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The American Spaniel Club - Established in 1881

President's Message

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 2015 ASC Board

AUGUST 2017

Thank you July 2017 National Specialty Team

Thank you Show Chair Mary Napper, Assistant Show Chair Julie Virosteck, Obedience & Rally Chair Linda Miller and Agility Trial Chair Dana Dow! These Chairs and their hard-working volunteers did an incredible job to not only insure that the show ran smoothly and ASC had a financially successful show, but also that the participants had a fun and special experience.  

A perfect example of a result of their efforts is reflected in a thank you note the Club received:

This is Mary Ruth, the one who finished the OTCH at your specialty. I wanted a way to send a note to the national club because you guys sooooooo rock. Your generosity, the support, prizes, decoration, helpfulness and friendliness is unlike any other club I have encountered. I have the privilege of attending many specialties because I don't live far from Purina. You guys are the BOMB. When I tell the story to my friends they cannot believe the support you all give the obedience exhibitors.

 

Linda, the obedience chair, being supportive was awesome enough; but, Mary, people were blown away that the "chair of the show" would take interest and support the way you did. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this OTCH so special. 

 

ASC rules!!!! If you can forward this to the national club I would appreciate it. 

 

Thank you again for the privilege of attending such a very special show. 

 

Mary Ruth & OTCH Wildfire Here's Lookin at EWE UDX, OM2 RN 

 

By the way, this is the first time an OTCH has been earned at an ASC-sponsored obedience trial. Mary Ruth and her dog did do at the All-Breed Obedience trial on Sunday.

 

This year’s Pirates in the Cockeribbean theme was evident throughout the entire show and generated a lot of participation from the membership not only in the imaginative costumes but in the decorated set ups. Thank you Marlene Ragusa and ASCF for this idea and the ASCF-hosted Trivia Night Fundraiser.  This is just another example of the lengths ASC volunteers go to make the National Specialty a special experience.

 

Also, thank you Jeanne Grim for all the hard work you do year in and year out to put on the Top Dog Awards Dinner. An important and significant award that is often given out at the Awards Dinner is the AKC Sportsmanship Award.  This year the Award went to Mike Pitts. Mike has shown exemplary sportsmanship over all his many years of exhibiting dogs, whether winning or losing. Congratulations Mike and thank you for all you do in representing cocker spaniels and ASC.

 

An obvious tangible outcome from all this hard work is that the ASC Board has received notice that there have been 13 new membership applications submitted since the National Specialty. 

 

Exciting Happenings

 

ASC continues to expand its agility trials. ASC not only holds agility trials with its National Specialty, but for the last two years, thanks to Vivian Hudson, Sylvia Martinezand their volunteer team in the northeast, ASC has held two free-standing trials in Amherst, New Hampshire. Each year these trials have been held in late June-early July and have been a wonderful successful, both financially and in obtaining new members.Next year the 2018 National Specialty is one week later than normal, so besides the agility trial held in conjunction with the National Specialty, ASC will hold agility trials at Purina Farms from July 19-22, 2018, which is the usual week of ASC’s National Specialty. Thank you to the ASC volunteers who stepped up to make these free-standing agility trials happen.

 

The concurrent specialties at the Flushing Spaniel Show continue to grow as well. Last year the English Cocker Club of America held a regional specialty at Spaniel Club.  This year ASC will have three concurrent specialties at the Flushing Spaniel Show: English Cockers, Welsh Springer Spaniels and Clumber Spaniels.

 

Additionally, at the National Specialty, ASC signed a three-year sponsorship with Purina for a value of $18,000 a year. ASC has had this agreement with Purina for several years, but this is the first time Purina confirmed a three year commitment to ASC. This includes $6,000 in cash each of the three years, irrespective of where ASC holds its National Specialty.  The cash payment is to help the Club support exhibitors’ experience through enhanced hospitality and show services.  The additional value includes 150 customized tote bags with the Show’s logo on the bag, the beautiful Futurity Trophy, and awards and product as trophy prizes.  Not every Parent Breed Club receives a Purina sponsorship package and ASC is thankful for its long-standing relationship with Purina.

 

And last, but not least, ASC will be getting a new website this fall, so we will be announcing more soon!  

 

Revisions to the By-Laws and Code of Ethics

 

In a prior President’s Message, I discussed that the membership would be presented revisions to the By-Laws and Code of Ethics. That will take place this fall. Two of the primary purposes of ASC’s Strategic Plan are to expand membership growth and improve ASC’s financial performance. In order to do this ASC and its activities have to be relevant in today’s society.  As part of this process, the ASC Board will be submitting to the membership for vote revisions to the By-Laws and the Code of Ethics.  The primary change is to provide for an additional membership level for people who can join ASC without sponsorship and at a lower dues amount, but with no voting privileges.  Also, a change is being proposed so as to make the date of the annual meeting flexible and not require that it be held in January.  The proposed By-Laws revisions have been sent to the American Kennel Club for approval.  Once ASC receives the approval from AKC, a more detailed summary of the proposed revisions will be published before the membership is asked to vote.  Just like revisions to the Breed Standard, revisions to the By-Laws and Code of Ethics require a favorable vote of 2/3 of the members in good standing who return valid ballots within the time required time limit.

