Just like last year, Crufts offered up a choice for discerning scandal mongers as the world’s most prestigious dog show came to a close in the UK over the weekend.
Before the dog hair had been cleared away from the NEC in Birmingham, charges of nepotism were swirling after it was revealed judge Di Arrowsmith awarded best gundog to a Gordon setter partly owned and bred by her sister, Josie Baddely.
And animal advocates and others were raising a stink about the Kennel Club judges awarding best in breed to a German shepherd who would have been a walking exemplar of the direction breeders had long been trying to take the breed in — that slinky appearance, with a sloped back and hind legs that seem to trail far behind the rest of the animal.
He would have been an exemplar of that, at least, had the dog had been able to walk.
First, because it’s a little more clear-cut, we’ll deal with the nepotism.
Arrowsmith insisted she awarded the prize on the dog’s merits.
“When I adjudicate, I do so without fear or favor,” she told the Daily Mail. “The Gordon setter was the best dog in the ring on that night. It would have been dishonest not to give the award to him.”
The Telegraph reported that criticism was running rampant on dog breeder forums on the Internet.
“Most exhibitors who adhere to decent standards of behavior don’t enter under judges who are related to them,” one said. “The decent thing to do is withdraw from the group judging,” said another. A third said: “This is yet another Crufts controversy that will only harm the competition.”
The Kennel Club, which runs the show, insisted no rules were broken.
Caroline Kisko, the secretary of the Kennel Club, insisted the winning gundog won the prize on his merits. In a statement, she said: “It is important to clarify that no rules were broken here. Any dog that is chosen as a winner is done so because of the judge’s honest opinion on the day and is judged with integrity.”
The statement goes on, at length, with trademark bluster, to defend the decision — even though that’s really not the point.
Whether it’s Miss America pageants, Nobel Prizes or dog shows, you just don’t allow people to serve as judges in competitions in which their family members are entered. Fathers shouldn’t be judging sons. Sisters shouldn’t be judging sisters — even sisters who don’t get along (as is reportedly the case here.)
But does the Kennel Club say, “Yeah, you’re right, that was pretty stupid of us?” No, they spin and defend, manipulating the truth much like breeders and breed standards have manipulated dog breeds.
Which brings us back to the deformed, mutant German shepherd.
Sure, it could have been a case of nerves, or health problems unrelated to genetics that led her to stumble her way through the spotlight at Crufts.
But I suspect it has something to do with a limited gene pool. Design a human whose feet aren’t under his butt and he’d have trouble going through the paces, too.
Just as close relatives shouldn’t be judging each other in contests, they shouldn’t be breeding with each other — especially when the sole goal of those overseeing the breeding is to produce an offspring that accentuates some silly, and often unhealthy, physical characteristic that the latest breed standards deem “desirable.”
As seen in the video at the top of this post, the dog named best in breed, Cruaghaire Catoria, is barely able to trot across the arena floor. It’s as if her front legs and rear legs are operating independently of each other.
Why then award her best in breed? For one thing, her shape conforms to what, until recent years, was considered the ideal (when in reality it was unhealthy, prone to causing hip problems, and gave the breed the appearance of a skulking, runaway felon).
Correcting that, just like achieving it, takes some time — and that’s if there’s consensus among the breeders and all those smug kennel club types who have trouble ever admitting they were wrong.
If Cruaghaire Catoria is any indication, that consensus doesn’t exist.
(Photo: James, the Gordon setter chosen best gun dog; ASC/ZDS/Anthony Stanley / WENN.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 15th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2016, animals, breed standards, breeders, breeding, breeds, crufts, deformed, dog, dog show, dog shows, dogs, german shepherd, gordon setter, judge, kennel club, mutant, nepotism, pets, scandals, sister
Jagger, the Irish setter who died little more than a day after competing at Crufts, was poisoned — but they are now all but certain it was not during the dog show, UK Kennel Club officials say.
