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Rita Benner

When I first met Rita Benner in the 1980’s she was first and foremost a Bullmastiff owner who cared passionately for her own dogs but who was not really all that interested in showing or in the whole show scene. She gradually took more part in the breed club, always working for the welfare of the Bullmastiff.

It wasn’t until the German states began to mobilise and legislate against dogs in general, and certain breeds in particular, that Rita Benner, by nature a very private person, took up the cudgels to defend her beloved Bullmastiffs and became a very high profile public figure. It was thanks to Rita that we all became aware of what was going on in Germany and the international implications of these draconian laws. Her account of life with Rosie in a repressive state moved many people and led to a greater awareness here of what dog owners were going through.

There is an awful irony in the fact that Rita has died just as the Bullmastiff has been taken off the proscriptive lists in Germany - one can only hope that she knew this. Perhaps this is the most important memorial to such a courageous campaigner.

Rita will be sorely missed by her many friends. Her beloved Rosie is being looked after by close friends and is now safe thanks to all her mistress’s efforts. Surely Rita’s example of how one individual can achieve so much will inspire the rest of the world to be pro-active in defence of our dogs.

Pamela Jeans-Brown - Molosser Bullmastiffs