Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is American Kennel Club doing enough to protect animals that get its seal of approval

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New accusations that one of the country's largest organizations dedicated to dogs, the American Kennel Club, isn't doing enough to protect animals. TODAY National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen reports.

When you go to buy a puppy, you want it to be happy, healthy and well-treated. A lot of people count on the American Kennel Club to find a breeder. When you see that AKC seal, you think to yourself: "I'm getting a good dog." But we've discovered disgusting conditions and sick dogs at AKC-registered operations.

The Westminster Dog Show is the epitome of canine perfection, and the American Kennel Club is proud to oversee it, calling itself "the dog's champion," registering puppies with official papers and inspecting breeders "to ensure proper care and conditions." Many dog owners count on it, looking for that seal before purchasing a puppy.

But critics say there's an ugly reality you don't see: Some AKC breeders raising diseased dogs, malnourished, living in their own filth. It's so disturbing that now two of the country's largest animal welfare groups, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society, are condemning the AKC.

We asked Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States: "If I'm looking to buy a dog and I see it has been AKC-inspected, AKC-registered, does that mean I'm getting a good dog?"

"Absolutely not. It really is just a piece of paper without any value for dog welfare," Pacelle told us.

Lillian Devera thought she was buying a dog from reputable breeder, impressed by an ad saying they were "AKC-inspected." "I assumed automatically I was getting a very healthy dog that was coming from a quality kennel," she told us.

"What did you end up getting?" we asked.

"A very sick puppy." Sick, she said, with intestinal parasites, an upper respiratory infection and a congenital eye defect. But records show the AKC had just inspected that kennel weeks earlier, and found them "in compliance.

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