CRUFFA’s Swing and Miss

The day that was planned to be the jewel in CRUFFA’s crown was a dud when some laughable photos and captions were put on the CRUFFA Facebook group. The first was of a bulldog on it’s way into Crufts with Jemima stating the temperature was 10 degrees and the dog was panting. It was quickly pointed out that a lot of the dogs will pant on their way into Crufts as it is quite a walk from the car park to the NEC, not to mention a lot of dogs get excited seeing other dogs and people. It was really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find fault.

Another incident saw Jemima’s photographer Sue Thatcher confronted politely when she was taking photos of Bulldogs in their benching area. When she was asked if she had permission to photograph the dogs, she quickly walked away. However not before someone saw that she was wearing a press pass. I’m intrigued to find out exactly which publication (if any) she was representing. Or have CRUFFA applied and been granted press access by the Kennel Club, which is so is extremely bad judgement on their part.

Never the less, it was a good day for exhibitors who enjoyed watching some very beautiful dogs strutting their stuff on the green carpet and the dogs having fun while spending time with their owners.

True Colours?

Jemima Harrison has possibly shown her true colours following a debate on her CRUFFA group about a Tesco duvet set. You read that correctly, a duvet set.

It started with a post by JH about a duvet set which has a pug on it sold by Tesco and ended with her cursing at another member who challenged her. As you will read below, the other member remained polite and made their point without resorting to personal insults. The other member was told by JH to “F**k off” before being banned.

One of the points made by JH was that Tesco no longer sell battery farmed eggs which I have disproven as you will see from the picture below. Up until this point, I have not been permitted to join the CRUFFA group and several other pedigree supporters have been banned from the group in recent weeks after challenging posts made in the group. So it seems if you debate with JH then you are banned from the group. Very mature.

However, it is quite a change from her attacking the pedigree breeders who are trying to make a difference to certain breeds. When asked why they don’t go after puppy farmers and those breeding dogs to make money, one of her members stated that the puppy farmers would not listen. Indeed that sounds sensible, attack those who are trying to make a difference. That’s how it’s done *sarcasm*.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, let’s hope she doesn’t resort to such bad language and downright rudeness. With Crufts coming up, who knows what will happen. No doubt her members will be in attendance and taking pictures of dogs without permission. All I can say is watch this space.

 

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Out of Her Depth?

Out of Her Depth?

Well known positive reinforcement trainer Victoria Stilwell has found herself the topic of conversation following an incident while filming a new TV show. Guardians of The Night features law enforcement dogs and their handlers, following them around while on duty and getting an insight to the training these dogs have in order to become first class police dogs.
It seems that during a training session, Stilwell was bitten by a Belgian Malinois.

In a statement on her Facebook page, she stated that she had “six very deep puncture wounds with two drains in my legs…” she also stated that the cause of the incident was “Combination of wrong place at the wrong time and major handler error.” Now I am no expert in police dog training by any means but I have seen them work and know that a lot of training goes into it. It intrigues me as to how she can blame the handler.
She has come under fire from dog trainers around the world who believe her training methods are not suitable.

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Several witness statements have come out defending the handler stating that Stilwell was trying to get a better camera angle and was in a position she shouldn’t have been. After a blazing on social media, she removed the statement, however screenshots are now making their way round social media and people are giving their own opinions on what happened.

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Regardless of who was at fault, a dog bite is no fun. However, considering the number of followers she has, it may have been better if Stilwell had waited until she’d spoken to the people at the centre she’d been filming at before posting and blaming the handler. I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she’s learned something from this incident.

Paid A Pittance

Being a writer is difficult enough. You spend hours in front of your computer writing and even then you are not guaranteed to make money from it. However, recently I have noticed a ridiculous amount of ads on freelancing sites offering ludicrous amounts of money for writing pieces. One article offered $1.50 for 500 words which is just sickening.

As writers, we work hard to improve ourselves and it’s not easy. Another ad offered $1 for 500 words.
Now, there are some who may say that 500 words isn’t a lot, however what you don’t realise is that it’s not just a case of writing a piece and sending it in. There will probably be research to be conducted as well as editing once the piece is complete to ensure that it is up to acceptable standards. For people to offer such low amounts of money is unbelievable and quite frankly insulting.

