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I haven’t been posting anything lately, haven’t checked my blog lately, been busy studying for a continuing education exam in maritime health. I can’t believe how much hits the blog is getting, the Rafael De Santiago (Here on after RDS) article being the most viewed. When I searched Rafael De Santiago right after I posted my interview, my article came out on page 2 of the search BUT now it is in the top 3 on page 1.

This topic has gotten hot. It had to be a quickie so it would still be relevant, done in just 3 days plus research. I’m more of a features writer than news so my apologies. I’ve read a lot on this issue, spoke to as much people as I can, have other emails, other communications at hand but I can’t publish them due to confidentiality and wasn’t permitted or couldn’t get permission. The ones I posted are readily available. I will start with a timeline and snippets of information here and there before making any conclusions.

Early 2000s, China with its burgeoning economy, was holding dog shows left and right. AKC judges, even FCI judges had so many shows to choose from when it came to assignments in China.

This forced FCI to come out with Circular 101-2003 Titled FCI and AKC Judges in 15 October 2003 signed by FCI Executive Director Yves DeClerq. Basically the circular, in agreement with AKC, warned AKC Judges that they will not be allowed to judge at an FCI Show IF they have previously judged a show not licensed by FCI. Incase of any doubt they are advised to get in touch with FCI. The China Kennel Union would become an FCI member in 2006 and under the leadership of Chen Jinfei would become a full/associate member in 2011. CKU being the FCI National Canine Organization (Here on after NCO) of China, plus Circular 101-2003 would put some order in the canine world in China.

Interestingly the circular continued to work, until in 2008 when another registry was formed in the Philippines and challenged the Philippine Canine Club Inc. This club invited mostly judges from the AKC knowing that FCI Judges would not judge for them. This prompted PCCI to communicate with AKC. In a letter dated 24 July 2008, PCCI requested them to stop supporting the Non FCI Club. PCCI would receive what seemed like a bcc or forwarded e-mail dated 28 January 2009 addressed to an AKC Judge, advising him with quotes from the 101-2003 FCI Circular, of the consequences of judging for the other non FCI club in the Philippines, in obvious support of FCI and FCI Circular 101-2003. This would be the last instance (unless some got away with it) wherein an AKC judge would judge for non FCI Clubs. This policy would force Non FCI Clubs to band together and come up with a declaration in February 5-8, 2009 in Germany, under “the other FCI” est. 1977-“Cooperation and exchange of judges recognition by member organizations canine FCI” (the other FCI). This cooperation would lead to the formation of their own roster of judges since AKC judges couldn’t accept invitations anymore from Non FCI Clubs or run the risk of never being invited to an FCI show. The declaration is translated by google from Polish.

email of Mr. Dinky Santos to Mr. James Crowley

email reply of Mr. James Crowley

A quiet and peaceful status quo was maintained until in March 28, 2014 at the Tokyo FCI Asia and the Pacific Section (Here on after APac) Board Meeting. Information allegedly came in that AKC judges were allegedly judging for a Non FCI kennel club in China, Hong Kong, and South Korea. In this Tokyo meeting it was agreed upon to remind those concerned about Circular 101-2003.

September 01, 2014 APac would come out with an APac circular basically with a slight rewording of Circular 101-2003 but would now include the controversial word “Blacklisted”, judges who have judged for Non FCI Clubs, but still maintaining the gist of the original 101-2003 Circular.

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On the same day, September 01, 2014, AKC President and CEO Dennis B. Sprung calls FCI President RDS regarding the APac circular, RDS would tell Sprung that the matter would be discussed in the next FCI Meeting on November 3-4, 2014 in Amsterdam.

October 09, 2014 APac Facebook page posts names of 3 AKC judges who judged in China for a Non FCI Club.

November 3-4, 2014 a General Committee Meeting in Amsterdam, FCI would meet and allegedly, review and discuss the root of the problem eventually deciding to support the APac Section. However it was agreed upon that the word “Blacklisted” would be removed and replaced with the word “Restricted”. It would sound like it was watered down but in principle would still be the same. Allegedly in this meeting, the idea of establishing an FCI office/club in the US was floated for the first time. Maybe it was a joke or just board room banter but whatever it is the idea now has been broached. Imagine a World Show in the US…hmmm.

In December 2014, APac would receive letters of complaint from 2 of the 3 AKC judges. Also on this same month, word began to go around about a rift between the AKC and the APac. Our colleague judges in Japan would be the first to be affected. Word was coming out from Japan about their judges who had confirmed upcoming assignments in the US, being told by AKC that they could not judge in the US. Hiroshi “Harry San” Kamisato, scheduled to judge the Japanese Chin Clubs Nationals is one. Hiroshi San took me out for dinner when I judged for the Tokyo FCI, a very good and gracious man now caught in the middle. Another particular judge already paid for his ticket and accommodations for an assignment. Things were getting messy with fingers pointing at the FCI APac.

