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(Updated 30/8/01)

'Jersey' suspends three members after allegations

A dark cloud hangs over three members of Jersey Dog Club who have been banned following a serious breach of the island's foot and mouth disease restrictions.

Peter Walker, Clair Bannister and Sara Cooper were found guilty by Jersey Dog Club of alleged 'discreditable conduct in repsect of dogs'. The three allegedly broke the restrictions on importation during the foot and mouth epidemic with a Standard Poodle and two Lhasa Apsos.

Mike Nicholls, a Jersey states vet, was reporting on the matter in the Jersey Evening Post last week.

Apparently the three had been granted import permits, allowing them to bring dogs in from unaffected areas of the UK. However the owners had been seen attending shows in the UK before they returned to the island.

He was also quoted by Jersey Evening Post as saying that 'if we had been aware of that happening we would not have allowed them to come back under those conditions'.

The accusations mean that Peter Walker faces a five year ban, Clair Bannister, a two year ban and Sara Cooper a one year ban. This follows their sighting at a number of dog shows in the UK, one of which was Crufts, already previously postponed due to the crisis.

Jersey Dog Club President, Brian Cummins was also mentioned in the report. He said that 'it was a very serious issue and the club had to be seen acting responsibly.'

He also mentioned the large attendance figure at the extraordinary meeting, which he said reflected the strength of feeling on the matter.

It was unfortunate that the club had call upon its disciplinary proceedings as there has rarely been a need to do so. However the club felt very strongly on the matter, particularly after their own efforts to keep to the agricultural restrictions. As on the mainland, shows were cancelled or postponed to try and stop the spread of the disease.

The allegations are being contested by the three owners. Consequently, their representatives, Voisin & Co were unable to comment as there is the possibility of legal proceedings.

Mike Nicholls, also commented 'at the time it was more critical because the disease was more rampant in the UK, no one knew where the disease was.'

He was also heard saying that the three members concerned were deemed to have breached the spirit of the permit, rather than the permit conditions themselves.

An appeal is expected to be lodged.