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Chairman’s bi-AGM KC report
November 2003



I am pleased to report, on behalf of the General Committee, on the activities of the Kennel Club since its Annual General Meeting in May 2003. At its October meeting the General Committee accepted a minor change, and an additional objective for the achievement of the strategic direction of the Kennel Club. The changes are underlined below.

"To raise the relevance of the Kennel Club in the eyes of the public at large, dog owners and those who take part in canine activities so as to be better able "to promote in every way the general improvement of dogs".

This objective to be achieved through:

l Ensuring that the Kennel Club is the first port of call on all canine matters.
l Popularising canine activities focusing on the retention of existing customers and the attraction of new.
l Achieving a widening of the Kennel Club membership base.
l Encouraging more people to provide input into the Kennel Club’s decision making process."
The pace of our performance across all of our activities has not diminished as can be seen from the report which follows. It is evident as a result that the club is moving towards the achievement of its overall objectives.

REGISTRATION &
COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES

Registrations and Transfers

Registrations are up by 13.6% for the first nine months of 2003, as compared to the same period in 2002. Transfers too have increased by an impressive 17.9% for the same period.

We believe that this is, at least in part, due to the re-launch of our registration documentation a year ago. It will be recalled that at that time we said that we hoped that the new systems would not only help to increase the number of registrations of litters and transfers but also would increase the take up of our Healthcare Insurance plans thus enabling us to provide additional funds for the benefit of our educational and charitable activities.

Registration Service Levels

Service has been maintained at creditable levels and customer feedback remains extremely positive. The team in Aylesbury has handled over 270,000 customer calls during the period January – September 2003, with a call abandon rate well below normally accepted national standards. This activity level continues to equate to nearly three calls completed in every minute of every working day! Similarly the turnaround times achieved for registrations and transfers this year to date, have remained well within those which we have set as our internal targets.

Petlog

Petlog registrations are up by 9% for the first nine months of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002. Service levels have been maintained in this area too. Petlog Plus was introduced on 1 January 2003 and over 11,000 Petlog members have upgraded to date.

Additional Petlog Plus Services were introduced on 1 October 2003, and so far the response is promising. These services include the ability to use SMS text messaging to aid the reunification process. This is a first in the market place for any reunification service such as ours. In addition owners can now update their details on line via the internet and are able to provide additional contact information.

Team Developments

I am delighted to report that, through the sterling efforts of the Client Services team in Aylesbury, that at the Aylesbury Business Excellence Awards in October, the Kennel Club came first in the categories ‘Company of the Year’, ‘Contribution to the Community’ and ‘Retailer of the Year’, with a second place in the category ‘Performance Through People’.

GOVERNANCE

Shows and Events

The various Sub-Committees, under the secretaryship of the Shows, Trials & Awards Department continue to meet regularly and a number of positive initiatives are being progressed.

Open Shows

Premier Open Show status has been granted to six societies for their 2003/2004 open shows and it is hoped that this new category of show will prove popular and will provide an encouragement to show societies to run events which prove to be as popular as possible.
In order to be of some help to minority breeds, the required class average for Group open shows was reviewed and it was agreed to allow Group Societies to schedule two open shows a year irrespective of class averages, provided they schedule at least one class for every CC breed in their group and at least one class for 75% of non CC breeds.

Disciplinary Matters

The Disciplinary Sub-Committee said goodbye to Bernard Hall in May this year, having thanked him for his valuable input over a number of years. Mrs Irene Terry was elected as the new Chairman. The Committee also welcomed two new members – Bill King and Wilson Young.

Championship Status

New breeds recently awarded Championship Status for the years 2006 and beyond are Alaskan Malamute, Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), Basset Griffon Vendeen (Grand) and Australian Shepherd.

Vulnerable British Breeds

Extensive work has started on a study of the decline in certain British Breeds. This is a project which has so far involved statistical analysis and the design of questionnaires to be sent to the relevant breed clubs. The first objective is to attempt to ascertain the various reasons for the decline in these breeds, to establish what breed clubs believe to be the problems and what actions such clubs are currently taking to improve the situation.

