A few weeks ago, I received an email notifying me about scheduling for an AKC kennel inspection. My first thought was, “whoa!”, how did I pop up in the sea of thousands of dog breeders throughout the United States? Did someone make a complaint? Did I do something so obviously wrong that it would warrant inspection?
To be on the safe side, I contacted AKC to be sure the email was legitimate and then scheduled the visit for the next week.
At the time, I only had 3 breeding females and my one little male and one litter of 5 puppies on the ground that were 6 weeks old. I wasn’t overly concerned about “appearances” because I have a really nice kennel room in my downstairs that I have recently created and the puppies were running in a large enclosure in my heated and cooled garage since they were at the age to need more space to romp.
My concern was why he was coming and what was he looking for. I know I am no puppy mill, so the oversight felt a bit like “big brother” and that made me somewhat wary. My dogs are house pets and live better than many children.
It turned out that the inspection was quite pleasant. The inspector told me my name bubbled to the top because of the number of puppies I had registered in 2014, the previous year. The number was relatively low because almost all my purchasers are for companion dogs, but I suppose over the threshold. He wasn’t in my region until September because he was from Louisiana and services a large area and schedules accordingly.
I wasn’t sure whether to have my dogs kenneled in their room, running loose in the house as they normally do, or have them outside. I opted to have them kenneled except for my one spayed female which I didn’t feel was in the count and my husband kept her in another part of the house.
The first stop was for him to look in my kennel area. He made no comments but I saw him looking for how I contained my dogs and if they had water buckets or bowls. One of the things on the checklist was to have emergency phone numbers posted and I have those printed and framed on my wall, including my pet sitter who is always on call for me, my adult children and my 24 hour emergency vet. Good on that count.
He asked how I identify my dogs and since mine are all micro-chipped, I released one dog from her kennel for him to scan and spot check against her registration records.
Next stop was for us to chat a bit and go through my paper records. I maintain two file boxes, one for my adults and one with a folder for each litter. He asked me to pull a folder on one adult dog for him to see shot records and registration info. Then he asked me to pull one folder for a previous liter. In the litter folder, he observed that I had names and addresses and phone numbers for each puppy I had sold. I got the impression these records were a very important part of his survey.
Prior to the visit, I was somewhat concerned that AKC asks that the information on purchasers be sent in and I feel that is an invasion of privacy on the part of the folks buying my puppies so I do not do that. If the buyer opts to register their puppy, they volunteer their own info, but in my opinion, it isn’t mine to release to be included in a database.
All good so far and the last question was if I have an emergency plan for my dogs. I wasn’t sure what he meant, so my reply was since I have contact info posted in my kennel room and that those people know my dogs and are on call for them if needed. I don’t know what else I could do to be sure they have safekeeping except for that. With only 6 dogs, I told him I can load them in my van and drive to a safe place in case of natural disaster that would warrant my leaving my home.
We shared some dog stories, his being more interesting than mine since he meets lots of folks and sees lots of different situations, and then the inspection was over. He signed off on the checklist and we parted with a friendly handshake.
All said and done, the inspection wasn’t stressful. However, I’m not convinced that my small number of dogs registered with AKC warranted the time the gentleman spent driving to my house and meeting with me.