Tuesday, 30 March 2010

New York and old haunts

I haven't been to New York in over a decade, so my doggie address book was a bit creaky. The fantastic Doggie Do and Pussycats, too has apparently sadly closed after a disagreement between the flamboyant owners involving the sharp end of a pair of grooming scissors.
I thought something was missing when we went passed the Trump Tower, perhaps my navigation skills were out - but I couldn't spot the equally gold-plated Le Chien that used to specialise in doggie tiara's for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Madonna's handbag dogs. Which wasn't too much a dent in my day as the expensive little dogs for sale in the window had upset me in previous years.
I took to the web to find a new doggie destination to test my credit cards and discovered the stylish and minimalistic Trixie & Peanut in the Flat Iron District.
But the world has definitely shrunk since my pioneering New-York-New-Doggie stuff shopping expeditions of previous decades as there wasn't the same shock of the new that had necessitated me purchasing an additional suitcase to bring all the goodies home!
Who can forget the pointless doggie bikini or doggie fur coat I'd discovered in Greenwich Village - or the the water bowl in the shape of a very theatrical bejeweled crown? Or the quirky collar attachment with a remote control that can make it appear that your dog is actually talking to people in the park.
I did find some temptation, but nothing to provoke my bank manager to assume someone had stolen my wallet.
I love bad puns and Trixie & Peanuts almost-obsessively tidy shelves were full of them. I had to bring Brad PittBull home and a pair of designer shoes (Jimmy Chew and Bark Jacobs of course) - bad to the bone and most probably coming to a headline in a certain dog magazine as soon as we can think of an article to go with them!
I was very taken with a new doggie laptop bag that I discovered in the lovely but not particularly New-York-specific Pylones store in Grand Central Station.
It's bright pink on the inside, by the way and very gold. It is obviously a must for any dog magazine editor.
I knew it was a stand-out when I heard the male assistants in Trixie and Peanut cooing over it like a new pup in the park.
It was a real SJP moment when my lap(dog)top bag caused a stir, especially when you hear who normally shops at Trixie & Peanut. I quote from their website....

trixie + peanut's growing list of celebrity fans includes Tori Spelling, Uma Thurman, Sean Combs, Drew Barrymore, Parker Posey, Paris Hilton, Molly Sims, Halle Berry, Sophia Bush, Britney + Jamie Lynn Spears, Jessica Simpson, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jimmy Fallon, Ciara, Scarlett Johannsen, Missy Elliott, Shannon Elizabeth, Courtney Cox & David Arquette, Oprah Winfrey, Lucy Liu, Sarah Paulson, Kelly Hu, Lisa Marie, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric, Hilary Swank, Gabrielle Union, Nicole Richie, Penelope Cruz, Star Jones, Rebecca Weinberg, Kyle MacLachlan, Paulina Porizkova, Carson Kressley + Jai Rodriguez, Sharon Osbourne, Star Jones, Randolph Duke, President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Their website editor must be on holiday otherwise they'd obviously have added Tess and Oscar to that list already!
Back to Old Chobham today and the dogs are home from kennels without the previous magic trick of massive weight transferance from Beardie to Springer, so very much better supervision than last time so the new kennels gets a good review!
Good to be home even with jetlag. But I do fear that the Internet has made my previous obsession with international pet shop browsing much less of an adventure.
I could cultivate another dangerous shopping habit though! As you can see we discovered Dylan's Candy Bar on this trip. Ralph Lauren's daughter has opened a department store for sweets which seems to have almost the same customer base as Trixie + Peanut bizarrely!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

KC lock horns with PETA and loses

The Kennel Club must be thinking they're Billy-no-mates at the moment. When I saw the advert for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) at Crufts time I thought, "Typical PETA, that's designed to shock and offend! It'll be taken down as quickly as it went up!"
It was an arresting image and it was only placed on one or two bus shelters around Birmingham, most probably just so the media world could comment or ring Crufts for a comment and there'd be a tremendous fuss. Prime PETA tactics, low ad spend - high visibility.
Click here for some Birmingham Mail coverage that includes a photo of the advert in situ.
It showed a Maltese with a little black comb under its nose to give it a moustache and the caption, "Master Race? Wrong for People. Wrong for Dogs. Boycott Breeders. Adopt."
Of course it got picked up enough before the show for the KC to see it and report it to the Advertising Standards Authority.
So now PETA have a second wave of publicity as the BBC and other media outlets report the surprising news that the Kennel Club LOST its complaint!
Here's the BBC story. Click here.
The ASA said it had carefully assessed three complaints "but did not consider there were grounds for a formal investigation".
An ASA spokesman said: "We acknowledged that the image and text were emotive but did not consider the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or to mislead.
"Consumers were likely to understand that the advertisers were expressing their opinion."
Meanwhile, PETA's Poorva Joshipura said it was not the advert that was offensive "but the false and dangerous belief that some breeds or races are superior to others".
The Kennel Club said it had complained "on behalf of all of the responsible pedigree breeders - and indeed pedigree dog owners - who love and care for their dogs and who know that they lead very healthy and happy lives".
It said it believed that "to these people the advert is highly offensive and very misleading".
One of PETA's earlier posters showing a photo of the killer of Baby P was banned by the ASA.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) poster featured an image of Steven Barker and said animal abusers were also violent to people.
The poster appeared on a billboard in Haringey, north London, where 17-month-old Peter lived and died in 2007.
The watchdog ruled that Barker's picture was used in a "shocking way merely to attract attention".
The text below the image of Barker read: "Steven Barker: Animal Abuser, Baby Abuser, Rapist. People who are violent towards animals rarely stop there."

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A hole new product area

It's not yet April 1st is it?
Just stumbled upon this extraordinary website.
This is a company called Rear Gear that apparently makes little air fresheners to hang over your dog or cat's bum.
It says Trademark pending, so don't all rush to steal this idea.
They've obviously spotted a hole in the market!
Just imagine the possibilities for marketing slogans on those little bottom modesty hangers.
Best idea must win some sort of prize... surely.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

At last that More4 clip...

Lest we forget...