Me with JKC Judge Hiroshi "Harry San"  Kamisato when I judged the JKC FCI .

Me with JKC Judge Hiroshi “Harry San” Kamisato when I judged the JKC FCI .

18 December 2014, AKC Executive Secretary Jim P. Crowley would email RDS asking the result of the November meeting but would not get a reply.

January 10-13, 2015, at the PCCI Circuit Show, APac would speak to an AKC Board member and would inform him that the word “Blacklisted” was removed from the circular and replaced with the word “Restricted” but the essence of the original circular would stand. Basically he was informed of what transpired in the November 3-4, 2014 meeting.

February 12-13, 2015, AKC Board meets, and would lead to what is now the circulating and called “19 February 2015 Crowley letter” (link below). AKC took a big and hard bite off the bait.

http://thedogpress.com/AKC/1502-Minutes.asp

FCI

24 February 2015, FCI ExeCom would meet and would reply to Crowley on the same date with just a “Thank you”. Yeah! Way to go FCI!

So what are my observations? What happened between 2008 and 2014? Communications between those concerned, until 2008 seemed to be cooperative. These are my speculations. In 2008 the American Kennel Club (AKC) and a Non FCI club in China entered into a cooperation agreement, making it an exclusive client in China for the AKC Global Service Program. Yup! AKC now has stamped its mighty and respected name and seal on a foreign registration certificate and pedigree, on a dog whelped on foreign soil. I know, you’re probably scratching your head mumbling wtf. Yup! The kennel club that is the pillar of canine registries in the world has ventured into the BPO business!

Of course not far behind was probably AKC recommending to this club in China to use AKC judges. Now they either did not tell their judges the consequences of judging for a Non FCI club and are now doing damage control to pacify these angered judges. OR probably, when questioned by their judges about Circular 101-2003, they were told to accept the assignment and assured them that they would handle/fix/take care of things thus leading to the threatening letter of Crowley. Another possible reason is that AKC is now forced to show their client that AKC is the boss, otherwise they will just be an ordinary BPO and not the mighty AKC. Sprung and Crowley have allegedly said, not on an official capacity, that all previous agreements with FCI have been thrown out the window because of their new partner in China. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is true because after all business is business. They are generating income from this club and nothing from FCI.

So what are my points and facts?

1. There exists a circular-Circular 101-2003 formulated by the FCI Executive Board and not FCI APac, please remember this fact. FCI APac was not acting on a unilateral whim but just implementing what was agreed upon in Tokyo in March 2014 and what is an 11 year old circular at the time.

2. Did FCI APac act without the knowledge of the FCI Executive Board? Yes because they felt, that implementing an old and existing circular did not need a bye-your-leave from Belgium.

3. Was RDS/FCI correct when they said FCI APac acted without their knowledge? Yes BUT only probably for APacs rewording of the original circular and most of all probably for using the word “Blacklisted”. If I were to speculate, FCI definitely agreed and supported the FCI APac, HOWEVER, knowing that RDS is a PR man, the FCI Executive Board probably would have worded the APac circular in a more diplomatic tone but still being the same Circular 101-2003. This is why the best damage control that FCI could do is to change the word “Blacklisted” to “Restricted”, a less bitter pill to swallow but still a bitter pill none the less. They agreed with what had to be done but did not agree with the wording. I still believe and have faith that RDS is a team man and I do not see the rumors going around that the FCI Executive Committee has abandoned APac holding any water. There is some animosity in APac and those against the present APac have been using that RDS quote as a message of non support to APac.

4. Is there an actual sinister “Blacklist”? Tradecraft between FCI NCOs? A secret flash drive with encrypted AKC judges names hidden in a safe in a false wall? Personally, the first time I heard it, I thought it was just a frikin figure of speech! The Judges Community has gotten small because of social media and technology such as the Internet. Everyone, not just Kennel Clubs know who judged for whom, APac is just one of them, even in the absence of an actual “Blacklist”. It is Circular 101-2003 and not APac, that has made every FCI Member Kennel Club conscious if not wary about who they are inviting. I’m sure, since the implementation of Circular 101-2003, probably every FCI member Kennel Club’s procedural manual for inviting judges includes a verification of where a prospective invitee judge has previously judged. It is not because we doubt the invitee judge but because by now it is simply part of procedure.

