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
After 14 years on the world’s longest running children program, Mabel, a border collie mix, has died.
Seen by millions of children on “Blue Peter,” Mabel was the BBC program’s first rescue dog.
“She was dearly loved and that’s a credit to her quirky character. She’ll be sorely missed by the presenters and viewers alike,” said Helen Skelton, one of the program’s co-hosts.
Mabel, who retired last year, was the second-longest serving dog on the show. Another, named Petra, appeared on the show for 15 years.
Her death came barely a month after the death of her canine co-star Lucy, according to the Daily Mail.
Mabel was originally featured on the program in 1996 when then presenter Katy Hill met her while making a film about the RSPCA. She joined the show a month later. Her name came from the letters MAB1 which were written on her RSPCA kennel.
Mabel, who was thought to be 16, was notable for her different colored eyes – one brown, one blue – and a folded-over ear. She starred alongside 14 different presenters in hundreds of studio shows.
After retirement, she lived with a former member of the show’s production team
The BBC show’s presenters announced the news about the border collie to viewers last night.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bbc, blue peter, border collie, childrens, childrens show, death, died, dog, dogs, helen skelton, mabel, mix, pets, program, rescue, rspca, shelter, show, television, tv
Electric shock collars have been banned in Wales.
Under the ban — the first in the UK – owners who zap their dogs for misbehaving face a fine of up to £20,000 or six months in prison.
Around 500,000 electric collars are in use in the UK, including some 20,000 in Wales, the Daily Mail reported.
Pet welfare groups, including the RSPCA and the Kennel Club, say the electronic devices cause unnecessary pain and suffering, and that they’d like to see the ban extended across Britain.
Proponents of the collars say they can improve the behavior of dogs that would otherwise be put down, train excitable pets to stop running into traffic and stop them from worrying sheep or inflicting other damage. Banning the collars, they say, could lead to shelters being inundated with unmanageable pets.
The RSPCA counters that, rather than using pain and punishment to train dogs, pet owners should use rewards such as treats and balls. It called The Welsh Assembly’s decision “a historic day for animal welfare.”
“‘Wales has proven it is truly leading the way,” Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said, “and we hope the rest of the UK will follow by example to outlaw these cruel and unnecessary devices.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, banned, behavior, cats, collars, correcting, dogs, electric, electric collar, electric shock collar, electronic, fines, illegal, kennel club, news, ohmidog!, pain, pets, prison, punishment, rspca, shelters, shock, suffering, training, uk, wales, welsh, zap
An independent investigation launched after a BBC documentary raised concerns about purebred breeding practices concludes the health of many animals is being put at risk by some breeders.
Britain’s Kennel Club and Dogs Trust funded the inquiry, which looked at puppy farms, inbreeding, and breeding for extreme features.
Cambridge University professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who is president of the Zoological Society of London, said the report concludes that conditions of some puppy farms was “not good” and “probably in breach of the Animal Welfare Act”.
Also, the report says, some breeders were responsible for “too much” inbreeding, creating “all sorts of health problems,” such as the “very big head of the bulldog” that necessitated about 90% of them giving birth through Caesarian section, according to the BBC.
The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust funded the independent inquiry after concerns highlighted in the 2008 BBC documentary, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed,” which reported that breeders, in an attempt to meet Kennel Club standards and win dog shows, exaggerated the features of breeds at the expense of dogs’ health.
The BBC report, which led the Royal SPCA to pull out of Crufts, said many physical traits called for by the Kennel Club’s breed standards, such as short faces and dwarfism, led to inherent health problems.
The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, changed many of its breed standards in January 2009 to exclude ”anything that could in any way be interpreted as encouraging features that might prevent a dog breathing, walking and seeing freely.”
Specific changes included calling for leaner, less wrinkly bulldogs; shortening the forelegs of German shepherds which, through breeding, had gotten overly long and weak; and less fluffy coats on chow chows so they wouldn’t become distressed in hot weather.
Judges at licensed dog shows were instructed to choose only the healthiest dogs as champions, and expel any dogs that showed signs of ill-health from the Crufts show.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: appearance, breed standards, breeds, britain, crufts, dog shows, dogs, dogs trust, great britain, health, inbreeding, kennel club, pedigree dogs exposed, physical, purebreds, rspca, standards, traits
Roland, an abandoned sharpei, has had a face lift.
While sharpeis are prized for their wrinkly skin — and dog show breed standards deem it desirable — it can also lead to a condition called entropion, in which the wrinkles cause a dog’s eyelashes to turn inward and rub against the eyeballs.
For Roland, found as a stray and taken in by the RSPCA, the condition likely would have led to blindness, and it lessened his chances of finding an adoptive home.
The solution, according to the Daily Telegraph, was a double eye lift and full face lift.
“What we have done is made him adoptable,” RSPCA chief vet Magdoline Awadshe said. “It is not uncommon in this breed, it is a congenital problem.”
Roland’s 90-minute surgery eye lift surgery and excess face wrinkle removal cost almost $1000.
It’s not uncommon for sharpeis to undergo the procedure, in which a swath of of skin from across the animal’s forehead and between his eyes is removed, and the remaining skin is pulled together and sewn with stitches. Chow chows, bulldogs, pugs and other breeds are also prone to the condition.
The RSPCA says Roland is one of growing number of sharpeis turning up at animal shelters. Members of the once rare breed are often abandoned after owners realize the costs of correcting their congenital health problems.
(Photo: Daily Telegraph)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, after, animals, before, blindness, congenital, dogs, entropion, eyelashes, eyes, face lift, magdoline awad, pets, removed, rspca, shar peis, shar-pei, sharpei, sharpeis, shelter, surgery, wrinkles
A dog breeder who abandoned 99 St. Bernards to go on vacation has been sentenced to 18 weeks for animal cruelty.
Mary Collis, 51, admitted to seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to 85 dogs and failing to meet the needs of 14 dogs at an earlier hearing, according to a BBC report.
Collis, a trained veterinary nurse, was also banned from keeping any animals for 10 years.
One of the 99 St. Bernards had to be put to sleep the night they were found, nearly a year ago. Another died the following day at a vets. Twelve more died after that, as a result of their abandonment, according to testimony. The remaining 83 dogs have since been adopted after a campaign by the RSPCA.
Collis, who had declared bankruptcy in 2007 and was facing eviction, abandoned the dogs to go on vacation with her partner. RSPCA inspectors and police went into the kennels five days later, after receiving public complaints.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 99, abandoned, abandonment, animal cruelty, breeder, courts, dogs, jail, mary collis, neglect, nurse, rspca, sentence, sentencing, st. bernards, uk, vacation, veterinary
A new wave of dogfighting is sweeping England, resulting in a 12-fold increase in dogfights since 2004.
And most practitioners — about two of every three — are youths, the Royal SPCA says.
A BBC report quotes RSPCA officials as saying a ban on four breeds, including pit bulls, has done little to slow the spread of dogfighting, or dogs biting people, and that a change in the law is needed.
The new wave of dog fighting, known as “chain fighting” or “rolling,” involves fights held in inner city public parks, on private estates and even in apartment elevators where ”young people, often gangs of young people … put two dogs in a lift at the top of the block of flats and will press the button and let the dogs fight until they get to the bottom,” the RPSCA’s Claire Robinson told BBC News. Read more »
Posted by John Woestendiek October 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attacks, ban, bites, breed, breeds, chain fighting, dog, dogfighting, dogs, elevators, enforcement, england, fighting, gangs, increase, law, london, parks, rolling, royal spca, rspca, surge, uk, young, youth