Thereafter certain additional appropriate courses of action will be embarked upon. All of this will require close liaison with the relevant breed clubs. The Kennel Club has also sought, and is obtaining, the co-operation of the Irish Kennel Club on this issue.

Regional Question Times

The second in the series of Kennel Club Regional Question Times was held in Durham in October, the first having been held in Bromsgrove in July. These new sessions have evolved from discussions through the Canine Events Conference and through listening to comments and suggestions from exhibitors, competitors and others involved in showing and working their dogs. These meetings have provided considerable food for thought for all concerned.

Those questions not able to be answered on the evening, due to lack of time, are being responded to in the Kennel Gazette.

The Kennel Club Stand at Events

The Kennel Club has received a very positive response to its new stand during the show season and particularly to the increased number of shows and events at which the staff has attended. As planned, twenty three events were attended with staff answering queries and providing information on a wide range of canine subjects.

Group Judges Development Programmes

The need to train judges capable of judging groups and to develop further those who already are approved to officiate at this level, is well recognised. To achieve this end, Kennel Club Group Judges Development Programmes in the agreed format are already well under way for the Hound, Terrier, Gundog and Toy Groups. The Kennel Club is now supporting these programmes financially. Earlier this year Richmond Dog Show Society agreed to co-ordinate workshops for the Utility Group and in October the Birmingham Dog Show Society Ltd agreed to do likewise for the Working Group, with the Working and Pastoral Breeds Association of Wales agreeing to cover the Pastoral Group. I am sorry that some of the national group societies have been reluctant to take part in these programmes but happily all groups are now taken care of. It is hoped that this system will help to produce more and better group judges for the future and enable those already qualified to tackle more breeds with confidence.

Judges and Further Education

Very recently, the Kennel Club General Committee has agreed to establish Codes of Best Practice both for judges themselves and for the selection of judges by societies. These codes will be announced soon for implementation at the beginning of next year. They will, it is hoped, provide a much sounder framework within which judges and societies may operate and hopefully will go some way towards alleviating some of the concerns felt by participants in various KC activities.

In an effort to encourage and maintain high standards of ring stewarding, the KC Training Board has introduced seminars on this subject to be delivered by KC Accredited Trainers.

Likewise, Show Management, Secretaries and Field Officer Seminars have all been held during the period under review.

Breed Standards and Canine Welfare

So far during 2003, the Breed Standards and Stud Book Sub-Committee has continued to review breed standards and those of the Bouvier des Flandres, Estrela Mountain Dog, Glen of Imaal Terrier and Lhasa Apso have all been amended at the request of breed clubs.

Recognition of New Breeds

Three breeds, namely the Azawakh, Eurasier and Portuguese Podengo (Warren Hound) have recently been recognised and added to the Imported Breeds Register. The nomenclature of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has been altered to Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling), to conform to the other retriever breeds currently recognised by the KC.

The European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals

The Club’s work in seeking to obviate the need for the adoption of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals has been well documented in recent months. Meetings have been held with representatives from the Bloodhound, Clumber Spaniel and Shar Pei breed clubs, which are all breeds that could be affected by the Convention, should this legislation be signed and ratified by UK Government. These meetings have proved to be extremely positive. Action points resulting from this consultation contribute to the Kennel Club’s efforts to persuade Government that there are adequate mechanisms in place to ensure that the breeds we support will remain healthy and that therefore this legislation is non-applicable to the UK. Major achievements this year will be work on the Bulldog and Pekingese breed standards which will result in amplified health issues in the standards for these breeds. The catalyst for these changes has been various meetings with the Bulldog and Pekingese Breed Council representatives. The General Committee would like to thank all of the breed clubs which have participated to date for their approach in reviewing the standards in order to amplify health and welfare issues in this way.

CANINE HEALTH

Health and Information Department

Members will be aware of the investment that we make in the area of canine health. New initiatives continue to be developed to enhance further, the Club’s interaction with customers, particularly on health issues through the Health and Information Department.