Please don't forget, there are some dogs who are really suffering due to exaggeration. Here is a link sent to me recently that brings it all home. Poor Olive.

Here's a photo of Lagos, the only dog criticised on the More4 Crufts programme in the health segment. A dog that has passed every health test imaginable, has a working qualification of the highest order and has passed a 20km endurance test without showing fatigue:

And if that wasn't enough, the KC sent a five month old GSD pup home in shame from the show branding it abnormal! Here's what the owner, a KC Accredited breeder who health tests religiously had to say about it.

"Here it is the last day at Crufts 2010.. I feel totally humiliated. At 76 years old and what? 40 years in the breed? Because a Kennel Club official and their Vet said my five month old baby GSD was unsound and they did not want her to be on a (KC Good Citizen Puppy Foundation) display team which the members of the public would see and which the KC felt was not the "sort of German Shepherd" they wanted the General Public to see I was asked to leave. 
"Yes... Get out FAST ... leave the show. No questions of not going in the team again but "Get Out" ... LEAVE" 
How humiliating is that? A five month old baby? Loose yes ... Unsound at 5 months? Possibly but 110% sound in character, 110 % sound in working ability - exactly WHAT are the K.C. looking for? Here we have 110% soundness of character - even the KC Official said that - but because she is a baby and loose I get banished from Crufts 2010.
An emotionally shattered and humiliated lifelong GSD enthusiast
Pam Quarton"
Lottie was already booked in for her routine 6 month hip Xray before this happened! If only all breeders were this very thorough!

Oddly by sending her straight home they appear to have broken their own rules...!
In the Crufts Exhibitors pack a leaflet entitled:-
Notice to Exhibitors
Regulation F(1)15 - Exclusion of dogs.
Paragraph 3 reads:-

By way of a reminder to exhibitors, under Regulation F(1)15 (Exclusion of Dogs) if in the opinion of the Show Secretary, Show Manager or duly appointed official of the Kennel Club any dog is suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare the dog must be examined by the Veterinary Surgeon of the show to establish the validity of the allegation. The Veterinary Surgeon's opinion shall be final and if the allegation is upheld, the dog shall be excluded from all subsequent competition at the Show, including the Group.  However, the dog may remain at the show.  (My italics and bold)
And another complaint from the show has surfaced, the only people being treated worse than the GSD people seem to have been children and rescue dogs!

Against my better judgment and only after lots of nagging by my children, I visited Crufts on 11th March.  I have two boys, eight and 10, and the first stand we came to was the Young Kennel Club.  They were so enthused and a weekend in May of activities seemed perfect.  We duly paid our £10 subscription each and the boys spent a further £10 each on bits and bobs.

To submit the form for the weekend at Stafford, I needed to complete my dogs KC Registered Name.   I rescued my Weimaraner from my local dogs home at 10 weeks but as a rescue I don't know her lineage - nor do I want to.  My Tibetan Terrier has Crufts winners in her pedigree and to date has cost me over £23,000 in vets bills so I do not put much emphasis on the KC register and breeding policy.  I queried this with the YKC and was told that the "dog does need to be on a KC register to take part in any YKC activities or competitions".  They did not mention this when taking my £40!

I think this is very short sighted and typical of the snobbery and "old boys club" that is the Kennel Club.  Children are not exposed to dogs enough so to penalise those that want a healthy fun relationship with their pet is ridiculous.  Does it matter if the dog is a mongrel or a pure breed? It's supposed to be all about fun and education.  I have therefore asked for my money back and shall have two very disappointed children.


Josie Homer


KC says it's all Clare Baldings fault...

I've just been sent this KC statement...

'As part of More4’s commitment to having an open debate about the health and welfare of dogs during the 2010 coverage of Crufts, it was inevitable that there would be some discussion about the issues that exist in certain breeds. Clare Balding chose to highlight a health issue which was also subsequently noted by the BVA. The Kennel Club has since received a number of emails and phone calls from viewers concerned at the appearance of the dog.

The Kennel Club would not and could not interfere with More4 reporting on these issues in the way that it sees fit.

Although the Kennel Club cannot comment on this case in particular it should be noted that within all of the high profile breeds, both judges and monitors were required to submit a report about the dogs that they saw before them at DFS Crufts. These reports will, as always, go to the Kennel Club’s Dog Health Group and if there is a discrepancy between them the Kennel Club will ask the relevant judge to provide an explanation, which will be assessed accordingly.

The Kennel Club is taking firm action to address the problems which it perceives in the GSD breed generally and has asked all GSD clubs to sign an undertaking to confirm that they recognise that there is a problem with the conformation of the breed at present and only those which sign will be allocated CCs from 2011 onwards.'

So are we to believe that the KC had no input to the content of the much vaunted 'health' section in the Saturday edition of the More4 Crufts coverage?
Why the need to distance themselves from pointing the finger at the German Shepherd and put the blame on Clare Balding? There was plenty of opportunity for seasoned broadcaster Caroline Kisko to inject some balance to point out to the viewers that the GSD certainly wasn't the unhealthiest pedigree breed and that Clare's observations about Lagos's back end were not backed up by any scientific evidence. That in fact the dog featured had been widely praised for his rear action by top judges from all over the world. That he had excellent hips and had even passed a 20km endurance test with flying colours.
Lagos's owner was told by Caroline Kisko that the item was rehearsed in broad terms and elsewhere it has been reported that the Kennel Club had to 'hold the hand' of More4 considerably as it was their first year covering Crufts.
Why are they attempting to distance themselves from the Crufts TV programme?

