Humiliated at Crufts... 76-year-old ‘evicted’ from the show

18 Mar 2010 02:15

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A 76-YEAR-old woman taking part in the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme display teams was told to leave Crufts after the Kennel Club claimed her five-month-old German Shepherd puppy was unsound.
Pam Edgington (Starkstrom), who has been in the breed for 50 years and is an accredited breeder, was dismissed after one of the show’s vets declared her puppy showed ‘an abnormality in her hindquarters’.

Good citizen
Mrs Edgington, whose GSD won the Good Citizen classes at Crufts in 2007, ‘08 and ‘09 and this year was second, was told by officials she could not wait on the benches until her team had finished but must leave immediately.
The person who gave her a lift to the show had to get passes to leave the show to drive her back to Staffordshire to pick up her car, and then return to Crufts.
“My puppy was having such a lovely time talking to the people and children – even enjoying the noise,” Mrs Edgington said. “But the vet came to look at her, bent down and fussed her, stroked her back end and said she was unsound. He didn’t ask to see her move.
“He said, ‘Sorry, you will have to leave immediately’. Ten minutes later I was gone. The KC said that if an official says a dog is unsound it is in breach of KC regulations. I had to be evicted. Couldn’t I have been asked to withdraw from the team and sit on my bench and read my book?
“They didn’t ask me anything or ask me to give my side. The sad part is I am an accredited breeder; all my dogs are hip scored and health tested. But I won’t stay in the ABS now.
“You don’t exercise youngsters as you have to let their bones grow. You don’t want to mess them up so it is better to leave them alone until about nine months old. My puppy is extremely loose and I have no intention of doing anything with her. But because the KC is so strict now on this business – what they call being unsound. She isn’t – she is a baby and as such she is loose.
“I felt so humiliated and sick about it all. I am 76, I can do without this. Crufts won’t be getting any more entries from me. They have taken what was probably my last Crufts and ruined it.”

Mrs Edgington has only four GSDs – the puppy, her grandmother, mother and sister. On pastoral day at Crufts her dogs took a second and third.
“That’s the difference between an adult and a puppy,” she said. “But the KC has a vendetta against GSDs; they are targeting us.
“I feel sorry for the club who asked me to take part – and angry too. The reason they asked me was because I am 76 and I have a youngster who I’m training and they thought it would be fun for me. But it wasn’t, it was a nightmare.
“Everyone I know is behind me – they’re all appalled. In 50 years I have never been so humiliated.”
A KC spokesman confirmed that a GSD was excluded from the Good Citizen ring.
“This decision was taken upon the advice of the Crufts vet who felt that the dog showed abnormality in the hindquarters,” she said. “We are dedicated to ensuring that Crufts is a celebration of healthy dogs, and in a display ring, where there is no judge to make an executive decision, it is particularly important that the vet takes the responsibility for ensuring that all dogs are sound representatives of their breed.”