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K C faces challenge to licensing monopoly

No-one can deny there is great dissatisfaction, even anger at the Kennel Club’s decision to regulate the average number of dogs per class at the Open Shows.

Jim Lettherd, secretary of Blackburn Canine Society has seized the initiative and has formed a new company, Dog Shows Ltd., the purpose of which, at the moment, is to licence shows allowing clubs to advertise their shows as ‘licensed under the auspices of Dog Shows Ltd.’

He cites as an example of the financial disaster facing canine clubs the fact that the costs of running a show in the North East of the country including licences, insurance, maintenance of title, venue rental, honoraria, rosettes, postage and advertising as £1,499 for one show. With an entry of 250 dogs, a repeat from one third represents an income of £875 and therefore a loss of £625.

In the south of the country the costs are commensurately higher, small clubs have no chance to survive. Jim Lettherd makes the statement that the Kennel Club has made it clear they intend to reduce the number of Open show societies but do not make it clear that they intend to bankrupt them. He believes that the Kennel Club takes money and does as little as possible for dog people. He told our reporter that in his opinion the Kennel Club has lost the plot and instead of caring for pedigree dogs they are interested in their careers in dogs and making a living
from our hobby at our cost.

He is in the process of writing standards for all breeds to which judges will be expected to adhere. It is not his intention for force a new set of rules on the participating clubs, he believes that they are quite capable of running properly controlled shows on their own behalf.

Two senior members of the local shows’ executive will be invited onto a Dog Shows Ltd committee to agree show rules, they may want to adopt all, or part of, Mr Lettherd’s rules which will apply to his own club.

Many show managements and exhibitors are of the opinion that the death knell for canine clubs staging Open Shows has been sounded because many of the small clubs which are the backbone of the business are unlikely to get a sufficiently large entry, thereby negating the possibility of getting a licence from the Kennel Club for the following year.

The fact that judges will not get the necessary hands on experience nor would the numerically small breeds get a chance to be scheduled seems not to be in the Kennel Club’s equation,

Even if they are allowed one show per year free of restriction, it is certain that it would not provide enough finance to keep the club viable. Clubs depend on the small profits they make on their shows to finance their activities during the following year and without profit and without Open Shows they have no option but to shut down. There is a strong body of opinion that thinks whether canine clubs make money or not has nothing to do with the Kennel Club, it is the responsibility of the club’s committee.

Jim Lettherd believes that he will get the support of both club secretaries and exhibitors simply because they will have no other outlet. Jim also believes that people in the dog game are so sick of the petty rules and the restrictions on what is, after all, a hobby that they will seize the opportunity to show whether or not the Kennel Club is concerned.

He fundamentally believes that we have the absolute right to exhibit at, and judge at any show, we so wish without the threat of being banned or disqualified by the Kennel Club. It is doubtful if the Kennel Club would ban several hundred exhibitors and club committee members, their finances are depleted enough as it is.

He has taken legal advice and it is the opinion of his advisors that under today’s laws the Kennel Club would have no right to discipline members of the public if they exhibited dogs at shows they neither licensed nor recognise.

It is not Mr Lettherd’s intention to have a head to head confrontation with the Kennel Club, he wishes only to provide a service which the Kennel Club is either unwilling or unable to offer, people can then continue their hobby without let or hindrance. He told OUR DOGS that his company is for dog people run by dog people.

OUR DOGS contacted the Kennel Club Press Office who were aware of some of the proposals but were unable to comment as we went to press early because of the Christmas deadlines.