Lagos's owner Carol Keen has just issued this statement:

<“To breed and own a GSD like Clokelly Lagos has been my life’s ambition. I am dedicated to this lovely GSD breed. I have taken Lagos through every health screening test appropriate for our breed, which he has passed with flying colours. I have also taken Lagos through the most stringent assessment tests and examinations for GSD in Germany, our breed motherland. Again he has passed them ALL with flying colours. I have actively supported the Kennel Club and its licensed shows for many years, something I am currently questioning very seriously indeed. I find the latest Kennel Club Statement deeply offensive, and like me, I am sure the majority of our GSD breed enthusiasts will be deeply insulted by it. The kennel Club have failed to make any reference to the complaints made to them about the television interview itself being unfair, and insulting, and in very bad taste. Particularly against a GSD judged to be best of breed, and a GSD specialist judge. A GSD Judge specifically selected by the Kennel Club for his qualifications and qualities, who was singularly abandoned, unsupported by the Kennel Club Secretary in this TV interview. The Kennel Club Secretary surely had a duty to the exhibitor and the GSD exhibit correctly entered and judged at its own Crufts Show, and the GSD Judge, during that infamous TV interview. She completely failed in this respect, concentrating solely and unjustifiably on scoring points against the GSD breed, disgraceful indeed. Especially considering the exemplary status of my dogs show record, health screening record and assessments record. The Kennel Club Statement is clearly a COP-OUT, and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Our GSD exhibiters within Great Britain clearly lead the way for all pedigree dogs breeds in Health Screening and Fit for Function assessments. The Kennel Club’s choosing to focus on UNSOUNDNESS is simply to steer attention away from compulsory health screening tests, onto “visible faults”. In other words “Out of sight – Out of mind” – Then the majority of people registering GSD litters can continue ‘unrestricted’, because NO ONE will be looking at their breeding stock for UNSOUNDNESS, and they can continue NOT doing any health screening, such as Hips, Elbows, Haemophilia tests, DNA tests etc. They can continue NOT having their breeding stock assessed in any way whatsoever, especially for suitable characters and temperaments, which to the General Public is the MOST IMPORTANT ASSESSMENT FOR OUR GSD BREED. The Kennel Club should enter meaningful discussions with our GSD breed Clubs, without further delay. The Kennel Club could all too obviously learn a great deal from them.”

Carol Keen

Carol Keen

Sunday, 21 March 2010

For those that missed it...

A lot of people have asked what was actually said about the German Shepherd on the More4 Crufts Saturday programme. As it isn't available anywhere on line, I've transcribed it. Do check it if you have it recorded and let me know if I've slipped up, but I think I got it pretty much word for word.

Just been sent this link:

25 minutes into the programme:
After a lightweight pre-filmed item on shopping at Crufts and eating doggie muffins with vet Marc Abrahams in scrubs saying, “keeping your dog fit can be fun and exciting...” presenter Dougie turns to camera and says, “and not for the first time Marc Abraham has opened his mouth and a great big truth just popped out.” The programme switches to live mode and the sofa studio set up and anchor Claire Balding. There’s a lot of background noise as the studio has no walls and you can hear the toy group judging in the background.
Claire addresses the camera directly and announces, “And Dougie is currently nursing a slight tummy ache from all of that… errr…
“Now if you are watching this programme there is no doubt at all that you will be aware of the inherited problems in certain breeds of dog and we’re going to discuss that now with Caroline Kisko who is Secretary of the Kennel Club and Catherine Mellersh who is a canine geneticist at the Animal Health Trust. Caroline first of all, in terms of the sort of headline problems that we’ve had whose responsibility do you think it is to sort it out?”
Kisko replies: “I think it's down to everyone actually we need to make sure that breeders use the health tests that are available to them, we need to make sure that the judges actually judge healthy dogs in the ring. The vets need to get involved as well – they’ve very much involved but primarily it’s actually down to the puppy buyers to make sure they go to a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder.”
Balding: “With the breed associations that control those breeds would you say that on the whole they are aware of the problems that exist within their breed and are trying to solve them?”
Kisko: “Very much so, I think that in earlier days ... erm you know … people tended to sweep things under the carpet because they didn’t have solutions, now we’ve got so many solutions that the breed clubs are actually the ones that are coming forwards proposing research projects and finding people like Catherine’s team to find the results for them.”
Balding again, “Catherine, I’ll ask you about your research in a second..
Claire Balding, gesticulating and leaning forward earnestly and talking to Caroline Kisko who is nodding. “…but just one breed that certainly to my eye looks wrong is the German Shepherd Dog and the winner of the Best of Breed...”
Clip of Lagos, Crufts BOB in Shepherd starts… lead looks tight and movement is stilted as a result. “This is in the group judging, to my eye, I’m no expert, but that back end does not look right. Now what can you do and what can the German Shepherd Dog association do to breed that out –“
At this point Claire gives hand gesture to mime presumably a level topline
“ – Huh (exasperated exclamation?) - breed it back again to a stronger back end?”
Kisko...”What we have to do is to actually recognise the problem and get it recognized by the Clubs and what the Kennel Club is doing is saying to the breed clubs you have to recognise the problem we’re actually asking them to sign contracts which will say that yes they recognise the problem and yes they are going to do something about it.”
Balding again footage of Corgi in ring shown, “Because I know with the Cardigan Corgi for example that has gone through to Best in Show their breed association did a lot of work into the problems they had with an eye disease and has actually managed to breed it out now there are a much smaller breed, they’re a vulnerable breed I think only 68 puppies or something born last year so I presume in a small pool it’s easier to solve but Catherine what’s the work that you’ve done and where would you consider your greatest successes to be…?
Summary: Catherine goes on to discuss test eye primary lens luxation – very painful – dogs have to have their eyes removed. 12 breeds benefitting from test. Stresses support of breed clubs and financial support from the KC.
Balding again: “Caroline, do you the Kennel Club have enough authority, do you feel you have the ability to kick out quite a large number of dogs if you do not think they are healthy enough?”
Kisko: “I think what we’d rather do is actually to get people to breed differently. These are pet dogs first and foremost – they are dogs that are going to go into family homes and the breeders themselves have them as their pets so it’s hugely important to breeders and puppy buyers that they are healthy. So we want to make sure that they stay with us because if we kick them out who is going to deal with the problem?”
Balding: “But ultimately if that doesn’t work and I can understand that you want to work with them rather than against them what is your big threat and what can you do?”
Kisko: “Our ultimate sanction is actually the Challenge Certificate, the ability for breeds to make up Champions and we can withdraw that ability if we so choose. And that’s actually what we are doing now, we’re saying you’ve got to work with us, you’ve got to start recognizing problems, sorting them out via shows, via judging and so on and if people don’t then yes that’s what we can do and yes that’s what we will do.”
Balding: “I’m sure lot of people watching will have comments and further questions….”
Editorial note:
The item finished 28 minutes into the programme… only a three-minute segment on health, most of which was on the German Shepherd. A breed that has never been slow to test for health problems, in fact led the way on hip testing.
Lagos the GSD featured recently passed his Schutzhund 3 in Germany- an incredibly physically demanding police style obedience test, has had his elbows and hips scored, has had Dna tests, other blood tests, has successfully completed a 20km endurance test. There are no dogs repeated in his 5 generation pedigree - no obvious inbreeding. 
Why pick on this dog in an item summing up the health problems in pedigree dogs - in an item that also talks in almost the same breath of an eye problem so painful that dogs have to have their eyes removed? 
Why no footage of dogs that have scientifically-proven serious and life-limiting proven health problems rather than just a topline that the KC finds painful to look at even though it seems not to impede in any way the dogs from doing extremely physical tasks, much more demanding than running up and down on a piece of green carpet!
The world's gone mad! 
Click here to find out more about Schutzhund. Dogs that can do this sort of stuff are definitely "Fit for Function" in my book! Much more of a test of a dog than walking a triangle on a tight lead.
Click here to read piece in today's Indie about KC action against the co-handler of the Crufts Best in show winner.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Boris from London looking for forever love

