Sable Merle Issue Update 4/27/09

Categories:The Sable Merle Collie

To all CCA members:

Having been one of the original drafters of the petition, I wanted to put out this e-mail to provide an accurate factual background in regard to the Petition, the CCA Constitution, and AKC rules.  I, as well as many others personally involved in this process, am deeply dismayed at the misinformation and blatent false statements being made by those whom know better.  I have read the words “due process” and “procedure” utilized in e-mails by those who do not understand either.  So, instead of allowing the continued gossip, innuendo and inaccurate statements to continue, I am putting a correct factual and legal background in this e-mail.

In addition, I have attached the Petition for your review.  I have also attached a list of the individuals who signed the Petition. Please feel free to cross-post to any list of which you are a member; however, if you cross-post please send my entire e-mail.

A group of fanciers began discussing the sable merle issue online.  The standard has remaining materially unchanged for almost thirty years; however, the individuals involved in the original discussion believed that the continued confusion to judges and conflict for exhibitors necesitated a definitive decision.  In addition, it was alarming that the CCA had only appointed a CCA REVIEW committee and had not taken any real or meaningful step to obtain the opinions of its ENTIRE membership.  As a group, we all believed that the decision on whether to amend our Collie Standard should rest with the entire CCA Membership and not just a few voices.

Prior to initiation of the petition, multiple members and attorneys reviewed the CCA Constitution and AKC rules to determine whether there was a procedural process outlined to call for a vote of the entire membership as to any given issue.  Without getting too technical, the CCA Constitution allows for a petition signed by 100 members to call for a “special meeting.” The “special meeting” requires a vote by mail of all active members of the CCA on the issue listed within the petition. In addition, a petition will only be invalid if its purpose is to review a constitutionally mandated decision of the Board of Directors—in other words, the Board of Directors has already voted on the particular issue. 

Here, the petition was signed by more than 100 active members and was accurately submitted to the Secretary of the CCA. In fact, the petition and the requested vote is to be administered by the Secretary of the CCA within 90 days of the date of its submission. The petition was submitted to Janie Clymer by Adria Weiner on April 10, 2009. Marcy Fine and Gwen Means witnessed the submission of the petition.

Unfortunately, the President of the CCA has acted in direct contravention to the procedures outlined in our CCA Constitution and has decreed that the petition is out of order. Mr. Futh has indicated the petition is out of order for the following reasons:

(1)   Mr. Futh has appointed a committee to review the sable merle issue. Mr. Futh alleges we cannot call a vote while he is actively working on the issue.

 My Response:  Mr. Futh's review committee is just that – a review committee.  They have not received any mandate to suggest language to change the standard.  Likewise, the petition deals only with the decision to change the standard and does not actually require specific wording changes to our standard. The fact that Mr. Futh has appointed a committee to review the issue is no bar to this petition pursuant to the CCA Constitution. The only bar to the petition pursuant to the CCA Constitution was if the Board had already voted on the same issue.

(2)   Mr. Futh indicates there is nothing in the CCA Constitution permitting a change of the standard by petition.

My Response:  The CCA Constitution specifically states that the standard can be changed by calling a special meeting.  Article VI, Section 2 states: " CHANGES IN THE STANDARD. The Standard may be changed if such changes are not inconsistent with the Constitution and By-laws of The American Kennel Club, at any annual or special meeting called for the purpose. 

However, the petition does not actually require a “specific wording change” to the standard. It only requires that the decision on whether to work to change the standard be made by all members of the CCA. We believe that for due process to be achieved, all active members of the CCA must make this important decision.

(3)   Mr. Futh also alleges that the petition conflicts with the AKC bylaws for changing the standard.  He further indicates that he has discussed the petition with AKC and that they have agreed with his ruling. However, Mr. Futh continues to state in e-mails that the petition requires a vote to make “specific wording changes” to the CCA Standard. This is patently incorrect.

My Response:  The petition does not conflict with the AKC rules.  Those rules specify the procedure to follow to change the standard, presumably once the decision to change the standard has been made.  No decision has been made to change the standard at this time.  Please read the petition very carefully. The petition merely requires that the decision on whether to work to change the standard by voted on by the entire membership. The petition does contain suggested language for the change; however, IF the membership votes to change the standard to include sable merles, then the CCA would initiate the process specified by Article IV, Section 5 of the AKC Constitution and Bylaws.  The actual language for the change to the petition would be determined through that process.

I fear that when Mr. Futh consulted with AKC that they advised the petition was inappropriate because they believed it was requiring specific changes to the standard without following the proper procedures. This is not correct.

It is important to note that the CCA has a Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian is an individual whose sole purpose is to rule on CCA Constitution procedures and to advise the CCA Board on properly acting on those procedures. The CCA Parliamentarian has reviewed the petition and the CCA Constitution and advised that the petition is VALID. The Parliamentarian has indicated that the vote should be administered to the entire membership.

Whether this petition is successful, and by successful we merely mean that the CCA Membership is to make the decision on whether to effectuate change to our standard, we would like to thank everyone who assisted us with the petition. There are numerous attorneys who volunteered their time to review the Constitution and AKC rules, as well as, assist us with the drafting, members who advocated to obtain signatures, and there are countless others who have supported this cause even in the face of personal attacks and bullying.

The CCA is not a dictatorship—one man or small group does not supersede the due process of the entire CCA membership. Regardless of individuals' opinions on whether to include the color of sable merle within our standard, we believe that the decision should be made by all active members of the CCA.

Jennifer Weiner, Esq. & Adria Weiner
Edenrock Collies

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