Recently there has been a good bit of misinformation regarding the United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club (USKBTC) and its relationship to the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation founded privately by John Van den Bergh.

The USKBTC is committed to fulfilling its mission as the steward of the Kerry Blue Terrier in the United States. As the official steward of the breed and as the spokesperson for the breed to the American Kennel Club, the Board of Governors strive to stay above petty politics that would reflect poorly on our mission and offers nothing towards us fulfilling our mission as your elected representatives.

We do believe that with the interest generated in the recent formation of the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation by John Van den Bergh the Governors should provide factual background information so members can reach their own conclusions as to the appropriate role a private Foundation should play as well as deal with other issues the debate has generated.

We do not believe it is beneficial to engage in a “he said,she said” debate and do not plan to do so. All Governors are available either by phone or private emails if you wish additional clarification or information we urge you to contact us.

The USKBTC puts the Kerry Blue Terrier ahead of any other matters and we plan to focus on the Kerry.

Q: What, if any, services have John Van den Bergh provided for the USKBTC?
John has been a valued member of the USKBTC for a number of years. In the mid 1990′s John sought the endorsement of his independent web site, www.kerryblues.org and his e-list, KB-L by the USKBTC. In return for this endorsement John proposed to provide a “simple” web site for the USKBTC that would contain basic information regarding the Club, information on our publications, as well as information regarding Specialty Shows. The Club agreed to accept John’s offer. John created the web site and added our endorsement to his web site John offered this service as a volunteer and member of the USKBTC. He has never asked for compensation for his volunteer efforts or his out of pocket expenses. In this regard he is no different than many of our volunteers who unselfishly give their time to further the Breeds aims.

Q: Why was the advertising seeking donations for John’s Foundation blocked from publication in Blueprints and the Montgomery catalog?
The Board felt that, until the USKBTC Charitable Funds were in place, and the Club had the opportunity to explain the new initiatives to the membership, it would be confusing and perhaps misleading to permit independent foundation advertising, as many members would assume endorsement/affiliation with the USKBTC. We believe this was the right decision, and we are currently formulating a policy to govern what advertisements will be accepted for publication in show catalogs and internal publications where the USKBTC is the controlling entity. Our membership roster is available and has been used by the Foundation to solicit funds. While we would prefer our list not be used for unauthorized solicitations, we cannot control what others do with the information.

Q: Does the USKBTC believe the Foundation of John Van den Bergh is working against the objectives of the USKBTC?
The USKBTC does not believe the Foundation is working against the USKBTC. The Club does believe that given the size of the Kerry Blue Terrier population, the small size of the fancier base, and the limited financial resources available the Kerry Blue Terrier is better served with a single, focused effort under the umbrella of the recognized breed guardian in the United States, the USKBTC.

The USKBTC has sought ways to work with other groups, including John Van den Bergh’s Foundation. We believe that alliances must be guided by the deliberative, representative structure of the Club. The parties we have spoken with prefer the freedom not present in a Club structure with a diverse group of constituents preferring to be able to do “what they think is right.” This is acceptable for a private foundation but not for a quasi-public organization such as the USKBTC where there must be accountability.

Q: Do we believe that some “sinister” agenda exists with the formation of the Foundation?
We believe that well-intentioned people are doing what they believe to be correct for the Kerry Blue Terrier. We just disagree. Clubs such as ours represent a large, diverse membership. The Club is accountable to the membership, the American Kennel Club, and, most importantly, the Kerry Blue Terrier. Our process for decision-making is deliberative and, yes, sometimes slow. These constraints don’t suit the temperament of everyone thus leading to the mistaken conclusion that the Club lacks “fire in the belly” when, in fact, the fire is there but our decision process is a controlled burn not an inferno. We believe the needs of all constituents’ are best met with the accountability this structure provides. Most importantly, the approach of “my way or the highway” does not work in our Club.

Q: Do we believe that USKBTC members should contribute the Foundation?
We believe that, as with any charitable deduction, members should do sufficient due diligence prior to contributing to any charity. We clearly hope that members will make use of the USKBTC Charitable Funds to support the Kerry Blue Terrier, but members should make the choice that is right for them. Our hope is that members will contribute, if not to us to any fund that will further the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Q: Why has the USKBTC not responded on KB-L to the negative and untrue posts?
Up until mid September the moderator of KB-L had informed our President that all Governors on the list were on “review.” This permits the moderator to decide if a message would be posted to the members of the list. Posting would mostly likely have never made it to the list.

