As President of the AKC Canine Health Foundation, I would be remiss if I didn’t address an issue affecting the health of dogs and the shameful allegations brought against Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback, Michael Vick. As you have heard, Vick will be in a Federal courtroom in Virginia on July 26 being arraigned on charges that he sponsored a despicable and appalling dog fighting operation on his property.
My concern and sympathy of course goes to the dogs who were allegedly affected and so brutally murdered through the course of this “sport.” But, as a responsible breeder and a fancier, I am also concerned with the general public’s perception of the various breeds involved. According to “The Complete Dog Book,” a publication of the American Kennel Club, there are several breeds originally involved in the “sport” of dog fighting including the Bulldog. Originally bred to bait bulls, the purpose of the breed was sorely corrupted and soon degraded into the extremely cruel “sport” which was banned in England in 1835. Responsible nineteenth century breeders resurrected the breed and set themselves to the task of breeding for temperament and to eliminate the undesirable qualities and characteristics. The result of these dedicated breeders and those of today is the lovable, obedient, and docile dog which regularly garners large rounds of applause from audiences who attend dog shows around the country.
Although dog fighting is banned and a felony in the United States, I can assure you that this disgusting practice is still taking place. From the back alleys of major cities to the posh and stylish mansions of multi-millionaires, this repugnant “sport” is just outrageous and offensive, and it’s our duty asÂ responsible breeders who are concerned about the health of our dogs to speak up and end this criminal activity. I urge you as responsible breeders and dog lovers to expose these atrocities, to work diligently to eliminate these heinous deeds and to join the millions who are appalled and bewildered by these cruel acts.
It is our responsibility to let the general public know that for these precious canine companions it is all about nature vs. nurture â€“ that these various breeds involved in the “sport” are not bred this way, but are baited and beaten into submission and forced to live this life. It’s our duty and obligation to take a stand â€“ for the sake of all our dogs.
Wayne E. Ferguson
President, AKC Canine Health Foundation
The AKC Canine Health Foundation, founded in 1995 by the American
Kennel Club, is the largest nonprofit worldwide to fund health
research exclusively for canines. Our goal is to help dogs live longer, healthier lives. The AKC Canine Health Foundation is the leader in non-invasive genetic health research, stem cell research, and biotherapeutics benefiting both canines and humans. Through the generous financial support of the American Kennel Club and the NestlÃ© Purina PetCare Co., we’re proud to announce we have allocated more than $18 million in canine health research through 74 schools and research institutions worldwide.