Boris is insecure. For the first nine years of his life everything was fine, but his world fell apart when his owner was hospitalised. He thought he'd found a forever home in West Hampstead, but the first-time dog owner who fell in love with him soon discovered she couldn't cope.
He hated being left, be it it alone at home or in the kitchen at night time.
Luckily Boris's new owner turned to Belinda, a very experienced dog sitter who looked after Boris a few times. In fact for probably two of the three weeks he was in his new home.
I spoke to Boris's new owner today and I could tell she was near the end of her tether. Luckily Belinda stepped in to say Boris could stay with her until a forever home could be found. Here's Belinda's email:

"Boris is a dear, sweet old man with a loving nature but a strong character. He will do almost anything for a cuddle but is very food oriented and can be a little possessive with treats and toys but not to the point of being a threat.

He is, however, VERY INSECURE and the main reason for this is his current situation. He knows that his new owner has not been completely confident about him or his future since the first day she got him and he has, therefore, never felt safe or secure.

I have two rescue dogs of my own and during the times Boris has stayed with us, he has been almost perfect. He picked up our toilet/walk routine within a day and after that, never made a mistake in the house.  I keep him on a short lead and have no problem with him pulling and I allow him onto the couch to cuddle - something his new owner was advised against in case Boris might dominate her!

This little man has lost everything. His original owner, his home, his pack mate - so of course he's insecure!

I truly believe that given a permanent home with an experienced dog owner, he will make a wonderful, loving pet and whoever takes him on will never, ever regret it. If I could keep him myself, I would. I also think he has many years active life left, at the very least.

If you need to talk to me about Boris - please do not hesitate to get in touch. As I am retired, I am in most days and if I'm not, it's usually because I'm walking the dogs so try again.

Belinda Belaire 0207 431 2433"
or phone Sargam Picker 07866 451222 or email sargam@healingintohealth.com for more details

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Best and Worst in show?

Breaking news from the Dog World website

MORAY Armstrong, co-handler of Crufts BIS, the Hungarian Vizsla Sh Ch/Aus Ch Hungargunn Bear Itn Mind (Yogi), has been banned from showing at, judging or attending any KC licensed event for a year for threatening and intimidating a judge. At a disciplinary hearing at the Kennel Club today, Mr Armstrong admitted distressing Rachel Herbert after the open dog class at Welsh Kennel Club last year when he won the RCC with Yogi. He told her she would not judge again, that she had cost Mr Armstrong BIS and that she would pay for it.
The Disciplinary Sub-Committee heard there had been a complaint against Mr Armstrong - whose wife Kathryn co-owns Yogi – relating to his behaviour towards a judge after being awarded the RCC at Three Counties in 2005, for which he received a warning. See DW next week for full story.

Whoever is handling the KC's media relations needs to go on a course! What bizarre timing for hearing this case. Shouldn't they have cleared the air before Crufts?  And with this hanging over Moray's head surely things were a little tense as the Champagne flowed after the BIS was awarded.
I really do think this is not helping the image of dog showing that a second offence of intimidating a judge results in only a year ban!

Pretty as a picture!

Roll up roll up for the Tailwaggers annual photo competition. There's still time to enter... loads of great prizes and a very good cause. Click here to read more about Tailwaggers.

Closing Date:       Monday 29th March 2010

1. Prettiest Bitch
2. Handsome Dog
3. Puppies 0-1 year
4. Veterans 7-11 years
5. Golden Oldies 12+ years
6. Action Shots
7. Loveliest Eyes (Headstudy)
8. Rescue Dogs
9. The Pack (2 or more dogs together)
10. Mans Best Friend (You and your dog)

Best In Show - Chosen from all 1st places wins…

A supremely stunning large rosette.
Dogs Today Subscription
Winning picture printed in Dogs Today
A voucher for the wonderful  www.dog-games.co.uk
Reserve Best In Show - Chosen from all 2nd places wins…
A supremely stunning large rosette.
A voucher for www.dog-games.co.uk
1ST Place - First place in each class will win…
A luxury rosette.
A voucher for www.dog-games.co.uk
Further prizes to be confirmed.
2ND – 5TH Place - Second to fifth place in each class will win a luxury rosette.
Highly Commended - Certificates will be awarded at the judges discretion.
No digitally altered photos permitted.
Open to canine subjects only.
One photo can enter more than one class as long as the entry fee is paid for each class.
All photos must be your own work.
Photos must be sent as good quality prints (Min size 6x4 and Max 10x8)
Minimum of 3 photo entries per person due to costs.

Entry Fee:
£1 per photo, per class.

