As The Testicles Turn, Episode 2: Alternative Facts

Rules, like Truth, really ruin a good story, don't they? Welcome, Friends and Frienemies, to our next episode of...

I would like everyone to get out their book (AKC's Rules Applying to Dog Shows -- linked below) and turn to page 44. Let's read Section 8 together:

"A dog which is blind, deaf, castrated, spayed, or which has been changed in appearance by artificial means except as specified in the standard for its breed, or a male which does not have two normal testicles normally located in the scrotum, may not compete at any show..."

A dog with a vasectomy is not castrated nor is he changed in appearance nor are his testicles rendered abnormal or located outside of his scrotum. [FYI: Testicles are not part of a vasectomy, and thefore retain their ability to produce sperm capable of reproduction.]

I don't even have to imagine what peeps have to say about all that -- I read it in the unfortunate Facebook thread [referring to a vasectomy]: "it's an alteration."

[cue the music from Gaslight]

Variations of the word "alter" appear a total of just six times in the AKC's Rules Applying to Dog Shows -- four times on page 46 and twice on page 47. On page 46, "alter" is in relation to teeth, markings, tail, and testicles (location and insertion of fake testicles -- yes, that is a thing [a bad one]). On page 47, "alter" is in relation to coat and markings.

Further, when the AKC speaks of ineligible procedures on pages 45-46, the laguage is specific -- those procedures rendering a dog ineligible are because they  "...change in appearance by artificial means..."

A vasectomy does not change appearance. It is not a castration. So, where exactly do the current AKC rules prohibit a vasectomized dog from being shown? That is a real question -- do you have the answer?

However -- and this is important -- unless you are a member of the committee charged with interpreting the AKC's rules, recognize that your interpretation is an OPINION -- not the rule. And having a different opinion than you is not a violation of a rule -- it is simply a different opinion.

I want to be clear: my comments are not meant to express an opinion about whether a dog with a vasectomy should or should not be shown. Rather, my point is this: The AKC rules, as they stand, do not appear to disallow a vasectomized dog; if you can point to specific language that contradicts my conclusion, please do share.

I thought we might get through this soap opera in two episodes but alas -- we need three. In preparation for tomorrow's episode, we need to review a couple of important concepts.

Libel is a "written defamatory statement" ( 

Defamation involves saying or writing untrue things (AKA Alternative Facts AKA Lies) about another person, thereby causing inury to reputation. Truth is an absolute defense -- and so I can tell you (or write) that someone cheated if it is true. But if I write on Facebook that someone, for example, is under investigation by the AKC (i.e., a bad thing) and she is not, that is libelous.

And if I say that someone is a Cheater for showing a vasectomized dog, I darn well better be able to point to the exact spot in the AKC Rules that supports my assertion.

Slander and Libel are serious legal offenses. Think carefully before you speak or use that keyboard, Friends (and Frienemies). And if you  messed up -- because you are human like the rest of us -- apologize and retract. Quickly (as in before Episode Three).


Link to Rules Applying to Dog Shows

Link to AKC Code of Sportsmanship Sportspersonship:



by SharonM on Sat, 05/13/2017 - 10:00

Here are the ASCA regulations regarding dogs with vasectomies (but as Mary-Ann points out, the AKC regulations do not spell this out at this time - not the effective date of the ASCA regs): <<<9.6 Appearance A dog which is blind, deaf or has been castrated, spayed, neutered through surgery or chemicals, had a vasectomy, is using a chip or chemical implant to lower hormone levels or which has been changed in appearance by artificial means except as specified in the breed standard, or a male over 6 months of age which does not have two normal testicles normally located in the scrotum, may not compete at any show in the Intact Conformation Program and will be disqualified. A dog will not be considered to have been changed by artificial means because of removal of dewclaws and/or docking of tail. When a judge finds any of these conditions in any dog he is judging, he shall disqualify the dog marking his book "Disqualified" and stating the reason. He shall not obtain the opinion of the show veterinarian. When a dog has been disqualified under this rule or under the Breed Standard, awards earned by that dog at that show shall be canceled by ASCA and the dog may not again be shown unless and until, following application by the owner to ASCA, the owner has received official notification from ASCA that the dog's show eligibility has been reinstated. A castrated male that has been neutered through surgery or chemicals or one a male that has had a vasectomy may be entered as the Stud Dog in the Stud Dog Class, or other Non-Regular classes or in the Altered Conformation Program. A spayed bitch may be entered as Brood Bitch in the Brood Bitch Class, or other Non-Regular classes, or in the Altered Conformation program. (Effective June 2016)

I point this out, to show there is precedent for not allowing dogs with vasectomies to compete in conformation. I posed this question back in August 2016 in the Facebook group Ring Thoughts - anyone interested can join the group and read the thread.

With Slander/Libel, I am no attorney but as I recall, the victim has to prove that financial damages occurred due to the false statements.

by Mary-Ann on Sat, 05/13/2017 - 10:18

Thank you.

Your post spells out how rules regarding vasectomies in dogs might be worded -- AKC does not have similar language at this time. This is why I am puzzled by accusations of cheating when a dog with a vasectomy is shown in an AKC venue -- where is it against the rules?

Regarding libel -- from "In order to receive damages the plaintiff must only prove some type of damage.  This damage can be either emotional or financial."

I cannot speak for Marti, but I am pretty upset.


by SharonM on Sat, 05/13/2017 - 17:49

I didn't realize that emotional damage was sufficient - interesting! I agree, the accusations of cheating don't hold up in this case - for exactly the reasons you have brought up. The AKC regulations as written do not specifically address vasectomy. I hope they are planning to address this inadequacy soon.

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