2017 BTCA Election Candidates’ Biographies

JoAnn Burtness

I purchased my first bedlington 15 years ago. Since then I have been active in the BTCA in conformation, agility, lure coursing CAT, barn hunt and tracking. This breed is so versatile I have also tried tracking CGC, therapy dog and Freestyle. I would like working with the membership to plan events and also promote health and wellness and support bedlington rescue. I would appreciate your vote. Thank you

Laurie Friesen

Thank you for electing me BTCA President for 2017. I would like the opportunity to serve as your club President in 2018. As President, I am proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved this year. For example, our membership is on the rise and so is our treasury. We are hosting more upcoming Specialty Shows across the country and are offering a new Performance Specialty in 2018. Our Specialty Shows and Performance Events are vital to the inherent mission of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America and where we join together in sportsmanship and celebration of our Bedlington Terriers. We have led the way in social media and were one of the first breed clubs to start a Facebook page. I launched the page in 2011 and we currently reach over a thousand people worldwide per month. Our highest club honor, the Constance M. Willemsen Breed Betterment Award, has a 2017 recipient after a 5 year lapse. And we recently approved a voluntary frozen semen list to preserve and safeguard our breed for the future. The Bedlington Terrier is a rare breed with a limited gene pool and using frozen semen is another option for Breeders producing healthy dogs.

Communication with club members is very important. As President, I write a monthly newsletter because the membership should be informed on all club matters and deserves transparency. After all, it is your club. I am once again the Editor of Tassels & Tales and work hard to make our quarterly breed magazine the best.

I have been a trustee on the BTCA-HEART rescue Board for several years, a position I enjoy because my first Bedlington Terrier was a rescue. I have owned Bedlingtons for over 25 years and joined the Bedlington Terrier Club of America in 1992. I purchased my first Bedlington puppy in 2002 from a reputable BTCA breeder. He recently passed away on his own at 15 years old. As I mourn his loss, I embrace the beautiful journey we had together. Because of him, I transitioned from a quiet pet person to an active club member and eventually President of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America. He was also my first show dog in Conformation and foundation sire. I got my foundation dam in 2004 and after several years in the show ring, I started my breeding program with her in 2008.

Since 2007, I have served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President. I have Chaired several club Committees and served as AKC Gazette Breed Columnist. I am an approved Breed Mentor and AKC Breeder of Merit. It is my desire to be re-elected as club President for 2018 so we can work together in the best interest of our beloved breed and the Bedlington Terrier Club of America.

Lucy Heyman

The BTCA Board appointed Committee Nominated Lucy Heyman as their choice for Corresponding Secretary for the 2018 club year.  I was very pleased to have the opportunity to serve the breed and our club again.  It is a big job, but nothing like it was when I served in 1998 through 2001, when we did not have access to spread sheets and electronic mail.  I also had to function as Treasurer, as our Treasurer was Canadian and was not available to process dues.  I made deposits for him to a bank in Toronto.  I served again 2007 through 2010.  At the time, my husband Bill was suffering what proved to be a terminal illness and I had much to do with his estate and my business.  The business has been sold since 2015 and life is good!

My first club function was in the realm of health information and I served with Dr. Cynthia Cook who devised a valid registry for liver disease.  I have been appointed to the BTCA Health Committees over the years and currently am acting as Chairman of our Health and Wellness Committee.  I have represented the breed at the AKC Canine Health Foundation meetings over the past twenty years and served on their President’s Council.  I am Chairman of the Bedlington Terrier Wellness and Rescue Association, Incorporated, a 501(c)3 corporation established in 2005.  Between Linda Freeman’s efforts producing a beautiful calendar every year and some angels, we have been able to give substantial donations to the BTCA donor advised fund and CHF Grants.

In 1995, our beloved Bob Bull asked me to administer awards for the club, as I had been keeping statistics in support of a system unique to the BTCA.  Other than the 5-point Major and Best of Breed plaques, top dog and bitch were the only awards given at the time.  I felt it was very important to recognize performance dogs, resulting in the system we have today.

I started exhibiting in 1979 and my first Bedlington was Best of Winners  at our Montgomery County BTCA National.  According to AKC records, 128 of my home bred Bedlingtons are conformation Champions with an additional 4 with performance titles and six dual titled. I have finished an additional 35 Champions not of my breeding.  I am eligible for the AKC Platinum Breeder of Merit award and a BTCA Breeder of Distinction.

Kris Mullen

My name is Kris Mullen and I have decided to run for President of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America.   In the past I have served the Club as Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Vice-President and President. I have also served as show chairman and juniors chairman. I am a BTCA Breeder of Distinction as well as an AKC Breeder of Merit.  I purchased my first Bedlington in 1980 and and got hooked on showing.  All my current dogs go back to that original Bedlington. I mainly show my dogs in conformation, but have also competed in agility and have tried lure coursing. I have recently been transferred to Tucson, and am enjoying how dog friendly this area is. The dogs have been sight-seeing and get to go to many restaurants with us. I’m loving introducing Bedlingtons to people who have never seen them before.