Citing reports from independent toxicologists, a Kennel Club spokesperson said Jagger died from meat cubes tainted with two fast acting poisons — carbofuran and aldicarb (both banned insecticides in the EU) that would have led to symptoms and death within a few hours of being consumed.
On top of that, the fact that the meat cubes in his stomach weren’t fully digested indicate he ate the cubes after he returned home to Belgium Friday, March 6, Kennel Club officials said.
All those other unsubstantiated poisonings at Crufts — some media reports alluded to as many as six — were just rumors and were found to have no basis, according to The Guardian.
Jagger, who competed under the name Thendara Satisfaction, won second place in his category. He died between 24 and 48 hours after leaving Crufts.
The Kennel Club’s secretary, Caroline Kisko, said the report shows it was “inconceivable” that Jagger could have been poisoned while at the dog show.
“Considering we are told that Jagger showed the first clinical signs usually associated with these two poisons shortly before his death in Belgium, late on the night of Friday 6 March, leading to the immediate call for veterinary attention, we must conclude that it is inconceivable that he could have been poisoned at Crufts on Thursday 5 March, some 28 to 36 hours earlier.
“There has been a lot of concern about whether the poisoning happened at Crufts and we are now able to reassure all dog-lovers who came to Crufts that this could not have been possible,” she added.
Jagger’s owners, Aleksandra Lauwers, Dee Milligan-Bott and Jeremy Bott believed the dog had been poisoned during the competition.
In a statement they released yesterday, they offered little comment on where else Jagger might have ingested the poison and expressed “disappointment” in the way Crufts officials handled the tragedy.
“We feel we did everything possible to quell the media frenzy that was eager to sensationalise this sad situation,” the owners said.
“We would have welcomed being offered expert advice, from a professional corporation such as the Kennel Club and Crufts organisation, on dealing with the intrusive worldwide media whose only interest in this case was obviously because of the link with Crufts.
“That would have been helpful, rather than the cold, impersonal emails and their own press comments regretting that Jagger had died after the show (and) may have avoided the terrible media circus that ensued.”
(Photo: from Dee Milligan-Bott)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, belfast, crufts, death, dog shows, dogs, fast acting, healthy, insecticides, jagger, pets, poisoning, poisons, purebreds, results, safety, test, thendara satisfaction, toxcicology
Amid the bashing she’s taking on the Internet for picking her dog up by the tail, there are those coming to the defense of Rebecca Cross, owner of Knopa, the Scottish terrier who won Best in Show at Crufts.
But the explanations those defenders offer, and their justifications for the practice — which has existed for years — are disingenuous, misleading and often a little arrogant.
The only time, in our opinion, that a dog should be picked up by his or her tail is … NEVER!
There may be those in the dog show community, and in the worlds of hunters and breeders, who say that view is naive — that certain breeds can handle it. Then again, they have never been picked up by their tails.
Let’s look at their arguments.
1. The tails of some dog breeds are meant to serve that function. They are born with sturdier tails to provide us humans with handles so we can pull them out when they go into holes. Baloney. Clearly, neither God nor evolution put tails on animals to serve as handles for humans. And if breeders have worked to give certain breeds stronger tails, with that in mind, then they had the wrong thing in mind, which is often the case. Their tinkering with dog breeds to make them cuter, lower maintenance or more useful to humans — all in the name of sales, of course — leads to no good, and to bogus arguments like this one.
2. You shouldn’t do it, but, being highly skilled professionals, it’s OK for us to lift certain small breeds by their tails. Balderdash! Running around in a circle with a dog, and brushing its hair, doesn’t make you a highly skilled professional. Showing a dog doesn’t require a PhD. You’re not a doctor, and if you were you’d know that, the tail being an extension of the spine, it should not be used to hold up even part of a dog’s weight.