New KC DNA tests for inherited diseases
von Willebrands Disease (vWD) in the Dobermann

The Kennel Club and the Dobermann Breed Council have recently established a new DNA testing scheme for vWD using a Finnish company to perform the DNA test. Results are added to the tested dog’s registration information and published in the Breed Records Supplement. Testing is carried out via a monthly testing clinic, now run from the Kennel Club. This enables the Club to send batches of samples off to the company to attract a favourable bulk discount that can be passed on to the owner. This may help to provide the incentive to carry out the testing in the first instance.

Copper Toxicosis in Bedlington Terriers

A new DNA test for copper toxicosis is close to being developed and will be offered to breeders by a new company which will subcontract testing to the laboratories at the Animal Health Trust. As with other DNA tests, results will be placed on the tested dog’s registration information and the result will be published in the KC Breed Records Supplement.

The KC/BSAVA Scientific Committee Health Surveillance Questionnaire
This project, funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, is now nearing completion. A questionnaire has been designed by the epidemiology unit at the Animal Health Trust and was sent to two breed clubs – the German Spitz Club and the Norfolk Terrier Club, to run as a pilot. Completed questionnaires are now being returned. We have identified the numerically largest breed club for each breed, and the next phase will be to send the questionnaire to the secretary of each club for posting to their club members. The results of this questionnaire will, for the first time, provide a reliable estimate of the conditions that affect UK breeds and how frequently they are seen. This data will also provide a base line against which future progress of breed specific health initiatives may be monitored.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

Building Relations

Over the last six months our External Affairs and Press Office activities have continued to broaden in their remit and scope. Good relationships are being built and maintained with Government departments such as DEFRA and a series of meetings has taken place at Clarges Street on a broad raft of issues, with senior civil servants and politicians, and other organisations such as the Metropolitan Police Service.

Dog Legislation Advisory Group

The Kennel Club provides the secretariat for the Dog Legislation Advisory Group (DLAG), whose members include the Dogs Trust (formerly NCDL), Blue Cross, RSPCA and the BVA, among others. Agenda items for the last two meetings have included the Animal Welfare Bill – for which a sub-group has been established, the Animal (Electric Shock) Collars Bill and the ever topical Dangerous Dogs Act. Meetings have been arranged with representatives from both DEFRA and the Home Office – invited to the KC to address the group on issues such as the progression of the Animal Welfare Bill and the issue of Police Services, Local Authorities and Stray Dogs.

Dangerous Dogs Legislation

The threat of breed specific legislation continues to concern the Club and we have recently written to those overseas Kennel Clubs with which we have reciprocal agreements, to encourage both monitoring and lobbying if necessary. In October, the Club hosted a Dangerous Dogs Act meeting chaired by Chief Superintendent Ovens of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), who is responsible for ‘dangerous dog’ policy in the London area. The MPS is regarded as a nationwide leader on views and policy regarding ‘dangerous’ dogs and, with its assistance, dogs held under the DDA in the London area that pose no danger to the public, have been re-homed after behavioural assessment. The outcome of the meeting was a proposed approach to DEFRA as a unified group to voice concerns and request that they consider modifying this piece of essentially flawed legislation.

Parliamentary Issues

We continue to speak to legislators – both here and in Brussels – on various issues. including the Hunting Bill, the London Local Authorities Bill, the Fireworks Bill and the proposed Animal Welfare Bill. We co-operate widely with various animal charities in so doing, but we also make our own individual representations where our views differ and where we feel that those whom we seek to support would be better served by that approach.

We continue to support the Westminster Dog of the Year competition, which helps to keep the dog in the minds of both politicians and the media. In October the event, as always, attracted a good entry of politicians’ dogs from both Houses and from the three main Parties.

Overall the Kennel Club continues to work towards its objective of being the first port of call on all canine matters. We give comment to the media on a wide range of issues and distribute press material and releases throughout the year. On average, 1500 media enquiries are responded to each year and this does not include those brought about by Crufts and Discover Dogs.