 

Proposed Breed Standard Revisions

 

The American Kennel Club Board of Directors has approved ASC presenting the proposed breed standard revisions to the membership for a vote. During AKC’s 60-day comment period a number of comments were sent to AKC and those comments have now been made available to the membership for review, both on the ASC Yahoo List and on the ASC Website under the Member Zone.

 

I want to again thank the ASC Board for its proactive and thoughtful leadership through this process.  Because there continues to be some confusion or misinformation regarding the process the Board has gone through, I want to reiterate this almost-two-year process.

 

In October 2015, various ASC officers and Board members were contacted by ASC members who were obtaining signatures on a petition for a standard change to include the color sable. Under the By-Laws, if a petition signed by 20% of the members in good standing is filed, ASC must, within 60 days, publish the proposed standard change to the membership, conduct a 60 day comment period, and within 90 days of the end of the comment period submit the proposed change to the membership for a vote. Also, during this time period the proposed change must be submitted to the AKC Board of Directors for review and AKC’s 60-day comment period.

 

At a December 2015 conference call Board meeting, because the Board knew that a petition was going to be filed, it discussed that it wanted to try to do something to avoid the acrimony and divisiveness that had occurred during the last vote, and that it did not want ASC and the membership to be tied to the strict timeline required by the By-Laws when a petition is filed. The Board expressly discussed that it wanted to handle the standard proposal in a thoughtful manner that was fair to both sides. As a result, the Board decided to ask one of the members involved with the petition to not file the petition and let the Board consider the proposed standard change. The petitioner agreed.

 

At the January 2016 Board meeting, which was held at the Flushing Spaniel Show, the Board reviewed the proposed standard revision for adding the sable color submitted by the petitioners. After discussion, the Board decided there was reason to appoint a standard revision committee, not only to consider the proposed revision, but to consider other possible revisions. The ASC members appointed to that committee were Mary Napper, Chair, Bettie Campbell, Dale Ward, Bonnie Pike, and Colleen Keough. The committee was asked to obtain input from ASC members about what, if any, changes should be made to the standard, which they did.

 

This formation of the Standard Revision Committee was announced at the annual meeting in Knoxville in January 2016. Also, in the 2016 March Bulletin in the Secretary's Report, it stated that the Board had been notified of the interest in changing the standard to include the sable color and in response the Board had "proactively appointed a Standard Revision Committee chaired by Mary Napper, with members Bettie Campbell, Colleen Keough, Bonnie Pike and Dale Ward." The Secretary's Report went on to state that in addition to amending the standard to allow sable, other suggestions included, among others, DQ for blue eyes or eyes with a blue spec. The Secretary's Report in the March 2016 Bulletin explicitly stated:

 

If you have any suggestions for revisions you would like to see made to the standard, please share those with the committee chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

In July 2016, at the National Specialty it was announced that the Board was sending a survey to the membership to obtain additional direct input from the membership, based on proposed changes to the standard, including adding sable as an allowed color. After receiving over 400 responses, the results of the survey were provided to the membership in the September 2016 Bulletin and on this Yahoo List. As to the sable color,the results of the survey showed that 58% of the participating membership was in favorof adding sable to either the ASCOB or Parti variety or both. 

 

After a lengthy discussion in the January 12, 2017 Board meeting, the Board voted to send the proposed standard changes to the membership for a vote. On January 13, 2017 during the Flushing Spaniel show, a meeting was held with the membership announcing the Board's intent to move forward with a vote on the possible standard changes. This discussion included speakers that spoke for and against the proposed change to include sable. Although the exact wording of the changes was not presented, the open discussion about the proposed changes actively started in January 2017.

 

The proposed standard changes were published to the membership on the March 28, 2017 ASC Yahoo List and it was explained that under AKC rules that the proposed changes must be reviewed by the Board of Directors of the AKC and go through a 60-day comment period. Additionally, the individual comments from the July-August 2016 survey were posted on the ASC Member Zone. Questions and comments about the proposed standard change regarding sable started almost immediately on the ASC Yahoo List and continues to today.  Importantly, the membership has already had at least twice as much comment time that it would have had if a petition had been submitted.

 

In going through this process, the Board strictly followed the By-Laws. This Board is well aware that part of what caused hard feelings the last time there was a vote on the issue was because there were members who thought the process was manipulated by the ASC Board. This Board was, and continues to be, very intent on that not being the case this time. If the Board had not taken the actions it did, the petition to add sable would have been filed and the issue voted on in approximately July 2016. The membership would not have had the opportunity to consider other possible changes to the standard, it would not have had the opportunity to fill out a survey providing input to the Board on the proposed changes, and it would not have had over six months of discussion. 

 

The Board has not endorsed any of the proposed changes to the standard. The proposed standard changes are being submitted to the membership for a vote because one way or the other the sable color was going to be voted on -- either by petition or through the current process. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings regarding the process and how we got to where we are today on the issue.

 

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the Board.
Linda Moore

 

 

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