Even if we hadn’t been on review, as a policy, we try to take the high road and not become engaged in answering allegations and justifying positions not knowing which responses would be “posted.” In addition, the bulk of KB-L members are not Club members. The Governors intend to respond directly to the membership through email and the web site as conditions warrant. Any Governor is willing and wants to talk to any member at any time, and we urge you to take advantage of that open door. Emails and phone numbers are on the web site at www.uskbtc.com.

Q: I have heard that egos and Club politics are why the USKBTC does not support the Foundation. Is this true?
Egos and club “politics” have nothing to do with our position on the Foundation. Our position is grounded in the responsibility of the USKBTC to protect the Kerry Blue Terrier in the United States and our strong belief that this can not be done effectively by an independent Foundation with no accountability to the AKC, the members of USKBTC, the members of the Chapter Club, or the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Q: Will the USKBTC work with other groups, such as the Foundation?
The USKBTC will collaborate with any organization that is interested in a fully collaborative relationship and understands the unique role the Club plays. We will not work with groups who wish to dictate how things will be done or who choose to observe our policies and guidelines only when it suits their purpose.

Q: Was the USKBTC approached about a “joint” Foundation?
We can find no written proposal from any party suggesting a partnership regarding a non-profit Foundation. In fact, we have no records of any proposals, other than the web site/elist, from John Van den Bergh or anyone else for that matter. The first knowledge we had of the Foundation was through a phone call to our President asking she serve on the Board of the Foundation as an individual not in a USKBTC capacity. Any credible proposal would always receive careful consideration.

Q: There has been discussion regarding various web site addresses (URL) and when they were registered. How does this impact the USKBTC?
The registration of URLs using another organization’s trade name, while not illegal, is generally not considered ethical or appropriate. Generally individuals do this for one of two reasons…either to “sell” the name to the organization or to “block” the organization from having an easily recognizable web addresses. When the USKBTC started the process to register our URL we were surprised to discover that www.uskbtc.org was registered to John Van den Bergh on January 6, 2002. When the Foundation learned we might use Foundation rather than Charitable Funds John Van den Bergh immediately registered www.uskbtcf.org and www.uskbtcfoundation.org in an apparent effort to block web access in an easily recognized way. The Foundation has since offered several URL’s, including www.uskbtc.org to the USKBTC.

Q: I have heard of the USKBTC but it really doesn’t appear that they seek new members and/or volunteers. Is this a closed group?
The USKBTC is always seeking both new members and volunteers. Historically, the Club has recruited through the Chapter Clubs and other USKBTC members. Often, in an attempt to better educate puppy buyers, members will sponsor the first year of a new owner’s membership. In other cases, Chapter Club members often share the benefits of membership without actually joining since many Chapter Club members belong and share the information available. The membership of the USKBTC has increased very slightly over the past 5 years. At a time when there has been a significant decline in Kerry registrations we considered that positive. There are never enough volunteers and we urge people who share our concern for the Kerry Blue Terrier to join and be involved. Check www.uskbtc.com for details.

Q: Why does the USKBTC object so strongly to the Rescue Policy of the Foundation?
Simply put, we object because the decision regarding the worthiness of a breeder to be involved in a rescue is solely made by the Foundation with no accountability for that decision. The USKBTC recognizes there may be circumstances where a Kerry should not be returned to the breeder of record. However, to overtly state that the breeder’s involvement will be determined by a rescue organization with no accountability to a larger community is not acceptable.

Consider this example. What if a Kerry became lost, the dog is micro-chipped, and the owner is identified. The rescue organization gets the call, knows who the owner is from the microchip information, but decides, because the dog was allowed to “escape”, that the owner was not worthy of its return and re-homes it with a third party. The real situation was the owner was walking the dog, the owner had a heart attack, and the dog slipped the lead but one tried to learn the circumstances.

This example could happen and its no different that a breeder not being involved in the re-homing process. We are human and we are all just too vulnerable not to work within a framework of checks and balances. We believe the USKBTC policy does that.

Q: How long has the USKBTC been involved with Rescue and how was the policy developed?
Formal rescue has been active in the USKBTC since the late 1980′s. We were on the leading edge of National Breed Clubs who had a rescue process.

Our formal policy was based on the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of Southern California. The USKBTC was pleased that such a model existed within our Chapter Clubs. This policy as modified now applies to all Chapter Clubs as well as the USKBTC.

Q: How does the USKBTC view “contracts?”
We believe that contracts serve as an excellent way to make sure the puppy buyer and the breeder both clearly understand the obligations both parties have with one another. They often can help avoid misunderstanding in the future. When the presence of a contract is known in a rescue situation, it should be considered in the re-homing process using the Rescue Policy in concert with the contract.

It is highly likely that the existence of a contract will not be known in a true rescue situation and that is why a strong, well-understood Rescue Policy is critical.

Last Updated: 12/10/2002, 12:58 pm