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Terrier club fall-out over league donation

THE COMMITTEE and membership of a Border Terrier club are on a collision course due to a proposal passed at the Club’s AGM to make a donation to the anti-hunting organisation the League Against Cruel Sports.

The fallout occurred immediately after the East Anglia Border Terrier Club held its AGM on Saturday 13 March 2004 when the proposal was made. It is understood that only the Committee plus one other member of the club attended the AGM, although four members of the Committee were absent.

The proposal, that the club should make a donation to the League Against Cruel Sports, was put forward by the Show Manager, Mrs Marilyn Danks. It is believed that six Committee members voted against the proposal, whilst a majority voted for the proposal. One person (the non-committee member in attendance) abstained. The motion was carried, but arguments have split the club since, with outraged members calling for a Special General Meeting to reverse the proposal and instead redirect the donation to the pro-hunting/working Countryside Alliance. The key bone of contention is that the club has a Working class, and the majority of members take the view that the aims and objectives of the League Against Cruel Sports are diametrically opposed to those of the East Anglia Terrier Club and also of the breed itself, as the breed standard says that the Border Terrier is ‘essentially a working terrier’.

Under the club’s rules, 12 signatories are required to request a Special General Meeting, although this was swiftly achieved. The Secretary, Mrs Eileen Needham - who is understood to have been in favour of the proposal - has to write to the membership 21 days in advance notifying of the date of the SGM. At the time of going to press, no date had yet been set but, according to a source within the club, was " imminent".

Both Mrs Needham and Mrs Danks, who put forward the proposal, declined to comment when contacted by OUR DOGS earlier this week.

A source close to the club told OUR DOGS: "This is completely against everything that the Border Terrier stands for as a working dog. Border Terrier breeders over the years, since the breed was recognised, have fought to keep the working ability as such that a dog can go BOB at Crufts and the next day could go out in the field and work.

"By making this donation those committee members who voted for the motion are splitting the breed which is not what we want to happen. It is going to destroy the breed. The majority of people have been on the Countryside Alliance marches and fought to keep the freedom to choose to hunt available. For a committee who are there to represent members to give to an organisation who completely oppose everything that a Border Terrier stands for is outrageous. Those who voted for this motion must consider their positions within the committee and as members of the club.

"How can a Club put on a Working Class or even support the breed standard which categorically states that the breed is ‘essentially a working terrier’ and then give money received from people who support these aims to an organisation that opposes them? We respect anyone’s right to support any view point, but the Countryside Alliance stands for freedom, NOT control".

OUR DOGS contacted the League Against Cruel Sports to ask for its opinion as to whether they would accept a donation from a working terrier club. Mike Hobday, LACS’ Head of Public Affairs commented: "The League Against Cruel Sports would be very pleased to receive such a donation and would use the money to campaign against the unnecessary suffering caused to Terriers if forced to bait foxes underground."

* The resolutions to be placed before the SGM are as follows:

1 It is believed that the decision made by the members of the East Anglia Border Terrier Club at the Annual General Meeting held on 13 March 2004 to make a donation to the League Against Cruel Sports is both discreditable and is prejudicial to the interest of the Border Terrier which is described in the official Kennel Club Breed Standard as "Essentially a Working Terrier" and as such it is proposed that this decision should be repealed with immediate effect and redirected to the Countryside Alliance;

2 That the proposer, seconder and supporting members to the proposal to make the donation to the League Against Cruel Sports be given the opportunity to discuss with the members their reasoning for such a proposal and how they feel the role of this organisation accords with the working characteristics of the Border Terrier;

3 That a proposal be put to the next Annual General Meeting of the Club, for members consideration, that the rules of the Club be amended to include that the Club be not empowered to support any organisation that is overtly political in concept and/or has objects that in any way conflict with the breed standard of the Border Terrier.