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Tony Arduino
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Member Questions & Answers with the Board

SCOA Board

The SCOA Board has been holding informal meetings to discuss the club’s role as steward of the Spinone breed and to focus on our long‐range goals. We sent an email blast to members asking for feedback. We’ve received several responses that we are sharing below, with our replies. Thank you to all who took the time to respond. Meanwhile, please feel free to continue the conversation with your feedback! Email [email protected] to continue the conversation.


Q: Member comments regarding SCOA direction for the future:


  • Create a collaborative, inclusive, fair/transparent organization whose objectives are to encourage the preservation of the Spinone in form and function.
  • Provide education open to all and available through technology.
  • Take a strong stance against bullying and unproductive behaviors and institutionalize it -- put it into everything that SCOA does ... hit the reset button ... walk the talk ... create a place people want to be.
  • Seek to reach out and help people interested in breeding and don't cut them down on public forums. Give them help and send the right "people persons" to help them.
  • Engage a greater number of the Spinone community by changing up the committees, keeping 3 year term limits on all committees and spreading out "branch" committees across the country. Let newcomers shadow others and learn.  Any volunteer job in this organization needs to be set up so anyone can step up to take a position. No person is indispensable and could die tomorrow so every job needs to be transparent and all records available.
  • Revise the objectives of the club to institutionalize a nontolerance stance to bullying and unsportsmanship behavior.  Put it on every club activity, webpage, FB page, etc. and membership documents. Nontolerance should be noted to include anyone who attends a Spinone function and may not be a member of the club. The club should have clear cut policies for handling issues that arise and members and nonmembers alike will be subject to AKC penalties. 
  • Review the objectives to bring a higher status to hunt testing for preservation of purpose and set rewards like top 20 invites based on dogs who have titles in both.
  • Use social media to engage the community of all Spinoni people, not just members, and give people a reason to want to be a part and become a member.
  • Add the name of any Spinone that won the national to the trophy. It is about the dog and not about if the owner is a member of the club or not. Provide a separate "keep" trophy for the dog that wins if the club wants something just for their members.  Nationals are a time to see breeding stock from anywhere and this activity discourages participation from out of the US.

A: Below are some of the things the Board is working on or putting into place as steps towards making the club more inclusive and members more engaged.

The Board is planning an open Zoom meeting for members for sometime in October and hopes to continue the process of member engagement and more open communications.

We are planning a thorough review of the Committees, which should be the “engine” of the Club. Many of the Committees work very hard for the Club but we are aware that there are some Committees that may need to be revisited. Hopefully other members will be interested in volunteering, too, and all member help is very much appreciated.

We are planning to develop more online resources and are exploring how we will curate the content and manage the content library on our website. We are thinking that some of our committees may have content to contribute, and are also thinking about virtual presentations on subjects of interest to members. Look for a survey from SCOA to members so as to identify member interest in various topics to help us identify a syllabus!

Q: I think this [member engagement] is an excellent idea and would like to participate in the process.  Are you considering using a WebEx application (MS Teams, Zoom, Go-to meeting etc) so we can have virtual group discussions? 


A: Yes, we are considering exactly that!  Details will be forthcoming.  We plan to start in the fall with some focused meetings on various topics and go from there.  As bugs are worked out, we anticipate many opportunities for members to participate in various virtual discussions.  This pandemic has caused all us to learn more ways to effectively communicate remotely.


Q: Member comments regarding preservation of the Spinone breed:


  • Encourage mentorship as part of the preservation.
  • Encourage breeding for function -- we don't want to be the "Show Spinone" and the "Field Spinone" and have them look completely different!
  • Creating a community that works together more for the breed ... discourage turfdoms and a strong stance against negativity and bullying.
  • Health Testing and DNA testing.
  • Education and more education.

A: The Board has discussed supporting the development of a breeder community that could work cooperatively for the good of the breed. How to do this is under discussion, and any thoughts from members, especially breeders, will be very welcome.


Q: Bring the emphasis back on the dogs doing what they were bred to do and make it fun. Open the breeding gene pools by encouraging stud dog site and health database. Mentors can then help newcomers choose males for breeding purposes.  Mentors and education really is the bottom line and adding the emphasis to keeping the breed performing in the field.


A: The Board has discussed supporting the development of a breeder community that could work cooperatively for the good of the breed. How to do this is under discussion, and any thoughts from members, especially breeders, will be very welcome.


Q:  My concern is with the SCOA breeder list.  The fact that a breeder is listed on the SCOA list implies an endorsement.  I have met someone who found a breeder on the SCOA list whose experience with the breeder is way below what I would consider acceptable.  I feel very strongly that we need to either not let questionable breeders list on the SCOA list or figure out a way to indicate a breeder is SCOA approved or simply a SCOA member.  As we try to protect the breed, the most important way to do that is with good breeders.  We now have breeders that are not holding to the standards of the club and I feel very strongly that this needs to be addressed.  If we are to help breeders, couldn't there be criteria for being on the breeder list above and beyond a simple membership fee and ad fee?


A: SCOA, just like the AKC, NAVHDA, and other breed clubs, does not endorse, recommend, or certify any breeders.  We do, however, recommend those prospective buyers carefully vet and research their breeders.  This can form a lifelong relationship, and the buyer needs to be comfortable with the breeder on a personal basis as well.  Breeders can, however, in their listing showcase AKC Breeder of Merit awards, NAVHDA Breeder awards, champion lines, and notable achievements by their progeny.

A club certification would require not only the creation of certification criteria and process, but there would need to be inspectors nationwide for site inspections.  How would we set the criteria?  For how long is a certification valid?  How often would we inspect?  Annually?  As litters happen?  Conflicts of interest between breeders and inspectors would have to be avoided.  There would need to be an appeal process if a certification is denied or surrendered.  Penalties would have to be enforceable.  We would need our own legal department to negotiate disputes, enforce puppy contracts, and fend off liability from unresolved disputes.

That said, you do bring up a valid question.  Yes, we do have a disclaimer at the top of the page, but perhaps we need to make that clearer and more obvious.  We do have a download (Click here!) of information for puppy buyers, but that also needs to be easier to see and added to the breeder pages.

FYI – In this “pandemic world”, we’re also seeking ways to put together virtual “Zoom” meetings with members on various topics.  Watch for more info on this!








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