3. When a dog is picked up that way, most of the pressure is on the front end of the dog, and the tail is simply used as a guide. Bullshit — pardon our language — but anyone with the slightest understanding of physics can see that, when a dog is picked up this way, the tail is carrying at least some of the dog’s weight. And when the front end is being supported by a hand on his or her throat, rather than his or her chest, that too is problematic.
4. If it hurt them, dogs would yelp and whine. Wrong again! That’s not true of real world dogs, or show dogs — maybe especially show dogs who have accepted the fact that the human showing them is going to do this, just as they have accepted the judges who insist on grasping their packages to check for “conformity.”
5. We’ve always done it that way. We all know that is no defense at all; rather, it’s an excuse used by those who — even when someone is showing them a better way — stubbornly insist on living in the past. And if ever there was a vestige of the past, it’s purebred dog shows.
Those defending the practice offer plenty of what they, at least, see as justification, but little explanation of the reason for picking up a dog this way in the first place.
In that way, the tail lift symbolizes what, at the root, is wrong with dog shows.
And that’s the “appearance above all” mentality behind them.
Judging dogs on their looks — as called for by breed organizations and breed standards — causes suffering and is not in the best interest of the species.
Shows like Crufts and Westminster value “looks over the welfare and health of dogs which can lead to their early death, and that’s not acceptable if we’re really a nation of dog lovers,” RSPCA spokesperson Violet Owens told the BBC.
Although the dog owner’s comments didn’t sound too apologetic — she said she lifted her dog by the tail due to force of habit — Cross did apologize, according to UK Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko.
And just for the record Kisko also said that — no matter what the breed — picking up a dog by its tail is a no-no, at least at Crufts:
“Those showing at Crufts receive clear written guidance on handling their dog, in order to ensure the dog’s welfare, and this guidance makes it clear that dogs should not be handled in this way,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeds, crufts, dog, dog shows, dogs, handlers, handling, health, improper, judges, kennel club, knopa, pets, picked up, proper, purebreds, rebecca cross, rspca, safety, tail, westminster
As an investigation continues into the apparent poisoning death of an Irish setter who competed at Crufts, and reports surface of up to six more poisonings, one of the human contestants has come under fire for picking up her Scottish terrier by the tail during judging at the world’s largest dog show.
U.S. contestant Rebecca Cross, owner of Knopa, the Scottish terrier who won Best in Show at Crufts, was filmed picking the dog up by her tail and around its neck to place her on the ground. Now Cross is taking a bashing online.
Knopa’s crowning moment was interrupted during the show when a protestor with a sign reading “Mutts Against Crufts,” ran onto center stage and was spirited away by officials.
And the RSPCA is investigating reports than another canine contestant was beaten by his owner or handler outside the arena earlier in the week.
All in all, it’s fair to conclude, not a good year — public relations-wise — for Crufts.
To say the embarassing series of incidents this year, and all the scandals that have preceded them, are signs that dog beauty shows (and dog ugly shows) have run their course would be a knee-jerk reaction.
There are much better reasons they should become a thing of the past.
Jagger, the Irish setter who competed under the name Thendara Satisfaction, died the day after returning home to Belgium. His owners say a necropsy revealed his stomach contained beef cubes tainted with three strains of poison.
A full toxicology report is expected next week.
Meanwhile, the Independent reports that the owners of as many as six other dogs suspect their showpiece pets may have been poisoned while at Crufts.
A West Highland White terrier, an Afghan hound, two Shetland Sheepdogs and another Irish Setter have all reportedly fallen ill after the international competition.
Yesterday, there were reports that a shih tzu competing at Crufts had died after being poisoned, but UK’s Kennel Club said it could not confirm them. Nor is it confirming that Jagger died from poisoning.
If all that weren’t enough, another competitor has been alleged to have beaten his dog outside the arena — although photos circulating online don’t fully substantiate that. Both the RSPCA and the Kennel Club confirmed they were seeking more information on those allegations.
