Event Secretary Rule
Posted on 01/20/2012 in DED News.
UNITED KENNEL CLUB, INC.
KALAMAZOO, MI, Jan. 20, 2012 –Thank you for your comments regarding the newly introduced UKC Secretary policy (UKC Event and Trial Secretaries). We have had several similar comments so I wanted to address them myself and also take the opportunity to reiterate a few points for clarification. First, I want to confess and apologize that, in the essence of time, this is more of a personalized form letter than it is an individual response. I did, however, want to try to address all of your individual concerns as quickly as possible while still juggling a few of the other important issues of the day.
The dilemma, and challenge, of responding is that those of you who have taken the time to write happen to be the same dedicated and concerned people who are involved in well-run, fun, and enjoyable events. Unfortunately, not all events have the same standards.
I’m sure that you know that these decisions are not made without careful research, consideration, and reasoning. In this case, the reasoning is based on two issues that have simultaneously progressed: as our events have grown, the volume of late, incorrect and incomplete event reports and paperwork have dramatically increased. In fact, you might even say it is close to epidemic. If you ever have the chance to come to Kalamazoo, we’d be glad to show you examples. You’d be as frustrated as we and some of our customers are for sure.
At the same time, written and verbal complaints regarding the lack of organization at the events have increased; and just so you know, complaints regarding event disorganization clearly outnumber complaints regarding the new policy - by a lot. These complaints are not asking for rigid, inflexible rules or enforcement, they just want better organization and record keeping. In some cases, a lot better organization.
Specifically, we hear over and over that the unavailability of Event Secretaries, or the Event Secretaries perhaps understandable preoccupation of handling and caring for their dogs, is a major contributing factor to event disarray. The same logic applies to the quality of the paperwork we receive. We absolutely understand that our best people work together and can manage both well, but you are unfortunately not in the majority. Sloppy organization, improper and late paperwork becomes a great disservice to our customers and tarnishes their impression of the event and the club they attended.
I want to be clear – this policy is NOT a result of anyone questioning the integrity of the Event Secretaries, Chairs or UKC Judges. To suggest so is to miss the seriousness of the issue and grossly misinterprets not only our intent, but our general philosophy regarding the UKC approach to dog events. Again, integrity is not the issue!
There have also been mentions that this change will cause the UKC to lose money. While I disagree, I have no problem whatsoever creating a policy or change that has the potential to “lose money” short-term as long as it is the right thing to do for the dogs or the future of the sport. Those who know me understand that to imply otherwise is, well, more of an insult than a strategy. We want more shows, but we want better shows first.
I also want to address the comments about us trying to “turn this into the AKC” … ask the rest of our staff if there is a better way to “raise my hackles”! To suggest so is not only absolutely wrong, it also shows a lack of believing in and understanding the mission of the UKC. Here’s the thing: the AKC does indeed run organized events. So do Kennel Clubs I’ve visited in England, Mexico, Ireland, Portugal and elsewhere. However, none of these registries have a patent on organized events nor does “organization and efficiency” preclude a registry from being unique! If the charge is that we are trying to make our events run as efficiently as possible, while still maintaining a relaxed, flexible, fun family environment with our Total Dog approach and without professional handlers, then we are indeed guilty.
To continue to grow our sport and to have events that people want to return to and become a part of, we need to work TOGETHER to improve our events. So far, very few of the complaints regarding this policy have offered viable solutions. The most popular solution worth consideration that we have heard is to “appoint an assistant trial secretary”. That suggestion does, however, come with concerns: if Event Secretaries are as difficult to recruit and retain as you are saying, where will these “assistant secretaries” come from? And what happens if they both have dogs that end up running at the same time? These are not insurmountable hurdles, but are hurdles just the same.
We’ve also heard that some exhibitors will leave for other registries, the irony of which is extraordinary because they’d be going to places with far more stringent policies regarding the exact same issues and where the integrity of Secretaries, Chairs and Judges is under constant regulation and scrutiny. What we all want, I believe, is to the fix the problem while maintaining the same UKC culture that we all enjoy!
On our end, we have invested a lot of time and money into the Event Advocate program, an investment that will clearly cost us far more than it earns short-term. We feel very strongly about the positive long-term impact of this program and are confident in the dedicated and enthusiastic UKC people involved. We made this investment to help clubs learn to host better shows, not to punish or police anyone. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
We have already found events that those of you who are dedicated enough to write would probably find appalling. If it was your first show, you would never have gone back. We need to fix this issue across the board and across the country if we are going to continue to move forward.
The Event Advocate Program is one constructive solution to effect positive change. We would love to hear others - I can think of no better people to hear from than those of you who were concerned enough to write in the first place. So ask your fellow exhibitors, judges, event secretaries and anyone else with a leash and a good attitude for their suggestions (suggestions, not opinions, we have plenty of those!) and let us know.
I have no problem considering temporarily delaying this policy’s effective date if we get some constructive, viable, solutions.
And by the way please contact us, more specifically the UKC Dog Events Department, directly. You probably know this by now, but anonymous correspondence, public whining, and inflammatory statements on message boards have the opposite effect than intended. Instead of helping the situation, they unfortunately do nothing but remind us of the gap between those of you who are concerned enough to send positive constructive comments and those who just want to go on complaining while their unorganized events continue to discourage exhibitors, old and new.
Thank you again for taking the time to write, for your dedication to the sport, and for your participation in the well-run, family fun, UKC events that we all have enjoyed for many years.
Established in 1898, the United Kennel Club is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. More than 60 percent of its 15,000 annually licensed events are tests of hunting ability, training, and instinct. UNITED KENNEL CLUB prides itself on its family-oriented, friendly, educational events. To find out more about registration and events, call or visit our website. Phone: (269) 343-9020; Fax: (269) 343-7037; www.ukcdogs.com.
United Kennel Club, Inc. 100 E. Kilgore Rd., Kalamazoo MI 49002-5584
Phone: (269) 343-9020; Fax: (269) 343-7037; www.ukcdogs.com