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August 25, 2010

American Kennel Club Cuts Ties with Cruel Bear Baiting Competitions after Investigation by The HSUS

HSUS calls on United Kennel Club to follow suit

The Humane Society of the United States welcomes news that the American Kennel Club has reportedly severed ties with a dog breed club that organizes cruel bear baiting events in South Carolina. The news comes after HSUS investigators took shocking video of these events and shared it with the AKC.

At bear baiting competitions, called "bear baying" by participants, a captive bear is tied to a stake in an enclosed area, then set upon with packs of dogs for the entertainment of spectators. The American Plott Association, a breed club until recently affiliated with the AKC, operates one of the major bear baiting competitions each year.

On Tuesday, The State newspaper reported that in a press release, the American Kennel Club stated that "the American Kennel Club does not consider 'bear baying' acceptable" and that the AKC "has never and would never approve this activity." The AKC, the nation's largest dog registry, has rightfully barred the American Plott Association from participating in any AKC activities.

The other group organizing two of the major bear baiting competitions in South Carolina is the National Plott Hound Association, affiliated with the United Kennel Club. The United Kennel Club, the nation's second-largest dog registry, now stands alone in failing to speak out against this barbaric practice.

"The United Kennel Club should follow the lead of the American Kennel Club and take immediate action to end its ties to all bear baiting competitions in South Carolina," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "There can be no excuse for this torment and cruelty, and not a single event like this should be staged anywhere again."

The HSUS is calling on the UKC to sever all ties with the National Plott Hound Association, to bar bear baiting participants from entering dogs in its breed registry and to state that it will not provide any support to bear baiting competitions.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources should also take swift action to end bear baiting competitions. The DNR issued permits for 26 bears to be held within the state and has the authority to inspect all captive bears and revoke permits from permit holders who violate the law.

See The HSUS investigation here.

Background

  • The HSUS conducted a 17-month investigation into cruel bear baiting competitions in South Carolina and attended four events hosted by breed associations affiliated with the AKC and the UKC.
  •  Bear baiting, often called "bear baying" by participants, involved a captive black bear whose claws and some teeth have been removed or cut off. The bear is tethered to a stake in an arena and beset with up to three dogs at a time for up to four hours.
  • One event attended by HSUS investigators was operated by the American Plott Association, a Plott hound breed club that until recently was affiliated with the American Kennel Club. The APA had been "licensed" by the AKC to take part in AKC events and operate as an AKC club.
  • Three events the HSUS attended were operated by the National Plott Hound Association, a Plott hound breed club that is affiliated with the United Kennel Club. The NPHA's logo states that it is "UKC Chartered" and its bylaws state that it is "affiliated with United Kennel Club, Inc. for the express purpose of advancing the principles of the United Kennel Club, Inc."
  • On the advertisement for a bear baiting competition held on Feb. 27, 2010, the event is listed as being "UKC Licensed" and operated by the National Plott Hound Association, a breed club with the statement "UKC Chartered" on its logo.
  • On the advertisement for a bear baiting competition held on April 24, 2010, the event is also listed as being "UKC Licensed" and contains a UKC logo. Next to the listing of the event where three dogs at a time are sent to attack the bear, it is stated that "Trophies for High Scoring packs of each breed [are] donated by The United Kennel Club."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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