MARKETING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Through the direction of the Board of Kennel Club Services Limited, the KC’s marketing and business development division supports most KC departments and helps to ensure that a clear message is being communicated to dog owners – namely that the Kennel Club provides a service for them and is the "champion for all dogs".

Internet

The Kennel Club website has undergone many changes over the past six months. General site statistics remain impressive with approximately 400,000 ‘hits’ per day, with users visiting for an average of 15 minutes per session.

The most popular three areas of the site are Crufts, Puppy Sales Register and Petlog pages. A new design of navigation buttons has been incorporated into the site to make all links viewable on one page without the need to scroll and the Puppy Sales Register interest continues to grow. This section of the website is receiving approximately 80,000 searches every month and 3,500 printed packs are also sent out by post on a monthly basis. Some 7,000 breeders a year have used this medium to advertise approximately 44,000 litters and the service not only provides a list of puppies, but also supplies information on responsible pet ownership through the Kennel Club Canine Code.

The Young Kennel Club website is currently undergoing a 'makeover' with a range of new features and information being placed on the site for members and non-members alike. New features such as news, reviews, quizzes and activity information can already be viewed. The site will be regularly updated and become a valuable resource for those aged 8-25 years and interested in dogs.

The Kennel Club Events Diary, which has previously only been available through the Kennel Gazette, is now published online. The diary can be downloaded from the site and provides listings of Kennel Club registered events for a three month period. The Crufts and Discover Dogs sites continue to be updated with useful information for each respective event and allows users to purchase tickets for the events that take place.

Petlog Plus

Similarly, the Petlog website has also seen changes with the opportunity to upgrade to Petlog Plus for just £10 online, a new improved service that provides a host of benefits and is covered elsewhere in this report.

National Microchipping Month

As part of our involvement with the Dog Identification Group and to help support the launch of the new Petlog services, the National Microchipping Month campaign has recently been launched. This takes place in November and vets, dog wardens and clubs have been encouraged to become involved in this initiative to encourage microchipping and heighten awareness of the importance of maintaining correct data on the database. New web pages and a logo have been developed.

Responsible Dog Ownership Campaign (London)

The objective of this campaign is to promote responsible dog ownership to London dog owners by setting standards for dog ownership. It is also intended to raise the profile of the Kennel Club as being integral to promoting dogs and responsible dog ownership. Its profile is also in support of Discover Dogs and National Microchipping Month. The campaign covers three themes – identification, fouling and dog training. The tactics used include stickers for dog bins, posters for vets, information leaflets, advertising on telephone kiosks near to parks, and poop scoops. Research was conducted prior to development of the campaign to gain greater understanding of London councils’ needs and issues. Many of them have taken this campaign on board and are actively promoting it through their own websites and newsletters. Discussions have also taken place with Birmingham City Council to progress a similar campaign during Crufts, and one other location will be identified next year. The creative material is eye catching and focuses on images which not only attract the attention of passers by, but also makes them think about why these areas of responsible dog ownership should be addressed by all.

Discover Dogs Marketing Campaign

The campaign for 2003 has been created to attract those in the 25-35 years age range with children who live mainly in the South East. Advertising is focused on London Underground, regional railway stations and in local media across the Home Counties. Leaflets have also been distributed to libraries, local councils, tourist information centres, registered club secretaries, vets, pet shops, kennels etc. This approach has been adopted with the primary objective of encouraging new visitors to the event.

Crufts Marketing Campaign

The marketing campaign for Crufts 2004 is well under way with leaflets and internet bookings leading the campaign. Radio and TV advertising strategies will be confirmed later in the year.