As for Knopa, the dog whose owner used her tail as a handle — we’d guess she does that to avoid messing up Knopa’s coiffure — Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kiskoe said handling a dog that way is improper, but apparently it’s not so frowned upon that it would lead the Kennel Club to revoke the title.
Knopa’s owner apparently picks her dog up that way often — at least often enough that it has become in her words, “a habit.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose, it was just habit,” Cross said. “It’s just one of those things.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 11th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beaten, comments, crufts, crufts 2015, dead, dog, dog shows, dogs, hoisted, internet, irish setter, jagger, judging, kennel club, knopa, owner, picked up by tail, poisoning, poisonings, rebecca cross, revoke, scandals, scottish terrier, tail, title
As prestigious and proper as the world of Crufts is, fear, loathing and backstabbing have never been strangers to the world’s largest dog show.
Murder, however, was — at least until this year.
The death of a competitor — an Irish setter named Thendara Satisfaction, but known as Jagger — is being investigated as just that, after his owners said a necropsy revealed poisoned meat in his stomach.
The three-year-old dog died after returning home to Belgium, the day after he won second place in his class at Crufts.
Some news reports, like this one in the Telegraph, are suggesting, without much to back it up, that a jealous rival dog owner could have been behind it — and owners of Jagger are saying they hope that is not the case.
“We compete week-in, week-out against each other and we have one thing in common, we all love dogs,” said co-owner Dee Milligan-Bott. “I think and hope it was a random act by someone who hates dogs, an opportunist.”
In either case, the death has shaken up Crufts, UK’s Kennel Club and dog show participants who say that, while dogs shows have never been free of scandal, this could become the darkest one in Cruft’s 100-year history.
“I can’t believe anyone could be so evil or vindictive,” said Gillian Barker-Bell, who judged Irish setters in the competition. “Dogs have been tampered with at other championship shows so this is not a first. But I have never heard of a dog actually dying. What a sick mind to do something like that.”
Sandra Chorley-Newton, another Irish setter judge, called it horrific: “This has shocked the whole dog community. The thought of it being another exhibitor is too awful to contemplate.”
“The Kennel Club is deeply shocked and saddened to hear that Jagger the Irish Setter died some 26 hours after leaving Crufts,” said Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary. “We have spoken to his owners and our heartfelt sympathies go out to them. We understand that the toxicology report is due next week and until that time we cannot know the cause of this tragic incident.”
Police in Belgium are investigating, according to the BBC.
According to the Telegraph report, two others dogs in the competition have taken ill, possibly from poisoning.
Jagger , who was owned by Milligan-Bott and Belgian Aleksandra Lauwers, collapsed and died after returning home to Belgium on Friday.
After celebrating their second place ribbon, Lauwers and her husband returned home with the dog by train.
“I prepared food for the dogs and I called Jagger to come over. He just collapsed and started shaking, it looked like a fit,” Mrs. Lauwers said. “We called our vet immediately. He started having diarrhea and urinating on himself. It looked like a heart attack. He went into a coma a minute later and died. The vet said it looked like poison.”
“It was dark red meat, it looked like beef. Inside there were small colours – white, dark green and black,” she added. “The vet is convinced it is poison, possibly a few different types to make it work more slowly but efficiently. The people in the clinic also suspected it was poison.”
Mr. Lauwers said he believed that Jagger was targeted, saying: “There is no other option, it had to have happened [at Crufts]. How can you mistakenly poison a dog?
“Jagger was such a promising dog. He was just three years old but he was well known around the world. Of course if you are successful, success doesn’t make you a whole lot of friends,” he added.
“I can only hope it wasn’t an act of jealousy by another competitor, but just a lunatic.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Dee Milligan-Bott)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 9th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgium, crufts, death, dog show, dog shows, dogs, investigation, irish setter, jagger, jealousy, kennel club, meat, murder, necropsy, pets, poison, poisoned, purebreds, scandal, thendara satisfaction, uk
Here’s a swingin’ dog pad — or maybe dog pod is a better term — and it only costs $30,000.