5. Is APac a loose cannon? Not really, the answer here has to be qualified. The decision was made by the APac Board and not one person as rumors are saying. I personally believe APac is not a loose cannon, they are just concerned of the support that AKC is giving these Non FCI Clubs who are within the APac neighborhood. Best I can describe APac is that they are very passionate FCI leaders just as Sprung and Crowley are passionate AKC officers. Remember APac was just reminding everyone of an old circular already in effect and just did it in a strong and adamant manner, ok harsh. If anything maybe, APac could learn some from Talleyrand, otherwise they are just passionate like hell.

6. Personally, the names of the 3 AKC Judges should not have been posted anymore and should be taken down. We should respect everyones right to choose, and they chose the Non FCI Club, the consequence of not being invited to an FCI show should be enough. Let’s not get individual judges in the middle of things. We shouldn’t be used as policy pawns. Them/us judges did not make the policy. IF there is a need to inform other FCI Clubs, then an internal communication should suffice. Circular 110-2003 does not prohibit AKC judges from judging Non FCI Club Shows, it informs them that if they do, they cannot be invited to an FCI Show in the future.

7. If proper and open (but private) channels of communication prevailed for everyone concerned, this would have been avoided. FCI already had the upper hand, an ace up its sleeve with Circular 101-2003 which was already in effect anyway, acknowledged by AKC in previous communication and validated by their actions, unfortunately just up to 2014. Rarely does a skirmish in a DMZ or border lead to an all out war. It usually leads to a lot of flexing of muscles, show of power an increase and tightening of security and eventual dètante or going back to the status quo. IF AKC has officially decided not to honor this circular, it really doesn’t matter because I believe FCI will and should maintain the status quo which means Circular 101-2003 will continue to be in place. Now if they want to ban all of us FCI judges from judging in the U.S. because of a circular implemented almost 12 years ago of which they agreed to, then that is a different matter all together. The status quo is IF an AKC judge judges for a Non FCI Club, they don’t get invited to an FCI Show in the future, all FCI judges can be invited to AKC Shows, no “Blacklist”, no posting of “Blacklisted” names of judges who judged for Non FCI Clubs on the internet. This is the simplest and is a win win solution, this is the Status Quo since 2003. However, the Crowley letter doesn’t seem like they want to revert back to the status quo, it actually sounds like they want to have their red velvet and eat it too. The action of APac has brought out the true colors and interests of AKC but like I said business is business .

As I mentioned in my previous post, an article by Bo Bengston (http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-magazines/dogsinreview/dogs-in-review-february-2010-bengtson.aspx) predicted that the AKC China relationship would become a problem 5 years ago. I tip my hat to Bo for being able to see around corners. I agree with him that all things ideal we live in a Utopian world where everyone gets along. The important thing he mentions, which I believe is the key phrase, “there also has to be a balance of power”. The “19 February 2015 Crowley Letter” reeks of bullying and a total imbalance. IF the crux of the argument of AKC is that AKC Judges should have the right to choose where they can judge then FCI definitely has the right to choose who will judge for them without explanation! AKC suddenly is arguing that they too have a right to choose who will judge for them. The thing is we have a basis for our arguments, a previous agreement called Circular 101-2003, albeit recently harshly implemented.

FCI is meeting this March 2015 for the inauguration of its new offices in Thuin Belgium and also for a final disposition on this matter. As a judge, part of me wants things to pan out for all of us judges regardless of affiliation, but as an FCI judge and FCI member a bigger part of me doesn’t want to be cowered by this letter. IF FCI goes tit for tat with the Crowley letter then there is a good chance of things to go the way of CKC. Here is an article from a favorite site of mine. FCI and CKC have ironed out matters already. I’ll look for an article to post.

http://www.thedogpress.com/ClubNews/CKC.Divorced.by.FCI.0612.asp

To my fellow judges. I don’t care where you got your license, FCI, AKC, ANKC, CKC, NZKC, KC, “the other FCI”, even TMBK2, as long as you are a recognized judge by any club, then you are my friend! I will believe you earned your license the hard way, went through a learning curve and you continue to study. I’ll break bread with you, share a glass of single malt with you, puff a Cuban corona with you. I actually regularly have lunch with a friend who is an all rounder for “the other FCI”! Where we got our license shouldn’t matter. Unfortunately we judges get caught in the middle of all this politics. Let the higher ups deal with things.

To those who are not FCI judges, AKC judges to be specific, you definitely have a choice to judge wherever you want and I’m sure FCI respects that right. BUT I do hope you choose to judge for an FCI NCO. I’m sure you can ask other AKC judges who chose FCI. Odds are higher for you in getting an invite to an FCI Show, the camaraderie between judges of different nations in an FCI Show is just heart warming, fun factor is off the charts, and there really isn’t any other show like an FCI Show much more the World Show.

To FCI-I hope you don’t flinch one bit!

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