Several Officers and Board members have been put on mute during the board meetings, effectively eliminating these Board members from actively participating in decisions made that are in the best interest of the BTCA.  Just because the person running the meetings doesn’t agree with the opinion of others does not give them the right to silence their voice during the meeting

If elected,  I would continue with the brief summary e-mails sent to the BTCA Chat List after each meeting, this is a great way to communicate what the Board is doing to the membership at large.

I would also like to see voting on judges for Specialties continued, and those results used.  There was a comment in the last Board meeting that several judges had received negative feedback so they were moved onto a tentative list until the show committee could investigate.  This is one more instance of governing the Club for the benefit of a few to the detriment of the majority.

Another idea I have talked to several people about is having concurrent specialties like many other parent breed clubs.  It’s an easy way to add another show to a specialty weekend without the increased cost of a totally separate show.

 I would like to see an album created on our Club Facebook page for fun pictures of our dogs. Allowing our entire membership to participate in sharing pictures of their Bedlingtons, showing that they are great pets, not just fluffy show dogs.  If we want to keep the world of pure bred dogs around, we need to promote them as pets, not just show dogs, this is something the BTCA needs to improve on.

Renee Ross

I live in Michigan with my husband, our 3 young boys and pets. My involvement in dogs started as a 4-H project in 1989. Nearly a decade later my mother purchased our first Bedlington. Over the years Kaylynn Bedlingtons have achieved many accomplishments in several areas. I have worked as a professional handler, assistant, groomer, and boarding kennel manager. In 2014 I agreed to serve a partial term at the request of the BTCA board. In 2015 I didn’t run for the board due to a previous commitment as the 2015 Golden Retriever Club of America National Specialties’ Hospitality Chair. In 2016 I ran for re-election to the BTCA board and was elected. Although at this time I am not as active in the competition ring as I would like to be, I enjoy serving on the BTCA board where my knowledge and experience provide an important perspective.

Sally Schill

In 1993 with my first Bedlington Terrier in tow I attended my first Bedlington Terrier Club of America specialty show and annual meeting in conjunction with the Montgomery County Terrier Club show weekend. My mentor encouraged me to join the BTCA and within two short years I not only joined the BTCA but served on the board. Since that time I have served in many different capacities and enjoyed long lasting friendships from coast to coast and around the world. In addition to serving on the BTCA board I have also served as BTCA recording secretary, vice president, president, and now recording secretary. As Judges Education chair I presented seminars on our breed from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania with several stops in between. Over the years I have chaired three specialty shows and judged a puppy sweepstakes. As a BTCA mentor I have enjoyed sharing the nuances and unique characteristics of our breed with others. As a club member and breeder I have been so blessed to have been mentored by the most marvelous and dedicated friends and fellow BTCA members.

I made the decision to run for Corresponding Secretary in order to help create a board whose primary focus is to institute the needs and desires of the membership. To this end I will work to see the following happen if elected:

The membership should be given an active role in the selection of specialty judges. I would like to see a poll done properly with each family membership given two votes and the results made public to the membership.

I would like to see board members permitted to discuss and ask questions regarding profit and loss for Tassels and Tales during our regularly scheduled meetings.

I would like to see each board member given the right to speak without having to fear being “muted” from the conversation.

I would like to see each board member respected for their expertise and experience.

Howard Solomon

My partner Carlos and I live in Frelinghuysen, NJ with our son Elijah.  We currently live with 4 Bedlingtons and 2 Salukis.  I have owned a Bedlington since 2002 when I purchased our Lilly from Mary Jo Dunn.  Since that time under the tutelage of both Mary Jo and Linda Freeman I have gone on to breed and produce several litters of which several have become champions.  I have even bred one dog that has become both a Swedish and American Champion.  In addition to showing, several of my dogs have gotten designations in various sports.  Some of my own Bedlingtons have earned designations in coursing which they love.

While a board member, I have tried to reach out and engage people to work with the officers and the club and be involved.  I have also encouraged  people to join the club. The greatest concern that I have for the breed is the lack of genetic diversity and the need to cultivate stud dogs for everyone to use and make available.  I would like to see the club address how best to foster and save genetic diversity in the breed.  All important is also to foster future breeders to breed good, healthy dogs that continue the breed long after we are all gone.  I love Bedlingtons and I would love for them to be around for centuries to come.  However, it will take serious work in my opinion to foster the environment for that to occur.

Whoever fills this board spot, I hope they will continue to work for the health and welfare of the breed.