Just because you need something written doesn’t mean you can pay a pittance. We work hard on the pieces we write and it’s hard enough to find work let alone being paid such a small amount. I think it’s time that we writers stand up for ourselves and say that enough is enough. We should not have to accept such low rates for the hard work we do.

Bat Shit Crazy

No matter what aspect of the dog world you get into, you will always meet bat shit crazy people who will force their opinions on you and would love nothing more than to blacklist you if you don’t agree with them.

Recently there was a story of a woman who resigned from a humane society because of the threats she received after buying a pedigree dog. Seriously? I mean assuming the woman went to a responsible and ethical breeder who the hell cares if she bought a pedigree? It’s automatically a law that since she works at a humane society she should only own rescue dogs? A lot of people thought so and when I read their comments, I couldn’t help but wonder what these people were thinking? They were sending death threats to someone who had worked hard to rescue animals and it didn’t even matter if this woman took excellent care of her newly purchased pooch, all that mattered was that she had bought a dog and not rescued one. She’s now out of a job because society today has the power to ruin your life with a few clicks of keys.

Does this mean I’m an asshole for buying my springers and wolfdog? I rescued my lurcher but that won’t matter. I once heard “You can do ninety-nine things for someone and they’ll only focus on the one thing you didn’t do.” That’s how it seems to work in the dog world. You can have a lot of success but the second you screw up, that’s it. Game over. You shall never walk the path of light again. And neither will your dog.

Almost as bad as letting your dog wag his tail near someone at a dog show. There will be some major huffing and puffing going on.

The silver lining in this? Once you get through the crazies, you’ll find us. The people who although are probably bat shit crazy, but in a good way. We’re the ones who will laugh when your dog decides he doesn’t want to do what’s asked and runs riot instead of glaring and shaking our heads.
We’re also the ones who will support you. You’ll usually find us laughing like jackals somewhere at training or a show.

Max

Max’s Plight by Lynn-Alexandria McKendrick

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Backstory

It is a difficult decision to rehome your dog, especially if the reason is your own health deteriorating. Pets can prove to be the best medicine however when that animal needs a more active life, it can be better for the animal to be rehomed.

This is the situation Heather Hopper and her family found themselves in when it came to their gorgeous shepherd/mastiff cross called Max.

Heather rescued Max when he was just 6 weeks old in Spain and raised this little bundle of pup into a handsome and happy dog. As it would tragically turn out, the person who owned Max’s Mother had her and the remaining pups euthanased leaving Max as the only survivor.

Due to her deteriorating health, Heather and her husband found themselves making a swift move back to the UK from Spain and brought Max with them. He enjoyed his walks on the beach and in the woods where he made many friends in other dogs.

An incident in March of this year saw Max attacked on the beach by 3 greyhounds, thankfully Max didn’t have any injuries however he was after the incident, wary and took a little longer to get to know dogs he had not met before. Heather and her husband decided it would be better for Max to find a home with a younger family who could handle a large breed.

 

After numerous phone calls, Max was invited for a pre-assessment by Blue Cross in Thirsk. Heather took him along and they were met by Emma Pannell the rehoming centre manager and were taken to a building on the premises where they were joined by the behaviourist. Max was played with by the women who were throwing squeaky toys and generally getting to know him. Max was more than happy to play and brought over the toys for them, responded to their calls for him and was the perfect guest.

The second part of the assessment involved Emma Pannell taking Max on a leash outside while another handler brought out a decoy puppet that looked like a young german shepherd, this would be to see how Max might respond to another dog being brought into the vicinity. Max was released and bounded over to the decoy dog, he sniffed it, bounced about and then turned away and played with a toy.

Once the assessment was over, the women told Heather that they would be able to take Max and find him a good, suitable home.

 

Max was taken by the Blue Cross on the 22nd of November. Heather signed a contract which was not explained to her in any detail, as it turned out, Heather found a suitable home for Max with support from a rescue who specialised in dealing with dogs of Max’s breed and size however the Blue Cross stated that the contract Heather had signed meant the dog now belonged to them. Heather had no idea this would be the case, the contract she signed was not explained to her in any sense when she was handed it. Over the next two weeks, Heather received updates from the centre that Max was doing great, they discussed words that Heather would use when Max was on leash to slow his pace and commands that he was used to. The third week, Heather would receive a call describing a completely different dog.

