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AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025

AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025

AKC Board Candidates
Compete for the Class of 2025

On March 9, 2021, our American Kennel Club Delegates will vote for four members to serve on the AKC Board of Directors for the Class of 2025. The Nominating Committee has chosen four current Board Members to continue to serve: Rita J. Biddle, Esq., Dominic Palleschi Carota, Dr. Thomas Davies, and Thomas S. Powers. Two additional candidates have submitted signed petitions to qualify to run: Patricia M. Cruz and Dr. Gregory J. Paveza.

The following is biographical information on each candidate, which was sent to all members of the AKC Delegate body to be shared with their club members. Now is the time for you, the members of our sport, to contact your club Delegates and voice your opinion on who you wish to guide the future of our American Kennel Club.

Meet the Candidates

AKC Board Candidates
Rita J. Biddle

AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025 : Rita J. Biddle, Esq.,
Ingham County Kennel Club
Lansing, Michigan

AKC Board of Directors since 2017. What a privilege to work with fellow board members helping clubs, breeders, and the fancy grow and thrive by: Better response and communication; improved on-line resources/services for all of the fancy and public; greater publicity about the good we do for dogs and the sport; more staff and support to fight anti-dog legislation; and meeting the COVID challenge with creativity and innovation.

  • Board committees: Appeals, Audit, Sample Constitution/Bylaws,
    Detection Dog.
  • Board Liaison to three Delegate Committees: Parent Clubs, Dog Show Rules, All-Breed Clubs. Chair, AKC Reunite (disaster relief, microchip services, lost dog recovery).
  • Past AKC Trial Board Chair.
  • Life Member, Ingham County KC; Delegate since 2005, officer/dog show committee positions.
  • Member: Akita Club of America and United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club; past officer positions in both, including President.
  • Akita Breeder (BOM) 1983-present; Great Danes, 1965-1997.
  • Active Exhibitor, 1965-present; obedience work. Teach conformation classes.
  • AKC Judge: BIS; Hound, Working, Non-Sporting Groups; 1/2 Herding Group; JS.
  • Education: Graduate Degrees and JD, Cum Laude.
  • Career: Retired after 40+ years in public service, 13 as top-level executive, in state/regional government (Medicaid Finance, Medicaid/welfare fraud, and criminal justice).
  • Business: Owned/operated successful, large, boarding kennel.
  • Expertise: Extensive experience in Board level issues, including problem-solving, strategic planning, finance/budget, organizational structure, personnel administration, contracting, and legislative process.
  • My AKC Board experience to date will help me to further contribute as a second term Director.


AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025: Dominic Palleschi Carota,
Pharaoh Hound Club of America
Selkirk, New York


AKC Board Candidates
Dominic Palleschi Carota

My experiences as a current Owner, Breeder, Exhibitor, and Judge within our beloved sport, and Business Owner in my private life, have enabled me to contribute as an effective and involved American Kennel Club Board Member as many challenges and difficult decisions have presented themselves, especially with the recent COVID pandemic. I have served as the Delegate for the Pharaoh Hound Club of America since 2011 with a 100% attendance record for all Committee and Delegates Meetings. I was then entrusted by the Delegate Body to serve on the AKC Board of Directors commencing in March of 2017 and elected as Vice Chairman by my peers, commencing in March of 2020.

  • AKC Breeder of the Year-Performance (Lure Coursing)-2014
  • AKC Licensed Lure Coursing Trial and Test Judge
  • AKC Breeder of Merit
  • Pharaoh Hound Club of America National Parent Club Mentor and Judge’s Educator
  • Approved Preferred Breeder-Pharaoh Hound Club of America
  • Co-Breeder of over 35 Dual Champion Pharaoh Hounds
  • Co-Breeder and Co-owner of Four AKC National Field Champions (NFC)
  • Treasurer-Hudson River Valley Hound Association: 2010-Present
  • Chairman-Hudson River Valley Hound Association Field Events: 2008-Present
  • Committee and Chairperson-Pharaoh Hound-National Specialties: Conformation and Performance
  • Member-Delegate Committee-Herding, Earth Dog and Coursing: 2011-2017
  • Board Liaison-Delegate Committee-Herding, Earth Dog and Coursing: 2017-2020
  • Board Liaison-Delegate Committee-Field Trial and Hunt Test Events: 2018-2019
  • Member-AKC Board Appointed Real Estate Committee: 2017-2019
  • Member-AKC Board Appointed Pension and Investment Committee: 2018-2019
  • Board Liaison-Delegate Committee-Bylaws: 2019-2020
  • Chairman-AKC Board Appointed Nominating Committee Best Practices Committee: 2019
  • Chairman-AKC Board Appointed Pension and Investment Committee: 2019-2020
  • Founder and Managing Partner-BH Group-New York: 1998-Present

AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025: Dr. Thomas Davies,
Springfield Kennel Club
Brimfield, Massachusetts

AKC Board Candidates
Dr. Thomas Davies

Dr. Davies is currently Chairman of the AKC Board of Directors. He was introduced to the world of purebred dogs in 1967. He and his wife, Roberta, have owned and/or bred Old English Sheepdogs, Bearded Collies, Siberian Huskies, all four Belgian Shepherd breeds, Beagles, and Xoloitzcuintli. They have finished many champions in all of these breeds. Today, they concentrate almost exclusively on Siberians. Tom is especially proud to have co-owned top-winning and top-producing Bearded Collies and Siberian Huskies. He has served as President of parent clubs, local specialty clubs, and all-breed clubs, as well as holding many other positions in these clubs. As President of the Bearded Collie Club of America, he shepherded the breed into the AKC Stud Book. He is an honorary lifetime member of that club and is the author of the Bearded Collie standard.