How To Enter:
On the back of each photo write:
· Your name
· Your address
· The animals name(s)
· The animals age(s)
· Breed if known
· The class numbers you wish the photo to enter.
· Class 8 only – the rescue dogs story (100 words max)
For return of you photos, results and prizes please send:
A large padded self addressed envelope (A4 or bigger)
12 x 1st Class stamps
Entry Fee cheque (payable to The Canine Enthusiasts Club)
Send to:-
Tailwaggers Photographic Competition
13 Brunswick Avenue

We cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage to your possessions whilst in transit but every care is taken of your photos whilst in our hands.
Please allow up to 4 weeks to receive your results.


Amanda Wilkinson
Tailwaggers Club Trust

In Aid of Tailwaggers Club Trust Reg. Charity No.265069

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

GSD world call for Caroline Kisko to be sacked

I've just received the following from David Payne of Videx German Shepherds.

Crufts 2010 ruined by Gross Misconduct
The Kennel Club should now sack Caroline Kisko
16th March 2010

The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) breed here in Great Britain has entered the most controversial and crucial period in its history. With the Kennel Club refusing to listen to reason and obviously conducting a public campaign to discredit our noble GSD breed in favour of the totally incorrect Alsatian. The Kennel Club fully co-operated in “Trial by Television” on our GSD Best of Breed at Crufts 2010, causing insult and injury to the dog’s passionate and dedicated owner, as well as the respected and experienced Judge, who incidentally was selected and appointed by the Kennel Club precisely because he is a knowledgeable, experienced and well respected GSD specialist Judge.

Caroline Kisko, the Secretary of the Kennel Club conducted herself in a disgraceful manner in the televised interview with Claire Balding. This interview was so obviously contrived and directed by Caroline Kisko. The programmes producers and Claire Balding should be ashamed that they allowed themselves and their programme to be abused and manipulated in such a way. The Kennel Club should now SACK Caroline Kisko and make a sincere public apology to the owner of the GSD B.O.B. and the GSD Judge. The Kennel Club should also formally notify the More4 television company that they must NEVER play any part in this type of victimisation in the future.

Caroline Kisko should have supported the Crufts GSD Judge and enlightened Claire Balding as to her NOT being the appointed Judge and NOT having any GSD expertise comparable with the GSD Judge, simply telling her she should keep any such opinions to herself. Of course this was never going to happen as it clearly would not fit the Kennel Club’s and Caroline Kisko’s desired script.

By this single act the Kennel Club now appear as “unfit to hold dog shows”. By their unfair and unrelenting campaign against the GSD breed, the Kennel Club illustrate at best grossly irresponsible behaviour and spin, and at worst grotesque xenophobia against the German National Breed’ the German Shepherd Dog.

The time has surely arrived for all pedigree dog breed clubs to start making alternative arrangements to exhibit their dogs, in a similar way that the GSD breed are progressing, arrangements that will EXCLUDE the Kennel Club and their lack of meaningful mandatory health screening.

Surely there is diminishing incentive in trying to hold onto something which is as damaged and outdated as the Kennel Club’s show scene, which is in an obvious state of decay. The Kennel Club have pilloried the GSD breed in an unrelenting manner, completely disregarding and, worse still, disrespecting the very important and fundamental role of the Kennel Club licensed breed clubs, when they deal with any aspect of an individual breed.

Every Kennel Club licensed breed club and every Kennel Club approved Championship Show Judge must now be very seriously concerned about exactly what has happened between the Kennel Club and the GSD breed over recent months, culminating in this abhorrent “Trial by Television” interview conducted by Claire Balding and Caroline Kisko, in total disrespect of the GSD B.O.B. and the GSD Judge.

At this point I would inform readers that the owner of this dog is justifiably distraught. and, although the 'stage-managed' damage has been done, the very least that the Kennel Club, Caroline Kisko and the Television Company should do is to give her a profuse public apology - and Claire Balding should also apologise for allowing herself to be duped into participating in this obviously contrived piece of film.
The victimised GSD B.O.B. at Crufts 2010 has successfully completed all his Health Checks, has excellent Hip and Elbow ratings, has not only completed his Schutzhund title but has also passed a very thorough Breed Survey and a 20km gaiting Endurance Test (AD) which he had no problem in achieving. 
If only ALL Crufts winners could be so well health screened !!! 
Caroline Kisko certainly picked on the wrong dog, and the Kennel Club are victimising the wrong Breed, a breed who are responsible for instigating many of the Health Screenings currently available and for lobbying the Kennel Club (unsuccessfully !) for many years to make these health screenings mandatory.
For our efforts we have been stone-walled by Clarges Street and are now being treated in a disgusting fashion with all the considerable SPIN that the Kennel Club can muster. 
It is surely appropriate and necessary for each and every Kennel Club licensed breed club secretary and Kennel Club approved Championship Show judge, to write to the Kennel Club expressing their disgust with this “Trial by Television”, and demand the sacking of “Kisko” and a profuse public apology to the dog’s owner and the judge.

Judges appointed for any future CRUFTS Show should demand assurances from the Kennel Club that nothing like this will ever be allowed to happen in the again.

I call on the Kennel Club General Committee to grasp these important issues and make the necessary decisions.


David Payne
Videx GSD

See my previous blog on this topic - click here

Monday, 15 March 2010

But they never really went to the moon...

And the photo in the last blog was obviously so shocking we must have made it up, some of you just don't believe it possible that this sort of thing is still really happening...

Couldn't let the following comment on the previous blog go unanswered... 

"Just when was the picture in this taken? As I did not think the benches at Crufts this year were with Green Panels.................If it is who took it? If not why use it? "

So I emailed the person who took the pic just to double check that it was definitely taken this year. And why do you want to know their name precisely? Perhaps so they can be refused press accreditation next year? Here's the reply...

"I've only been once! And it was this year!!!!!!
I have plenty more pictures of panels if they don’t believe me! Plus a video!"

And here is another one of the pix - note the green dividers and the prize card and rosette which states Crufts 2010 and you can see DFS clearly on the hoarding to the left...

Conspiracy theorists please note, the Pekes on ice was sadly a real picture of something really depressing still happening this year at DFS Crufts. 

Just spotted a comment from someone who couldn't see what was wrong with the Peke photo. You need to read this previous blog for the whole story. 

