People were buzzing at Georgia shows about the point scale, judges measuring, Finnegan's tragedy, Mary Wild, Eric Salas, and where to dump your RV.
May 11, 2010 | TheDogPress.com
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
I missed saying hello to President Tom Greer but the lovely lady at the entrance gate set the stage for southern hospitality, from the warm welcome to her lovely outfit, complete with a perfectly coordinated sun-brim hat. The congenial atmosphere was only slightly spoiled by hard winds on Saturday which kept temperatures down but raised well-taped mats, actually lifting toy dogs as they gaited!
The Oconee River Kennel Club had packed and partially carpeted the loose sand that made short legged dog owners avoid the show site in the past. Hiram’s sinfully gorgeous Peke bitch managed the dust without a sniffle but the Skye Terrier did his best to wet it down as he urinated forever (!) during Best In Show which he and Larry Cornelius captured under Barbara Alderman.
Enjoyed watching Sue Catlin sort working breeds the first day, and Peter Baynes do the Group on Sunday. Both judges are well credentialed in working dogs, Peter as a handler and Sue as the Happy Legs / Sammy breeder. The Vicky Jones Malamute was exciting as she stretched powerful legs and showed Group spectators that bitches can move as well as dogs! No specials in Akitas but the pretty bitch in Group soon will be. Jeff Brucker handled a really "dark" but well-made Rottie. ARC still dealing with uncropped tails and I was told that the loss of rust markings may be next on the "preserve the Rottweiler" list.
Commiserated with Peter over Ed Finnegan’s tragic loss of his soul mate last week. Kay died from a totally unsuspected heart problem. We had talked a lot at Raleigh and she was fine. Losing her is a really low blow to the ex-heavyweight boxer. Ed is one of my dearest and oldest friends and I trust everyone will stand by him. He never complains, always has a funny story, but this has knocked him down and he needs our support.
Huge entry in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels under Barbara Alderman and Carole Beattie. Speaking of entries, everyone was wondering why, with shows already struggling last year, the point scale went up in 2009 in most breeds? Then I was told that it went up yet again this year, especially in California even though entries continue to plummet! The big question was “Why?” One off-the-cuff answer was that AKC must want to be rid of “show breeders” once and for all. That drew raised eyebrows but I agreed, the vice continues to tighten on us pesky people.
Show breeders contribute little registration income to AKC’s coffers (compared to commercial breeders) but we are a fussy, demanding bunch. Just imagine how much happier AKC would be if the board could recapture $40 million in lost puppy mill registrations and we show breeders just took a hike. The handlers could all show for Hunte and other “high volume breeders” and everything would be hunky-dory at 51 Mad Ave. Just a thought…
Our Little Bird wasn’t in Georgia but I heard that Mary Wild, who embarrassed professional handlers and gave Malamute breeders the shivers, is finally going to court next month. I wouldn’t recognize Marcia Wild but was told she was there and that mom is calling Mary’s friends to ask them to be a character witness at her trial. I see that as akin to asking the Virgin Mary to dance with the devil but I’m sure Malamute people will do the right thing. The Dog Press will continue to follow the long-delayed trial in hopes that justice will prevail.
Eric Salas is in trouble again for violation of his non-compete contract with the Chris Christensen System company. On top of that, the state of Texas filed charges for criminal fraud in conjunction with a phone hearing Chris agreed to due to Eric's hardship claim. It turned out that Salas's "attorney" was a receptionist at a legal firm and well, the judge did not take kindly to that! The woman signed an affidavit that Eric Salas was aware they were committing fraud. The state filed charges, Salas failed to show up in court, is now in contempt of court, owes Texas $3659 and we heard IRS isn't happy with him either. Chris has been more than patient (and generous!) with Salas. He said "Eric has a grooming shop and could have gone back to handling and training but within hours after he left us, he joined forces with another company and had a website up."
Insiders got the Eric Salas story over a year ago and readers were amazed that AKC allows some handlers to get by with actions that seriously harm the sport while a judge like George Boulton gets clobbered. Salas's court date is scheduled for October but there is little doubt how that will turn out. We will keep you informed.
Why do judges ignore what may be the best dog instead of measuring or weighing? This subject comes up frequently and who knows what AKC says nowadays? Some judges have a mark on their pants leg or skirt indicating “within” size but a very authoritative AKC Rep told me long ago that the proper procedure is to MEASURE THE DOG if in doubt. Duh! I suppose if a judge feels the dog would be out of the ribbons even if it measured or weighed in, it doesn’t justify delaying the judging to call for a wicket or scales. On the other hand, over forty years of believing in our system pokes me in the back and says “it is the judge’s job to help breeders (even the dishonest or unthinking ones) eliminate serious faults in purebred dogs. A breed standard that disqualifies for size considers it a pretty doggone serious fault right? So is it right for the judge to shirk duty and allow that dog to go home with a ribbon and be bred?
Opinions were that some judges are just taking the easy way out. Saying to hell with the breed they’ve been paid to judge. One owner laughed and observed that it might shorten the judge's lunch break to wait for a wicket or scales to be brought to the ring. Another said measuring or weighing might throw handlers off schedule. Many reasons, many things may go through a judge’s mind but the only consideration should be to judge according to the breed standard.
A terrier handler remarked that it's getting harder for judges to get a scale or wicket to the ring. If so, shame on the clubs. Maybe it is just tacit understanding between AKC, judges, and kennel clubs that nobody cares except us pesky breed purists?
In case there’s anyone else as inept as me… Bill always took care of things like dumping the tanks. He even put in a dump station at our Roto-Rooter facility but what to do at shows that have no dumping facilities? I could almost hear Bill say "Ask C J Favre!" So I did. “Well BJ, go right up I-85 to exit 160 at the Flying J Truck Stop” says CJ. “You’re kidding” says me. “Nope, most Flying J’s have dump stations.” CJ is never wrong and sure enough, there was a line to dump at the truck stop.
Just thought I’d mention it. If you’re a President’s Club member, there’s no cost to dump at Camping World (exit 17 on I-85) but they’re closed on Sundays. If you know of locations or facilities in your area, send them to Editor@TheDogPress.com and we’ll develop a list for readers.