AB1634 Economic Analysis Part 3: Commercial and social Infrastructure
In the previous three posts we have examined California, the major population areas, the overall population of people and dogs, the mandated animal (rabies) control organizations, and the general count of dogs being euthanized.
We have given a national overview of the dog population within the human population, as well as the source of the dogs. We have noted that for 150 centuries, dogs have formed an important part of human existence, assisting mankind in hundreds of jobs in thousands of instances.
As the uses of dogs has increased their value to man, the care of the dogs has increased to maximize both the effectiveness and term of that usefulness. Man has created many things for use by dogs, from special diets to equipment and medicines to aid in health and longevity of their prized canines. There are at least 27 Veterinary schools, thousands of veterinary clinics and offices, and veterinary associations for every state. The number of private companies manufacturing, distributing and selling goods for the care and benefit of dogs is practically uncountable, as are the businesses providing training, boarding and grooming services.
In addition to the commercial establishments providing goods and services to the dogs, there are many, many non-profit associations whose sole purpose is to provide specific breeds with guidance, nurture and protection to perpetuate the breed. Additional associations are for all dogs in general, but focus on all purebreds through competition shows as a means of raising funds to assist dogs in society. Still more groups focus on different areas of training, and activities, providing the public with educational support for the training of their own dogs and entertainment at events like agility and fly ball. And even more basic are the sporting dog groups, who do the hunting dog training, and actually perpetuate the skill of gathering food using the assistance of highly talented and well trained dogs. California has over four hundred of these dog clubs serving their communities.
As a matter of fact, I questioned the number in the last paragraph-over four hundred clubs. So, I went to the American Kennel Club web site ( www.akc.org ) and did an online series of inquiries and print outs. The results for California are mind boggling. By just using the detail indexes for AKC recognized club purposes I counted an even one thousand clubs operating for their members and communities. Let me explain: Clubs are organized to promote and perpetuate the proper use of their fancy of the purebred dog. Some breeds are naturally better for one series of purposes and some breeds are naturally better for other purposes. Many get their names from these purposes eg: Pointers-which point out game for the hunter, then find and retrieve it so the game may grace the table and not be wasted. All terriers are earth dogs, going to ground for their job of ridding the farm or domicile of varmints, rodents or other vermin. Retrievers are swimmers, going into the water to retrieve water fowl downed by their owners good shooting and providing sustenance by bringing back the game. Shepherds earn their living by moving livestock and alerting the human herdsman to possible dangers from predators, sometimes even fighting off attacking animals. Clubs called “Specialty Clubs” are organized around the protection, perpetuation and perfection of one breed. They are the largest in number of all clubs in California with three hundred listed.
But, because of the importance of properly socialized and manageable dogs, many of these clubs are listed again under the term “obedience” clubs. This is best recognized as a “club within a club”, or better, “purpose within a purpose”. Members have worked to fulfill requirements established by AKC to qualify the club for obedience competition in, or separate from, their regular conformation shows. In several of these instances, the clubs were also listed under “Clubs Providing Training” for anyone within their community who wants to participate. Usually, such clubs provide the training for a fee, which augments club treasuries as well as benefiting the community with both better behaved dogs and educated dog owners. The “Obedience Clubs” numbered 263. Clubs providing training numbered 29 and are positioned all over the state. Some of these clubs provide all phases of training from basic obedience, advanced obedience, agility, tracking, and conformation ring training. Some are simply training clubs, some are conformation clubs with a high degree of training substance.
I seemed to have mentioned “conformation clubs” without explaining that meaning. This is the largest number of type of club. The specialty clubs conformation clubs number 300, the “limited breed clubs”, those allowing only the breeds from within their group of similarly classed dog breeds, are counted at 13, and the all breed clubs for all the breeds recognized by AKC are 72 strong. This gives 385 clubs involved in conformation. And conformation is what keeps Brittanys being Brittanys and Collies being Collies.This is the animal husbandry that seek to produce the healthiest, most functional, most nearly perfect specimens of the particular breed possible. The dogs will conform to the written standard of the breed in every possible way. These clubs have periodic shows, where exhibitor’s dogs are judged in comparison to one another and the judge’s interpretation of the written standard, and awarded prizes accordingly. Examples of conformation shows are the Golden Gate Kennel Club show at the Cow Palace, and the Eukanuba Championship at Long Beach. Since the avowed purpose of these conformation shows is to find the best breeding stock, each dog must be intact and presumed fertile.
In addition to the Conformation and obedience clubs there are a number of traditional “performance” clubs. These include; 1.Field Trial Clubs (Sporting and hound breeds), 2. Hunting Test Clubs (Sporting and Hound Breeds), 3. Tracking Clubs (Hound and Working breeds, but open to all), 4. Herding Clubs (mostly herding breeds, but open to some others), 5. Lure coursing (Sight Hounds almost exclusively, due to speed requirements), 6. Earthdog trial clubs (exclusively Terrier Breeds), and 7. Agility Clubs, the new sport of the dog running an obstacle course against time. There are also some other activities such as Flyball, rally obedience, and weight pulling. Where the weather allows, there are sled dog clubs.
All these things are AKC type activities. AKC is a registry, an organization that certifies your dogs pedigree based upon available information. Registries also license clubs for championship shows and Give clubs sanction to have practice shows or matches. Registries formulate and enforce the rules applied at official activities bearing their seal of approval.
There are more registries than just AKC. United Kennel Club is almost as old as AKC, but recognizes more breeds. And there are specific breed registries as well. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America maintains it’s own registry, separate of the American Kennel Club. The Border Collie Club of America and the Australian Shepherd Club of America also keep a separate domain of registries and activities. And there are other all breed registries, most not worthy of mention, except to say that these registries are all in response to public demand for additional worthiness of the dog in question.
Dogs and their people in California follow one more American tradition: the right to assemble peaceably for the common good.
Next: What will the effect of AB1634 do to the dog organization infrastructure? And how might that affect the state of California?
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