If you look closely you'll see that the Peke is sitting on those ice packs you use to keep your pack lunch cool and has a fan trained on his or her cage. 

Want a new buddy?

These two very different dogs have one thing in common, they really want a new owner to be their best friend. Can you help?

Buddy is a lovely boy, a big hairy bear.  He's a bit clumsy given his size but that just adds to his endearing nature.  He seems fine with cats thus (the few that he has met) but this has not been heavily tested.  He also seems great with most dogs although seems to prefer bitches to males (however he certainly gets on with some male dogs)!!
He is playful and energetic being such a young boy (approx. 1year - 18mths) and loves to run and jump around the garden.  He's quite strong on the lead and will need additional training but he is extremely responsive so this should be easy to rectify.
He has been around a few older children and is fine with them although given his relative lack of history, I would say there should be a min age of 12years+.
Buddy is in very good health aside a slight knee injury to his front paw which is currently being treated with a 7-day course of anti-inflammatories.  He is due for a check-up early next week to see if this has resolved the problem.
Buddy deserves someone that's totally devoted to him as he is such a wonderful boy and will make the most fantastic companion in return.  He is very affectionate, loves cuddles and being involved in everything that is going on.  He also snores!!!  Buddy has been castrated, vacc'd, microchipped and defleaed.  He's currently in foster in the Bridport area if Dorset.

For more details: kerrypember@hotmail.co.uk 

Frank, Bull Dog X

History: Frank was found stray, already chipped. Owners had passed him on. We know he had lived with children.

Salient points:  Frank came with severe mange which we have now cleared. Aloof but loving; Sees all.  Desperate past so needs aware, patient and committed family. Only pet and companionship

Advert: Frank is a designer dog ... sadly his life just hasn't lived up to that 'dream label'. Found stray in a terrible state but now out of the woods.  Bull dog x with excess folds, a beautiful beige with eyes green yellow. He is 3 yrs and his needs have been neglected both physically and emotionally. Frank is loved by all who meet him. At the kennels he likes to observe the staff going about their business.  Neutered, vax'd. Frank enjoys his walks and in the house likes to sit up high.

Frank was sad; Frank had every reason to be.  Frank is as happy as he could be in a kennel in winter..Our kennel staff offer him love and toys. He so enjoys his walks and leads you out, which wasn't the case when we got him. Frank now needs the owner who is willing to be there for him and provide him with the love and individual care to bring him through into his new life. Frank meets dogs, horses and people with slightly up beat energy but remains focused on his walk. He can be lured into cuddles; is rather pleased but isn't "a licky in your face" dog... just chuffled. Frank needs his family, to be an only pet and to have human company. He is housetrained. Frank is such a special dog.

If you are interested in re-homing Frank please visit the Rescue Remedies - Dog Rescue website and complete our online homing questionnaire.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Are you a fan of Pekes?

When Claire Balding flagged up they'd be talking about health problems on the Crufts programme on More4 last night I sat up and took notice, but five minutes later it was all over - that's if you could even hear what they were saying over the background noise. (Surely More4 could have stretched to walls on their studio?)
To illustrate how masterful the KC is being, we were shown footage of this year's Best of Breed German Shepherd moving across the ring as if this was greatest abomination to be seen at Crufts. Had the KC vet stepped in and sent the dog from the ring? No. But oddly the KC did think trial by TV was fair even though no German Shepherd representative was given a right to reply.
Have any GSDs died from having a banana back?
I don't think so.
It's true they do seem to have developed a very strange go-faster back end action that is quite unlike any other breed of dog and certainly isn't to everyone's taste, but it's not like the dogs are screaming in pain or dropping dead if the temperature goes up 0.5 of a degree.
But maybe we were going to be shown other exaggerated dogs and what the Kc was doing to sort them out.
Just the GSD.
No Bulldog, no Peke, no Pug, none of the usual suspects in fact.
But all these breeds have had the threat of their prizes being taken away if they don't sort themselves out?
Isn't it simply the case that it is so much easier for the KC to look like it is doing something by making an example of the GSD people? A proud and organised group, who have been the most proactive on health testing among any dogs owners for decades - even if they do seem to have developed a blind spot of late for what back legs are meant to look like. At least their dogs still have a nose and can give birth.
Where was the footage of the poor old Pekes sitting on ice, captured above by a pet owner at the show yesterday.
To me, this is the much more unacceptable face of dog show exaggeration - where was the Crufts vet sending these poor dogs home?
Why don't the KC take the CCs off this breed until they can survive without refrigeration and external ventilation? It's a breed where radical life-saving surgery is often needed due to the exaggerations caused by the show ring's demands.
It's illogical for the KC to think the highest priority is to tackle a breed with an exaggeration that only seems to hurt our eyes. Only this week in Dog World two top judges still thought a Peke the nearest to perfection out of all dogs in history. A dog that famously often needs a soft palette resection to function at all.
I would prefer the Shepherds to be less exaggerated, don't get me wrong. But the KC has had it in for the GSD people for years as they have been pushing the KC hard to make health testing mandatory.
Because the KC is under pressure they're hounding the GSD people rather than tackling the worst offenders who may have more friends in high places - thus making them slightly harder to cast out into the cold. It's doggie breedism!
I believe the GSD is seen as disposable by the KC, they'd love this group of people to clear off and break away and be all gobby and hurt. Because then it will prove them right - that they can't do anything too quickly as they need to keep the breeders with them.
Long over time for them to stop spinning and just get on with it. Unless more breeds are going to be shown hooked up to life support systems....
I'm looking forward to the day that the only thing on ice at Crufts is the Champagne.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

A selection of Crufts coverage...

Jemima Harrison gives a great interview this morning on BBC Birmingham

Click here and go to the final 10 mins or so.

And Petethevet from the Telegraph is posting some amazing photos from Crufts, but none more shocking so than these two images of Chinese Cresteds at the show. Ouch.

Click here and here

With the warning letter from eth KC you'd think we'd be seeing dogs looking a bit hairy than normal rather than red raw sore.

If you're staying in and have a full range of digital channels...

