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Letter To The Parent Club

TO: Christy Joy – President, Mike Nolan – Field Vice President

DATE: October 27, 2023

We are currently in the mist of another hectic fall with multiple outbreaks of infectious conditions occurring at our field trials. While there has been a lot of discussion, and hearsay, regarding what the issue is, it is clear that it is once again dividing our community. This letter is intended to express my frustration with the current way that this is all being handled. It is expressed as my opinion only and not intended to allude to any person directly.

This is the second straight year that I have personally been involved in this issue. While I know what I would like to see done, it does not make me right or in possession of all the facts and details. As such, I want to limit this letter to the hypocrisy that I see occurring with the issue.

Last year, an effort was made to shut down all the dogs at the St. Croix trial because a dog got sick at the trial. I was vocally against that for a number of business reasons and the lack of proof that any other dog was impacted by the sick dog. The sick dog was at the Colorado trial, as were other dogs that did not get sick. The AKC rule essentially says you must sit 30 days if your dog is in contact/exposed to a sick dog. I think everyone can agree with general understanding of the rule. However, it is being interpreted differently by individual clubs and some dogs are being penalized, while others are not.

The conservative approach is that any dog at a trial that has a sick dog must sit out 30 days. This has been the approach that the Nebraska clubs have consistently used. Other clubs say if you are not showing symptoms, you can run. Now it gets murky. Nebraska took the stance that because I was at Fox Valley, where kennel cough was acknowledged a few days later, I could not run the Nebraska trials 10-14 days later. However, dogs that ran the week after Fox Valley, against dogs that were at Fox Valley the previous week, could run. This defies common sense. If Nebraska was worried about my dog’s exposure 10-14 days previously (generally considered beyond the incubation period), why were they not concerned about dogs that were exposed to my dogs during the incubation period and then were in their incubation period at the Nebraska trial (contact tracing). Hypocrisy.

We have a professional trainer that had dogs with kennel cough. This trainer acted in a professional manner and made it known and was subsequently out for 30 days, as per AKC rules. We had another professional with sick dogs, got a doctor’s note (we can all see how this is riddled with subjectivity), and was allowed to go back to running dogs. The Parent Club’s issued guidance indicates that this is ok. However, I cannot find anywhere in the AKC rules that a note exempts you from the 30-day rule. Hypocrisy.

I have requested an opinion from the AKC, which I have not seen a response to. I have asked the Parent Club for a position on what constitutes contact/exposure. I believe this must be solved. Additionally, all clubs should be following the same understanding.

We need leadership. If the AKC is not going to step up, I expect my Parent Club to do it to have consistency in actions and fairness. I no longer care what the rule will be, but it needs to be clarified. I think if your dog is sick, it is already clear that you sit 30 days from the last symptom. But what about the other dogs that were there but are not showing symptoms? Do they sit the next weekend (7-10 days)? Do they sit longer? Do they sit at all?

I have been on both sides. People have tried to stop me from running and I have indicated I would scratch if people that were at the NJ Trial entered the Stillwater trial. Regardless of rumors, I took this stance because the National is 10 days from the trial. My personal risk tolerance would not allow me to risk not being able to go to the National because one of those dogs potentially got sick and we got sidelined due to contact tracing (as I understand has been expressed as occurring at the Parent Club Trial and the Amateur National). I personally think the dogs without symptoms at the NJ Trial should be allowed to run because if we start putting dogs without symptoms on the sideline, I think people will stop being open about sick dogs.

This letter clearly outlines my frustration with what I see as hypocrisy with the issue. I do not care what the Parent Club comes up with for a rule. However, I implore you to show leadership. Put advertising partnerships on the back burner. Put it next to changing the website. This is a real issue to finally put to rest the inconsistencies. We have veterinarians in our community that can offer professional science-based solutions so everyone is working off the same set of cause and effect. Please, my Parent Club, lead us for the benefit of the dogs.

Todd Agnew

Craney Hill Kennel


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