Dr. Davies was first approved to judge Old English Sheepdogs and Bearded Collies in 1992 and today judges the Herding Group and 12 working breeds. He is currently the AKC Delegate for the Springfield Kennel Club.

Tom has served for many years as show chairman for the Springfield Kennel Club and for the country’s first Working Group club, the Connecticut River Working Group Association, for which he is Vice President.

Dr. Davies is retired after more than 30 years in various areas of scientific research, and product and market development.

AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025: Thomas S. Powers,
Kennel Club of Beverly Hills
Encino, California

AKC Board Candidates
Thomas S. Powers
  • AKC Board of Directors for eight of the last nine years, service on the Board Audit, Appeals (Chair) and
    Compensation Committees.
  • Second generation dog fancier as exhibitor, breeder, show chair and all-breed dog club president, and AKC judge. Both parents served as AKC Delegates.
  • Born into an Irish Wolfhound family. Continue to breed and exhibit IW’s. With wife, Lani, bred and finished numerous IW’s as well as Glen of Imaal Terriers, Dachshunds, Mastiffs, and Harriers.
  • Current household: Three IW’s, one Harrier, and a Pumi.
  • Member of an all-breed and breed clubs since age 21, began selling catalogs at age 14.
  • Former Chair of the American Kennel Club South West Trial Board.
  • Member of the Board-appointed Constitution and Bylaws Committee, 1998-2001 (The Menaker Committee).
  • Show Chair and later President of the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills. Chaired the Beverly Hills show that aired on USA Network. Instrumental, as President, in placing the Beverly Hills Dog Show on the NBC Television Network.
  • Board Member of the Irish Wolfhound Foundation.
  • Former Board Member of the AKC Canine Health Foundation.
  • Former Board Member of the AKC Political Action Committee (AKC PAC).
  • Practicing law in California for over 40 years, representing Fortune 500 Companies, medium and small business, and individuals in litigation and transactional matters.
  • Owned and operated a chain of dry cleaners and a
    commercial laundry.
  • Owned and operated a chain of retail pet supply stores, no livestock sales.
  • Owned and operated a veterinary hospital.

AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025: Patricia M. Cruz,
Heart of the Plains Kennel Club
Coram, New York

AKC Board Candidates
Patricia M. Cruz

In 2020, AKC faced many challenges and obstacles unheard of in our 136-year history. This past year shows that today’s AKC is not our parent’s AKC and my experience at the Board level will be beneficial in helping AKC to continue meeting the new challenges brought by the pandemic and beyond.

I bring experience, expertise, and over 50 years in the world of dogs, and I can continue to make an impact over the next
four years:

  • As former president of a civilian employee union in one of the largest police departments in the east and elected secretary of the county-wide union representing over 10,000 employees, I know how to create solutions that eliminate barriers to success and enlist strong support of all parties.
  • Founder and member of the Owner Handler Association of America, I have created innovative leadership, consolidating a force in the fancy that hadn’t been effectively harnessed previously. As a professional journalist and author, I can create communications that yield understanding and motivation.
  • As Heart of the Plains KC Delegate since 2006, I’ve been privileged to serve as Vice Chair of the AKC Board, Chair of Audit and Judges Review Committees and All Breed Committee Liaison.

I’ve had many successes and challenges while serving on AKC’s Board, always working on your behalf. My fervor for acting in the best interests of the sport, exhibitors, our dogs and clubs will never diminish. I continue to be motivated by a passion for making a difference by getting things done.

AKC Board Candidates Class of 2025: Dr. Gregory J. Paveza,
Elm City Kennel Club
Hamden, Connecticut

AKC Board Candidates
Dr. Gregory J. Paveza

I have been involved in the sport of purebred dogs for over 40 years. My wife, Sulie Greendale-Paveza, and I started out raising Shelties, breeding the 1987 Winner’s Bitch at the ASSA National Specialty. I have been a member of ASSA since 1983. We have owned and bred champions in other breeds, most recently Longhaired Dachshunds. I have been a member of several clubs during my career, serving as a club president, board member, member of the show committee, and show chairman. I remain actively involved in the sport by stewarding.

My career has been different from many of the other board members. After obtaining my MSW, I served as the evening supervisor of emergency psychiatry at a major hospital in Chicago while maintaining a private practice. After obtaining my doctorate, I entered university life, obtaining the rank of Professor. I established a research unit focusing on geriatrics and elder mistreatment, garnering at its height over $1.5 million in grants and contracts. At the University of South Florida, I served as faculty senate president, a member of the Board of Trustees, and as the Chief Academic Officer at its Lakeland Campus. Beginning in 2007, I assumed responsibilities as the Dean of various units at Southern Connecticut State University. In 2016, I retired from SCSU and opened a private higher education consulting firm.

Since becoming a Delegate, I have served on the By-Laws Committee by working with other members of the committee to bring the by-laws into the 21st century.

Tumultuous times have clouded our lives in 2020. Each of these qualified candidates is owed gratitude for their passion, hard work, and devotion for our sport.

Scripture teaches us that tribulations in life may be opportunities to grow endurance, character, and joy. As we conclude an unprecedented year, may we turn to our faith, focusing on hope and joy over fear and despair.