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Crufts judge injured in alleged ring incident

A JUDGE was left injured and shaken following an alleged attack by a Standard Poodle during breed judging on the second day of Crufts, prompting a Kennel Club investigation that could see the offending dog de-registered.

Popular specialist judge June Freeman, well-known stalwart of the Driffield Agricultural Show Committee who exhibits under the Pedsidee affix, was examining the dog when it apparently jumped up at her, knocking her to the floor and leaving her with a bite wound to her chest.

It is understood that a Korean tourist in the ringside audience filmed the incident and that the footage of the incident will be studied by the KC’s investigations team as part of its inquiry into the incident.

Mrs Freeman was taken to the NEC’s Medical Suite where she underwent minor treatment, still feeling shaken by the incident, before being taken back to her hotel – the nearby Metropole – where she spent the rest of the day recovering. Her place as judge was taken by allrounder Derek Smith.

OUR DOGS spoke to Mrs Freeman’s husband, Martin, who is Secretary of the Driffield Agricultural Society earlier this week. He said that his wife was still feeling shaky, but had largely recovered from her ordeal. He expressed the couple’s thanks for the many good wishes they had received from friends and exhibitors for Mrs Freeman’s recovery.

"It’s a great shame that she missed her chance to judge," said Mr Freeman. "She’d waited 20 years to judge at Crufts and then this happens. She’s rather disappointed, naturally."

The Kennel Club issued a statement the following day conforming that the incident would be the subject of a KC investigation, the details of which would be considered after Crufts.

Concerning the judge change, the statement read: "The combination of the incident and the fact that the judge did not feel well enough to continue, resulted in a change of judge.

"We understand that some exhibitors may have been disappointed by the fact that the replacement judge was an allrounder.

"An allrounder was chosen since a breed specialist – apart from the fact they were probably already entered and showing – would much prefer to have their own entry than to take on someone else’s."

OUR DOGS will publish details of the KC investigation as soon as they become available.