the public’s interest and people actually paid big money to come in to see a dog show with 70 male clowns in Penguin suits walking around.  The tradition continued so that today those dog club circus clowns dressed in Penguin suits invite the general public to pay a $47.00 admission fee to watch a dog show and see the dog club circus clowns in Penguin suits stroll around.

That New York dog club has operated a successful dog club marketing effort for over 100 years.  Their first three day dog show was so successful an entertainment for the general public, persuading people to come in and pay to look at dogs, that those wise old clowns extended the dog show for one extra day to bring in a larger paying audience.  It is pretty funny when you think about it, people paying to look at dogs, paying admission to look at dogs that you can see for free on any street.  Over the years the 70 Penguin circus clowns in New York have added special attractions, exhibits and other enticements to bring the public in to see the dog show circus along with the dog show competitions.

Other dog clubs and federations also learned that marketing creativity paid off with greater public admission participation and an increased treasury.  That in turn, allows the dog clubs and federations to make donations to dog-oriented rescues, humane societies and other worthy non-profit groups.  Paid admissions with special events are the path to financial solvency for dog clubs and federations.  Today there is a dog club in Detroit, Michigan that has a championship dog show competition, obedience, agility, canine good citizen, dog seminars, dog related exhibits and even a Girl Scout Troop where participants can earn Girl Scout merit badges in dogs.  The public paying admission audience likes the dog show, the dogs, the dog show circus clowns, the girl scouts and the other special event attractions.

A dog show is a combination of show business, entertainment and competition between the dogs.  I have seen talented showmanship from exhibitors like Mrs. Glorvina R. Schwartz who exhibited her Afghan Hounds is a custom-made divided skirt that opened and flowed out like her Afghan’s fur when they both made a turn.  The audience applauded her showmanship, along with the quality of her Afghan as they went on to win multiple Best In Show’s.  I have observed the show business management skills of the late Mrs. Ramona Van Court as she managed the Westbury Kennel Association annual championship dog shows with a skill that a circus ringmaster would envy.   Her dog club show was planned, organized and executed like the 3-ring circus that plays in Madison Square Garden every year.  But Mrs. Van Court and a legion of 5,000 other dog show chair-people run 12 to 15 dog show rings at the same time instead of a mere 3 rings like you see in a circus.

The economics of hosting a Championship dog show today require paid audience participation with an admission fee.  Sponsorship would be nice, but there are 15,000 dog shows and not enough sponsors and sponsorship money to go around.  The 70 male circus clowns in Penguin suits, a Girl Scout Troop, a visit from a Presidential candidate, or the Governor of New Jersey presenting the Best in Show trophy, whatever it takes to bring the general public in to show them our wonderful world of the sport of pure-bred dogs.

In Closing, I cite the lyrics of the closing paragraph of the song  Send in the Clowns, as sung by Barbra Streisand, “Isn't it rich, Isn't it queer, Losing my timing this late in my career, And where are the clowns, Quick send in the clowns,  Don't bother, they're here.”

Dateline Sept. 2, 2005

Author Louis A. Fallon has been a pooper-scooper and dog club volunteer since 1970.  One of his great-grandfathers, Charles J. Peshall, Esq. of Jersey City NJ was a founding father of the AKC, the first chairman of the AKC Stud Book Committee, the lawyer that wrote the first set of AKC bylaws, a Field Trial and Bench Show exhibitor and Pointer breeder.

A great deal has since transpired and details will continue to develop. 

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