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Dobermann Club’s pavilion torched

The venue was used by clubs for summer shows

ARSONISTS WERE blamed for the total destruction of the Dobermann Club’s Show and Training Ground pavilion last week. The facility, located on land purchased by the club in Digswell Village, near Welwyn Garden City was built in 1998 and was available to all canine clubs and disciplines for use, including open shows, agility events, training classes, seminars and AGMs.

The pavilion was built on five acres of land purchased by the club’s Land Fund Committee which had been raising funds for such a facility for close on twenty years. The Committee and the project was established by club Chairman Derek King and his wife Margaret, the Show Manager, after they saw a similar all-purpose facility on the Continent.

The purchase of the land cost around £45,000, with more than £25,000 being spent in clearing rubble from the site and making the ground good, levelling it off and laying new turf.

The pavilion itself cost over £20,000 to build and was hailed by all users as the very best facility for any dog-related event.

All that remained of the pavilion after the fire

Club Vice President Mike Mullan told OUR DOGS of how shocked officials were informed of the pavilion’s total destruction in the early hours of Monday, October 7th.

"It looks as though the vandals scaled the fence around the perimeter of the land and dragged a steel barbecue set from its brick base across the pavilion wall and then used this to climb on the roof," said Mr Mullan. "They then poured inflammable liquid down into the pavilion from the skylight and set fire to the place.

"Everything inside the pavilion was totally destroyed, including two fridge freezers, a fridge, microwaves and two lawn mowers, tables, chairs and all the fixtures and fittings. But what was absolutely irreplaceable was the prints of individual winning Dobermanns on the wall of fame – they’re all gone forever now."

Mr Mullan bemoaned the fact that Welwyn Garden City council had insisted that the pavilion be built out of wood rather bricks or profile steel, in the same way that many similar facilities are built.

"They said brick or steel would detract from the area," said Mr Mullan, "but it can be made to look just as attractive as wood. We hope when we rebuild the pavilion we will be allowed to make it from bricks or profile steel. But as for that looking unattractive, the joke of the matter is, the land was derelict when we purchased it. The council had bought it from a farmer, decided they couldn’t do anything with it because it was in such a state and then sold it back to the farmer, after which we bought it. We made the land good, and all the local residents who live around the field say how lovely it looks. They all enjoyed seeing the dogs there, they were happy with us being there.

"The trouble is nowadays that councils just don’t like dogs. So many church halls and village halls have kicked dog clubs out because of this anti-dog feeling. They’re always going on about dogs fouling and creating a nuisance, but they deny people the facilities for training clubs to prevent anti-social behaviour."

However, Mr Mullan, who himself raised £10,000 towards building the facility by staging seminars, said that the club remained defiant and would not be beaten by the arsonists.

Dobermann Club Secretary Viv Lucas added: "The insurance will cover us and we will rebuild the pavilion. Obviously we’re very saddened by what has happened, especially losing those irreplaceable prints on the Wall of Fame. But we won’t walk away from this; we won’t be beaten by the yobs. The pavilion will be rebuilt and will be better than before. We’re all very positive about this."

Police have so far made no arrests in connection with the incident.