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Minutes of the Kennel Club Agility Liaison Council Meeting - 14 Feb 2007

PRESENT:

Mr D Ray                                Midlands

Mr R Jordan                           Midlands

Mr I Mallabar                          North East

Mrs J Nero                             North East

Mrs P Baltes                          North West

Mr M Hallam                          North West

Mr D Duncan                         Northern Ireland

Mr P Elms                              Scotland

Mr T Felstead                        South East and East Anglia

Mr J Gilbert                            South East and East Anglia

Mr T Griffin                             South and South West

Miss L Olden                         South and South West

Mr M Shaw                             Wales

 

IN ATTENDANCE:

 

Miss D Deuchar                    Senior Administrator – WTOA

Mrs Z Tharmasingam           Administrator – WTOA

 

ITEM 1.          TO ELECT A CHAIRMAN FOR THE TERM OF THE COUNCIL

 

1.         Mr Ray was proposed by Mr Griffin, seconded by Miss Olden and, in the absence of any further nominations, was elected as Chairman.

 

MR D RAY IN THE CHAIR

 

ITEM 2.          TO ELECT A VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR THE TERM OF THE COUNCIL

 

2.         Mr Mallabar was proposed by Mr Ray, seconded by Mr Hallam and, in the absence of any further nominations, was elected as Vice-Chairman.


 

ITEM 3.          TO ELECT A REPRESENTATIVE ONTO THE WORKING TRIALS, OBEDIENCE AND AGILITY (WTOA) SUB-COMMITTEE, EFFECTIVE FROM JUNE 2007

 

3.         Miss Olden was proposed onto the WTOA Sub Committee, effective   June 2007 by Mr Griffin, seconded by Mr Hallam and elected          unanimously.

 

ITEM 4.          APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

4.         All Council Representatives were present.

 

5.         Mr Ray welcomed the new representatives to the Council and requested all Council members to introduce themselves.

 

ITEM 5.          APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

 

6.         The minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2006 were signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.

 

ITEM 6.          MATTERS ARISING/RESULTS OF RECOMMENDATIONS

 

7.         Regulation Amendments

            The Council noted all the Regulation amendments, which had been approved with effect from 1 January 2008.

 

            Mr Gilbert asked for clarification of the following new Regulation as it had not been to Council before. It was confirmed that it had been introduced by the Working Trials, Obedience and Agility Sub Committee due to Health and Safety reasons.

 

            Regulation H(1)(B).1.a(2)(iv)

            In the event of extreme adverse weather conditions at a show a Judge, with the full agreement of the Competition Manager, may alter the compulsory equipment as deemed appropriate at the time. Any alteration to the equipment must be reported by the show management to the Kennel Club within 14 days of the date of the show.

 

8.         Kennel Club International Agility Festival

a.         The office tabled a draft schedule for the Kennel Club     International Agility Festival for comment.

 

b.         The Chairman explained that various issues had arisen in the previous year, due to the layout of the showground and the unexpected increase of entries. The Council was advised that in 2007 the Kennel Club International Agility Festival would be situated in a new area of the showground, where all competition rings would be located together, along with the camping.

 

c.         It had been agreed that the 2007 International Agility Festival would start on Friday lunchtime, which would include Crufts Qualifiers for Starters, Novice and Senior dogs, where every grade of dog would have the chance to qualify for Crufts 2008. The Friday afternoon programme would also include Olympia and YKC Semi Finals.

 

d.         The Chairman requested Council members to consider whether they would be able to assist in running the Festival by being a Ring Manager or taking on other roles.  The majority of the Council agreed to help.

 

9.         Wishing Well Measurements

a.         The majority of the Council members that had attended the 2006 Kennel Club International Agility Festival had viewed the wishing well prototype. It was felt that it was quite bulky and large, there was also concern about its stability and safety. Furthermore, the front was somewhat angular and a more rounded finish was preferred. It was suggested that if the measurements were set out then it would be down to each Society/individual’s decision whether to make one, two or three wishing wells.

b.         Mr Mallabar tabled some revised measurements and explained that he had amended the prototype’s measurements by decreasing the depth as he felt it would make it more realistic and more stable. The Council agreed that it was the best option, with an instruction that there should be no sharp edges. It was recommended that Mr Mallabar put forward his proposal to the July Agility Council Liaison Meeting.