"The Leader"

For a number of years we have been utilising our databases to communicate new products and services to specific sectors, these being veterinary practices, local government and registered clubs and societies. These sectors have been supportive of the work of the Club and have accepted marketing materials including posters and leaflets on a wide range of services, such as: Good Citizen Dog Scheme, Discover Dogs, Crufts, Publications, Petlog, Registrations, Young Kennel Club etc. A new approach has recently been adopted which combines all the topics and services within newsletters specifically geared for the various sectors. The newsletters include a response mechanism to encourage readers to use marketing material to distribute to the general public. These newsletters are titled "The Leader", are produced in house and have been met with a very positive initial response.
EDUCATION

Young Kennel Club

Membership of the YKC currently stands at 2300. This is over 400 members, or some 23.5%, up on 200. This is a very positive achievement. As from 1 July this year the YKC Regulations were amended to allow two senior YKC members to be elected to the YKC Management Team. In October of this year, the YKC members elected Tamzin Grimes and Helena Hutchings to fulfil this role and they will remain in their position for a maximum period of 2 years or will leave office on reaching the age of 25.

The YKC National Training Camp was held at the Newark and Nottinghamshire Showground during August and, for the first time, all activities were organised and run by senior YKC members who had previously attended the YKC Outward Bound Course in 2002. Seventy-nine members and their families attended the week and the camp assessment confirmed that the event was considered to be a great success.

The Outward Bound development initiative that proved a success in 2002 was again offered to all members between the ages of 16-25 during August this year. Nineteen members aged 16-17 completed a course focused on teamwork, confidence, sportsmanship and communication skills. The objectives for the 18-25 age group, in which eight members participated, were problem solving, leadership and project management. The YKC hope to maximise the skills learnt during the course, and plans to utilise members in the organisation of YKC events during 2004.

Discover Dogs in London is to be held on the 22nd and 23rd November. The 2002 event attracted an attendance of just over 18,000, and it is hoped that the eighth show - with a different show content and advertising campaign – will see an increased attendance. Masterfoods continues its financial support of the show and in addition Renault UK and Associated Newspapers have added their support.

Discover Dogs at Crufts 2004 will be held on the 4th to the 7th March at the NEC, Birmingham, and we look forward to welcoming the new breeds Azawakh, Eurasier and Portuguese Podengo (Warren Hound) to the show, within the Discover Dogs area.

Good Citizen Dog Scheme

The Scheme has introduced an Examiner Assessment Programme, which aims to educate and recognise dog trainers and scheme enthusiasts that wish to become potential examiners. As part of the course, a written and practical assessment has been designed at each scheme level. This tests each candidate’s understanding and underpinning knowledge of the scheme requirements. There have been three courses held to date, in Buckinghamshire, Scotland and the Midlands, and these have resulted in the creation of 130 new examiners.

Listed Status

Listed Status Training Clubs continue to grow and now total over 350 organisations. This continues to have a significant influence on the rising number of Good Citizen courses at all levels, but particularly the Puppy Foundation Award.

Safe And Sound

Members will recall that at the AGM in May a query was raised about dog biting incidents and what action the Kennel Club was taking to alleviate the problem. A new initiative – the Kennel Club ‘Safe and Sound’ scheme has been developed to promote the safe interaction between children and dogs. Due to be launched at Discover Dogs, this scheme will be available in the form of an interactive website directed at children of all ages. In addition to the educational and factual messages this site portrays, it will also include an interactive game called the ‘Safety Factor Challenge’, teacher lesson plans, notes on school talks, advice on taking dogs into schools and a competition page.

Further development is underway to provide a practical course for children to learn the ‘SAS’ principle through KC dog training clubs. This will be launched in 2004.

CLARGES STREET

Art Gallery

The Kennel Club Art Gallery opened its doors to the public on the 25th September after a successful launch party at which the guest of honour was Mrs Daphne MacDougall who officially opened the Gallery.

The project achieved all of the elements outlined in the design brief and came in on schedule and well under the amount sanctioned last year by Members - thanks to the sterling work of the Library and Gallery team and with the guidance and advice of one of our members John Bainbridge to whom we offer our sincere thanks.

The Gallery has already proved to be extremely successful, achieving positive reactions from both visitors and the canine media alike. The creation of a Gallery at Clarges Street presents many new and exciting opportunities for the Kennel Club. It is hoped the facility will become a centre of learning for individuals wishing to research canine art, as well as a place of enjoyment for those interested in dogs and their development. Future tours of the Kennel Club will begin in the Gallery with a presentation detailing the work of the Kennel Club, allowing visitors to gain a greater understanding of the Club’s activities and objectives.