According to the Blue Cross, Max had become severely aggressive, he was urinating himself, growling and trying to claw under the kennel and fence to get out. Against the advice of Heather, they had brought another dog into the paddock with Max instead of a gradual introduction as they had been advised by his owner and when Max growled at the other dog, he was labelled aggressive. They said that Max was making staff nervous and he would be put to sleep either Monday or Tuesday.

Heather’s health became worse as she worried about the welfare and life of the dog she had rescued as a young pup and got in touch with Wheldon Law who specialise in cases concerning dog law etc.

Wheldon Law requested that the Blue Cross allow an independent behaviourist to come onto their premises and conduct an assessment on Max to see exactly what was going on with him. This was refused by the Blue Cross Thirsk Centre who refused to put calls from Wheldon through to the centre manager. Eventually, Wheldon were told not to contact the Thirsk centre at all and instead route their calls to Blue Cross’s head office. Other rescues offered to take Max and take full responsibility for them and this was also denied by the Blue Cross. It seemed that Max’s fate had already been sealed by the Blue Cross and nothing was going to change their mind. All contact to Heather from Blue Cross was cut and despite her pleading to be allowed to be with Max in his final minutes, this was denied.

Max was put to sleep and his owner who had raised him, loved him and who he trusted was prevented from being with him the last moments of his life.

 

Common Sense

It’s not rocket science to those of us who have worked with dogs for any amount of time that they will act differently in a kennel environment and may become stressed and sometimes aggressive. Kennel guarding is something many vets, kennel workers and handlers are used and usually when the dog is removed from the kennel, their behaviour is back to normal.

Max had no history of aggression, he had been through a traumatic experience with the attack by the greyhounds and it’s understandable that where other dogs were concerned, he had to have a gradual introduction instead of just suddenly bringing another dog into the area with him. Look on any rescue page and you will see a dog that cannot be homed with other dogs because they don’t get on, it’s not something you sentence a dog to death for.

 

Questions

Why, after two weeks of glowing reports did Max suddenly change? Did the behaviourists dealing with him even question why this had happened? Did they go through their encounters with Max and determine what may have caused this sudden change in behaviour? Was Max’s aggression so bad and so far that the only outcome for him was death?

In my opinion? There are a lot of questions about this case that need to asked. The history and behaviour of this dog before he went to Blue Cross raises a lot of questions as to what happened in those three weeks he was in kennels.

If Blue Cross are so dedicated to helping all the animals that come through their doors, why did they not allow an independent assessor to come into the centre and assess Max? The reply on their twitter page was:

Blue Cross

However as I pointed out to them myself, Max did not have to be released for the assessment to take place. It could easily have taken place within their centre and perhaps Max may still be alive.

The word ‘Liable’ is being thrown around quite a lot. The rescues who offered to take Max had assured the Blue Cross that they would no longer be responsible for Max, just as Heather had signed a contract to sign Max over to the Blue Cross, they could have signed him over a to a rescue better equipped and knowledgeable to deal with a dog of Max’s size and breed. Fife Dog Rescue and Harc Hope Animal Rescue both offered this dog a place. He could have gone to a foster home rather than remain in a kennel environment.

There is also the question of the statement released by the Blue Cross concerning Max’s death:

Max Statement

Max was signed over to the Blue Cross because of his owners’ ill health and they thought he would have a better quality of life with a younger family who could take him out for long walks. It was not because of behaviour problems. The only mention of Max previous behaviour was his wary behaviour around new dogs following the greyhound attack.

 

As a charity who have their twitter cover photo labelled ‘I Will Survive!’ the Blue Cross will have to answer the questions posed to them about Max’s situation. Max did not survive and considering the popularity this story is raising on social media, it is not going to be forgotten.

Heather and her family deserve to know the full story about what happened to their beautiful dog. It is obvious from their posts that they adored Max and ultimately only wanted the best for him.

There is a gofundme page where you can donate to help Heather and her family cover their legal costs:

 

https://www.gofundme.com/vhfgbvvw