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Dandie Dinmont Club
Special General Meeting ‘undemocratic’


THE STRIFE-torn Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club’s Special general meeting in Barnsley last Sunday (December 1st) was held amidst much rancour and ill-feeling, with accusations being levelled at the new Committee for failing to conduct the meeting in a democratic, constitutional manner, and in breach of Kennel Club guidelines.

The Vice-Chair of the Club oversaw the meeting, although members present pointed out, on more than one occasion, that she was leading the discussions, rather than taking a neutral role. Her control of the meeting was brought into question when some vociferous individuals were allowed to talk over other members who wished to express a point.

The main undertaking of the meeting was to discuss no less than 10 separate alterations to Rule 7, all of which referred to the structure of the Club Committee.

Initially, the club treasurer outlined the reasons for these alterations, particularly the case for reducing committee numbers and paid tribute to member John Charlton for tabling the amendments, at which point Mr Charlton sharply denied that the amendments were down to him, leading to much heated discussion on this point.

Rule 7c was quite a contentious point. The existing rule stated that the Committee should consist of up to 12 members, each of whom must have been members for five years. The motion put forward was to reduce the maximum number of committee members to nine, each of which must have three years experience.

An amendment to this proposal was tabled to change the wording to a maximum of 12 members with three years’ standing.

The voting on the amendment was 14 for, 14 against, but with no abstentions sought or recorded. The Acting Chair gave her casting vote against the motion.

The original motion was then passed by 16 votes to 14, which showed an obvious discrepancy in the voting.

OUR DOGS understands that the Chair and Committee tried to close the meeting several times before members had finished discussion of vital points. It is understood that when the meeting considered Rule 7g, whereby any change of Committee members should to be notified to membership, the Committee refused to answer questions as to why this had not been done. At least two members pointed out that the KC had written to them and said that such an explanation must be given although this point was ignored.

It is alleged that the Committee closed the meeting by walking away from the table, whilst the treasure seemed to assume the Acting Chairman’s role by banging her gavel loudly to close the meeting.

Complaint

It is understood that the KC has clearly stated that a rule whereby club members are allowed to call for an SGM should be in the club rules, but such a rule does not appear in the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club’s rule book. Again, discussion on this point was ignored.

According to a club source, the meeting was therefore unconstitutional and a complaint will be made to the KC.

One member, who did not wished to be identified told OUR DOGS that the meeting was a "farce" and said: "Democracy not well served that day."

Despite efforts to make contact with DDTC officials, OUR DOGS was unable to secure a comment before going to press.

* Two weeks ago, OUR DOGS published a news item about a complaint by disaffected DDTC members about the failure of the Committee to organise health testing seminars for Dandie Dimonts, as previously agreed at the Club AGM.

At the time, Acting Secretary Hilary Abbott told OUR DOGS: "Further to the letter sent by aggrieved and now resigned former committee members, I am pleased to report that a letter will shortly be going out to all members of the club, giving full details of a free eye testing day which is to take place on Sunday, January 12th 2003.

"The day is being funded by a research grant and Professor Peter Bedford is hoping to see as many Dandies as possible."

Mrs Abbott added that Professor Bedford was extremely busy, and his work commitments had prevented the eye testing day from taking place any sooner than January next year.
She added: "In April 2003, at the Open Dandie Dinmont Show and AGM, blood testing [for health screening purposes] will take place."

OUR DOGS have since spoken to Professor Peter Bedford, who works for the Royal Veterinary College. Professor Bedford denied knowledge of any ‘research grant’. "I am not aware of any funding for the eye testing day," said Professor Bedford, although the club may possibly be raising money to pay for the hire of testing venues.

"The testing is all part of private research I am undertaking to devise a reliable test to detect hyperthyroid glaucoma in the breed.

"There are plans to devise an agreed test for the European Veterinary College, although not all of the criteria for this have been agreed. Grants for research may then be available, but currently this is not the case."