There's a couple of TV programmes to miss if you can't stand the sight of me without emailing to tell me to lose weight, do my make-up better etc etc!!

Seriously, Allen Parton texted me this morning to point out that a year to the day that wonderful Endal died the amazing documentary all about him is rerunning both today and tomorrow. The Dog Who Saved our Marriage is on Sky3 at 1pm on Saturday and 3.30pm on Sunday.

It always makes me cry (and not just because it shows me at my heaviest ever, with very bad hair and flu.)

Another documentary airing this weekend (for the first time) is Good Dog! Bad Dog! on More4 immediately after the Crufts BIS coverage at 9pm. I've not yet seen a review copy but someone at Dog World has and you'll be amazed by this extract from the review....

Emphasis is placed on the role of the public in buying puppies from reputable breeders, a memorable quote being: “The main people responsible for animal welfare are the public”. Who said that? No less a person than Beverley Cuddy whose contributions, in my opinion, were measured and intelligent.

For the full review click here.

Allen tipped me off about the Dog World review. Just got this email from him:

"Miss Endal lots but in a strange way he never ever left us, in everything EJ and I do there is always an essence of the big yella fella in our lives some where
PS Hounds for Heroes face book now  @ 1500 plus enlisted"

Click here for Hounds for Heroes Facebook page.

A bone to pick

Today's Independent followed Pedigree Dogs Exposed's Jemima Harrison around Crufts on the second day of the show.
Click here to read their piece.
A good piece let down a little by the poo obsession at the end! A few stumbles, it's not the KC leading the way with the Dalmatian backcrossing, it was an individual who brought these amazing dogs over. And the KC say peope can only use them in their breeding if Dalmatian judges give them the go ahead.
But still a massive step forward for the breed and a good call.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Channel 4's Crufts coverage criticised

Media trade magazine Broadcast has today published an article with the headline 'C4’s canine coverage called into question'. Extracts are included below:

A fresh row is brewing over TV’s coverage of the Kennel Club after a dog welfare campaigner and the director of Pedigree Dogs Exposed accused Channel 4 of compromising its editorial integrity.

Their criticism, strongly rejected by Channel 4, is two-fold: first, that Sunset + Vine is producing More 4’s coverage of Crufts as well as having a commercial deal with the Kennel Club to produce online coverage of the dog show; and second, that Mentorn Media, the indie behind the forthcoming More 4 film about dog welfare, Good Dog! Bad Dog!, is owned by Tinopolis, the same super-indie that owns S+V.

The article continues...

Passionate Productions’ Jemima Harrison, who made BBC1’s Pedigree Dogs Exposed, said the Kennel Club paying S+V to produce online coverage of Crufts threatened the impartiality of its coverage for More 4. “Let’s face it, it’s hard to bite the hand that feeds you,” she said.

And goes on...
C4 rejected the accusations. It said S+V and Mentorn were separate companies and that More 4 would maintain full editorial control. A spokeswoman said: “Any suggestion of a conflict of interest that would compromise the editorial independence of Good Dog! Bad Dog! is entirely wrong.”

She said the doc would “include contributions from all sides of the debate” and that More 4’s coverage of Crufts would address good practice in dog breeding and provide a platform for debate.

Tinopolis chairman Ron Jones dismissed the allegations as “bollocks”. “I don’t have to justify to the world how we operate. This is the most absurd allegation I’ve ever had put to me. They are just whingers and the world is full of them,” he said.
The first comment left on the article states: 
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this particular issue, it's alarming to hear Ron Jones state: 'I don't have to justify to the world how we operate.' Accountability to the audience and the truth has never been more important. 

Latest comment from Jemima!
I am not questioning the editorial independence of the Mentorn doc (although given the controversial nature of the subject it would, perhaps, have been more appropriate for More4 to have commissioned the programme from a different.. kennel). But I do think it's legitimate to question the Sunset + Vine coverage of Crufts given that the company is being paid by the Kennel Club - and also because (not included in the report above) Philippa Robinson maintains that when she called S+V in December and spoke to a researcher working on the Crufts programming, she was told that the Kennel Club was the client and that they had "complete editorial control".

and latest comment from Philippa Robinson:

"Last week I sent a polite email to David Stranks, who heads up Sunset
+Vine asking him for reassurances regarding the coverage of Crufts. He
failed to supply any but said he'd pass on my concerns to both Channel
4 and the Kennel Club. He failed to tell me who at Channel 4, again in
answer to a polite request. Now a week later I have their response
which they failed to send to me directly but preferred to answer my
questions through the media. I wonder if this is common practice in
independent television? I have not had any reassurances back from the
Kennel Club either."

Judge for yourselves. More4 Crufts coverage starts this evening on More4 and on Sunday the hour long Good Dog Bad Dog airs immediately afterwards.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Open letter to the KC

Dogs Today's latest issue out in the shops today and hopefully in the hands of subscribers already contains some really meaty articles, but the one grabbing the headline's this week is the open letter Jemima Harrison (the creator of the groundbreaking documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed) has written to the Kennel Club.

Click here for today's Independent's coverage...and  now on the BBC website... and the Telegraph blog by vet Pete Wedderburn where Jemima's to do list is reproduced.

To order your copy phone 01276 858880 or click this link.

Illustrations by Kevin Brockbank 

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Two puppy farm escapees enjoying freedom

Just got this lovely email in, do get in touch with Tracey if you can give Louie a forever home:
hi bev thought you would like to see these new pics of little Louie bichon and Caddie oes in her new home. they do look better don't they? Caddie has lost that scared look. Louie and Caddie aren't together I just added caddies pics to this email, she is now living in sunny Cornwall, Louie is still in foster care waiting for a new home. Thanks Tracey

Click here to see how Louie  and  Caddie looked when they were first liberated. 

Dangerous times for dogs

While I have to agree with this statement issued by the KC:

Communications Director Caroline Kisko said “The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is a kneejerk piece of legislation which was rushed through in haste. It has not reduced the number of pit bull terriers in this country, nor has it reduced the number of dog biting attacks while it has had a huge impact on the welfare of many dogs.