Samsung’s Dream Doghouse, on exhibit this week at Crufts, comes complete with an AstroTurf-covered treadmill, hydrotherapy pool, entertainment wall, and paw-controlled snack dispenser.
What, no fireplace? No bar? No dim-able lights?
International Business Times reports that a team of 12 designers and builders collaborated on the project, which took six weeks to complete.
“The Samsung Dream Doghouse looks sleek and modern, featuring the kind of tech the discerning dog of the future will need,” Andy Griffiths, president of Samsung Electronics in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a press release.
“From dogs who have social media profiles, to owners who use video calling to check on their pet while away, technology is fast becoming an integral part of everyday life,” he added.
(Too fast, we think.)
You can’t order one just yet — Samsung only made one of the “dream houses” and gave it away via a social media contest.
But they’re hoping it will create a buzz at the Crufts Dog Show, which runs March 5-8 at Birmingham, England’s National Exhibition Centre. Samsung is one of the dog show’s sponsors.
Griffiths said the company surveyed 1,500 dog owners and found that a quarter of them wanted their pets to have their own treadmill, as well as a tablet or TV. Of the dog owners surveyed, 64% believed their pets would benefit from more technology and gadgets, and 18% said they’d like their furry companion to have a hot tub.
The doghouse has a vinyl wall that can be covered with photos. On the opposite wall, there’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet — not so much because dogs can’t live without them, but because Samsung makes them.
So let’s review. The dog of the future will ensconce himself in a plastic pod, and watch videos, and soak in the spa, helping himself to treats whenever he wants one, but having the option to stay in shape by running on artificial grass while getting nowhere.
If that’s the dog of the future, I prefer to remain in the past.
(Photo: Gracie, a terrier cross, tries out the Samsung Dream Doghouse created by the tech firm to celebrate their sponsorship of Crufts 2015; by David Parry / PA Wire)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artificial grass, crufts, display, dog house, doghouse, dogs, exhibit, future, hot tub, hydrotherapy, pets, pool, samsung, samsung dream doghouse, screen, tablet, tech, technology, treadmill, treat dispenser, tv
A purebred flat-coated retriever won best in show, but it was a one-eyed mutt named Dudley, and his dazzling performance in an agility contest, that won over the crowd at Crufts — the pretentious, I mean presitigious, UK dog show that concluded this past weekend.
Dudley, a six-year-old Lhasa apso-pug mix who lost his eye as a pup, and later was given up by his owners, won an official Crufts rosette for his performance in the agility ring, beating out other rescued dogs in the competition, according to the Southern Daily Echo.
While we’ve been known to poke fun at purebred dog shows, it’s good to see them — on both sides of the pond — opening things up to mixed breeds, like Dudley. And, if the crowd reaction to him is any sign, it’s something they should do a lot more of.
“He was definitely the crowd’s favorite and got a huge cheer as he ran round,” Dudley’s owner, Lara Alford, from Southampton, said. “Over the last few days he has had so many admirers – he’s probably been one of the most photographed dogs at Crufts this year.”
Dudley had his right eye removed as a puppy because of an infection. At 14 months, his owners surrendered him at an animal adoption shelter.
Alford, shortly after adopting him, noticed his speed and maneuverability and began training him in agility. As they run the courses, she always stays on his left side, so he can see her.
At Crufts, the training paid off. “It was one of the fastest rounds Dudley’s ever done,” she said.
More than 21,000 dogs vied for honors at Crufts, which opened Thursday. In the best-in-show competition, Jet, a flat-coated retriever, beat out a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, a German shepherd, a boxer, a wire fox terrier, a standard poodle and a bichon frise.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agility, animals, best in show, breeds, crufts, dog shows, dogs, dudley, flat coated retriever, jet, lara alford, lhasa apso, mix, mixed breeds, mutts, one eye, one-eyed, pets, pug, purebreds