It is very much hoped that the existence of the Gallery will encourage clubs and societies to come to the Kennel Club and to use the facility for meetings or special occasions – thus opening up the Club even more to all those who take part in the UK dog scene.

Picture Library

The Picture Library has re-located to a new office, positioned next to the Gallery. A recent acquisition – the Diane Pearce Collection – consists of over 40,000 images of a historically important nature, brings the total number of images in the collection to over 60,000. The Picture Library will be available on-line in 2004, allowing the search and retrieval of a selection of images contained within the collection, via the Internet.

Art Catalogue

The entire Kennel Club Art Collection has now been photographed and appears in catalogue format, which was published to coincide with the opening of the Kennel Club Art Gallery. The catalogue features a full descriptive account of over 169 pieces of fine art, and was written by one of our Members, the art critic and journalist Nick Waters.

Art Collection

The Club has recently acquired several new additions to its art collection. The donations include an oil painting of a Bulldog, entitled ‘Ivel Doctor Champion of the World,’ gifted to the Club by Mr Ronald H. Menaker, Chairman of the Board of the American Kennel Club, an ornate silver goblet, dated 1873, awarded to Mr J Whitehouse, one of the 12 founder members of the Kennel Club, presented by Mrs Daphne MacDougall and a mixed media on paper study of ‘Champion Maroufke of Kelso’, a Schipperke, painted by Lillian Tiffany and presented by Mr Bill Secord. Miss Barbara Renwick has also donated two paintings by her late brother Lionel Hamilton Renwick who was for many years a Member of this Club. These splendid donations were presented to the Club to celebrate the opening of the Art Gallery.

GENERAL

Widening of Membership Base

Since the Annual General Meeting, some 35 applications for Membership have been received from Associates and these are currently being considered by the General Committee. It is encouraging to note that these applications have come from Associates involved in each of the Kennel Club recognised disciplines.

Agility - "Great Britain Gains Gold"

In September the British Dog Agility Team won the Agility World Championships in France. Thirty one countries took part, and the team is to be congratulated on this marvellous achievement, especially considering that it was the only team to run three clear rounds in both the jumping and agility rounds. The General Committee, and I am sure all Members will wish to congratulate the team and its manager, Steve Croxford.

Catalogues at Shows

At the May AGM it was requested that the General Committee should consider the growing number of shows making catalogues available by pre-order only. This matter has been discussed by the General Committee. Whilst it was understood that societies prefer a system of pre-ordering catalogues carefully in order to manage their printing budget, it was agreed to recommend that societies should attempt to ensure that a number of catalogues are available for purchase on the day of a show.

Cost Controls and Finances

The Chief Executive and management team, supported by the staff generally have continued to exercise a firm control over costs in all areas as well as seeking to benefit from revenue from new areas of activity. This is essential if we are to improve and then maintain our financial position. Last year the Kennel Club improved its profitability after tax and this year the Club’s financial performance is currently above budget levels. This means that we should be able to devote the resources needed to carry out the many projects and initiatives listed in this report and to sustain this effort into the future.

THANKS

I cannot end this report without expressing my thanks to the very many people who have worked hard to contribute to the success of the Club over the period under review. They are of course too many to mention individually. In particular however I would thank my colleagues on the General Committee for their continuing support and all those members of Sub-Committees, Working Parties and other groups who put so much time and effort into making the Kennel Club successful. Special personal thanks must go from me to our Vice Chairman Bill Hardaway whose wise counsel is always there both in a positive sense and to tame the worst of my excesses and the most extreme of my enthusiasms. I also thank Rosemary Smart our Chief Executive who represents us so well wherever she goes and who leads the staff team so competently, so professionally and so well. On your behalf I would, once again, thank all those who help the Kennel Club to achieve its ends for giving so generously of their time in the pursuit of our common objective – to protect and promote the dog and its varied roles in society.

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