It is essential that any new legislation is properly considered and puts greater emphasis on animal welfare whilst better protecting the public.”

Am I alone in thinking this stance is slightly ironic, considering Kenneth Baker's recollection of how we got that dreadful piece of kneejerk legislation in the first place...

The Home Secretary at the time said this in his autobiography The Turbulent Years...

The animal lobbies were very divided on the issue of controlling dangerous dogs. The Kennel Club supported the idea of pit bulls being put down. They did not register pit bulls as one of their recognized breeds and felt that as fighting dogs they have no place in our society. The RSPCA, while having no love of pit bulls, shrank from the physical elimination of the breed, preferring instead that the dogs should be neutered and then die out over time as the breed became extinct. Furthermore the RSPCA used the opportunity to raise its cherished aim of the introduction of a dog licensing system - which I opposed. I was not in the business of legislating to control chihuahuas when I wanted to rid the country of pit bulls. The vets were also reluctant to destroy pit bulls en masse, believing that this went against their version of the Hippocratic Oath. But one dog expert assured me that "All pit bulls go mad". Unlike any other recognized breed they were unpredictable and could not reliably trained. Steering a course acceptable to all these differing viewpoints strained patience as well as imagination, and I knew that whatever course of action I took I would be attacked by one group or another.

On May 22 I announced to the House of Commons my intention to introduce legislation to ban the breeding and ownership of pit bull terriers and other dogs bred especially for fighting. I then embarked on further meetings with the animal interest group which, in addition to the RSPCA and the Kennel Club, included the Joint Advisory Committee on Pets in Society, the Canine Defence League (now Dogs Trust), the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and the British Veterinary Association. The issues we debated included whether to identify dogs by implanting Micro-chips under their skin, or by tattooing them. This led to humorous exchanges about exactly who would volunteer to tattoo a pit bull's inside leg, and whether the dog's tattoo should match that of the owner. Would pit bulls have 'love' and 'hate' inscribed on each knuckle.

On 10 June I introduced the Dangerous Dogs Bill in the House of Commons.

We definitely need to change the way we breed and acquire dogs in this country. The latest statistics reveal a remarkable 33% of homes now have a dog in it and I have to say that not all of those people are good owners. There are 100,000 unwanted dogs each year. We need to move away from a culture where everyone feels it is acceptable for their dog to have a litter and make dog ownership and breeding a bit less casual. And as there are now apparently 10.5 million dogs in Britain yet the KC only register 250,000 dogs a year why do they still have the ear of Government? Especially when they've given such bad advice in the past. And did I hear correctly, a million pounds spent a year on political lobbying and media relations - surely not! Is that why their voice is so loud?

The universal puppy contract seems a very good idea and it would sort out one end of the problem especially if it was included as a requirement in the existing Animal Welfare Act. It's in our Dogifesto - how about your local political candidate?

More controls over breeding means more controls over dog ownership. Less passive dog owning and breeding, more accountability.

Does your MP back the dogifesto?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Nair a hair out of place!

It's Crufts week, so suddenly the world is taking an interest in dogs again. Telegraph were the first straining at the leash with this offering on hair removal and cosmetics ...


There really is no place for the 'win at all costs' mentality in the dog world. Those who cosmetically alter their dogs really do need dissuading. I'm sure most people who love dogs would never dream of using a harsh chemical on their dog's back or nose to win a prize, but those that do need to be very clearly shown the door rather than just be tipped off not to do it in the view of the press!

I clearly remember the day when one of my Beardies nose faded and went pink spotted. I was offered two bottles of chemicals to restore her hooter to its perfect blue colour. She was otherwise a gorgeous girl, but with a spotty nose she'd never have won anything. I now know that spotty pigment can be an early sign of autoimmune problems, sadly a major and growing health concern in our lovely breed. I was only a kid at the time and the person offering me the bottles was very senior in the show world and bragged he was able to match any colour nose with his chemicals. You had to apply one chemical after the other to stain the nose for several weeks. Who knows what on earth was in those brown glass bottles? We ended up rehoming our lovely dog to a pet home as her pigment regularly failed - often coinciding with a season or another dog having a litter. But if we had used the bottles and she'd become a champion and we'd bred on from her... would anyone have ever known?

Bad nose pigment has been being 'improved' for decades. Poodles have had their colours 'improved' for decades.

These are things that may somehow have been tacitly acceptable in the past, but no longer. These habits need to be shed by a dog breeding world that now wants to be perceived as health conscious and serious. It has always been a can of worms that the KC knew existed but were loathe to open.

Using nasty chemicals to make a hairy dog hairless just wasn't ever in the bounds of remotely normal acceptable behaviour. Terriers have had their ear carriage and tails altered surgically by amateurs for probably decades.

Those who think it's okay need to be encouraged to take up another pastime pretty swiftly.

And a word of warning, I've taken part in the Mentorn documentary Good Dog Bad Dog which will be shown immediately after the Crufts coverage on Sunday on More4. They filmed for hours and hours and I've no idea which bits they will use. But one of our staff was alarmed to see me pop up in a commercial break advertising the show. I've tried to be positive. But it's still a bit too early to be breaking open the Champagne. We're a lot further on than we were a few years ago, but there's still an awfully long way to go.

Very sad news

I'm very sad to report that poor Strathy has been found dead.
Our deepest sympathies go to the owners at this very sad time.

Here's the email from Elizabeth:

Our lovely chocolate Labrador “Strathy” that you’ve been helping us to find was found drowned in the river tonight about a mile from home.  We don’t know what happened but Murray and I are devastated.  We have her home and she’s not suffering anymore which is a consolation.
Thank you so much for helping us get the much needed publicity, it’s just a shame we didn’t have a happier ending to tell you.  I now know how awful it is to lose a pet so if we can ever repay the favour please ask and we’ll do everything we can to help.
Many many thanks
Elisabeth & Murray Mackay

Monday, 1 March 2010

Time to enter the caption competition!

Can you think of an amusing or thought-provoking caption for this photo? Email your best efforts to comps@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk for the chance of a lovely prize from the Company of Animals and your name appearing in print!