 

10.       Measuring of Agility Dogs

a.         The Council was advised that the Agility Measuring Working     Party had met the previous week. Mr Hallam, a member of the Working Party, presented the minutes.

b.         The Measuring Working Party had proposed the following:

 

    • A third measurement would be compulsory for dogs that had received two different height measurements.
    • The third measurement would be free.
    • At least one of the measurers for the third measurement should not have measured the dog before.
    • The dog would continue to compete at the initial height until the third measurement had taken place.
    • The third measurement must be undertaken within two calendar months of the second.
    • An amendment to Regulation H(1)(B)4.(3) would be proposed.
    • Dogs that had changed height before the Regulations were changed would be invited to have a third measurement if they wished, although there would be the usual fee.
    • A time frame of four calendar months would be allowed for these dogs to be measured, provisionally until 1 May 2008.

 

 

    • In the view of the two measurers, if a large dog was obviously large it could be measured before it was 15 months of age and the second measurement could be struck out of the Agility Record Book. A Regulation would be required to change this.
    •  Spot checks of Agility Record Books should be undertaken at all shows with Kennel Club qualifiers and encouraged at other shows. The show management to request to see 10 Agility Record books for Small, Medium and Large dogs. The details of anyone that did not produce their book would be reported to the Kennel Club for investigation.
    •  Any Society which invited measurers should ensure the necessary facilities were available.
    •  The preferred method of identification should be a microchip or ear tattoo and an amendment to Regulation H(1)(B).4(10) would be proposed.

(The full minutes from the Measuring Working Party are attached in Annex A)

 

c.         Miss Olden asked the office whether obviously large dogs that were measured last year could have their second measurement struck out of their Agility Record Book. It was agreed that there was no way of checking which dogs were obviously large, without a second measurement, therefore all large dogs would have to be measured twice.

 

  • Miss Olden explained to the Council that she had put some measuring questions on to the Agility Forum, asking competitors what they would prefer. The majority of the feedback indicated that a third measurement was preferred.

 

  • There was a lengthy discussion regarding the Measuring Working Party’s decisions. Some Representatives were of the view that the third measurement should only be on appeal, if an individual felt strongly enough then they should be expected to travel and pay all expenses.

 

  • The Council had reservations regarding point three, as it was felt that two different measurers should measure a dog for the third measurement. The Measuring Working Party had considered two different measurers but felt there were not enough measurers available to enforce it. However, the Council overruled the proposal and suggested that more measurers should be approved to compensate for the new Regulation. The Council agreed that there should be two different measurers on the third measurement.

 

 

 

  • The Council queried whether there should be a Regulation stopping measurers from measuring their relatives’, or friends’ dogs. However, it was agreed that this would be too difficult to enforce. It was suggested that a letter should go to all approved measurers advising them that it would be in their best interest not to measure their own or their relatives’ dogs.
  • All the above recommendations would be included as proposals on the July Liaison Council agenda.

 

ITEM 7           PROPOSALS FROM SOCIETIES/PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS

 

11.       Proposed Amendment to Regulation H(1)(B).5.a.(6)

.                       a.         Mr Ray, on behalf of Mr White, a private individual,                                                          proposed an amendment to the above Regulation regarding the                             clarification of a refusal. It was explained that all other pieces of                             agility equipment had detailed Regulations about what                                       constituted a refusal but this was not defined for a hurdle.

 

b.         Council members expressed the opinions of their area meetings, with the majority coming to the same conclusion, that it was impractical to define and implement. It was also commented that it would be impossible to judge to the amended Regulation as a judge would not be able to be in line with every jump to see whether there was a refusal. Therefore, judges should use their discretion on this.

 

  • The proposal did not receive a seconder, therefore was not supported.

 

12.       Proposed Amendment to Regulation H(1)(B).1.c.

a.         Mr Griffin, on behalf of Mrs Hanekom, a private individual, proposed an amendment to the above Regulation with regard to the frequent practice of training in the ring. Mrs Hanekom requested that the Council discuss the option for the competitor to run ‘NFC’ (Not for Competition), with toys being permitted as a training aid.

 

b.         The Council considered various views, with the conclusion that the majority were against the proposal.  It was felt that an Agility Show was to compete not to train and could possibly lose judges as it would be too time consuming. There would also be a safety aspect, with potentially many dogs trying to retrieve their toys after each run. The Council agreed there was no way to define such a rule.

 

c.         The proposal did not receive a seconder, therefore was not supported.

 

13.       Proposed Amendment to Regulation H(1)10.e.

a.         Mr Griffin, on behalf of Mr Partridge, a private individual, proposed an amendment to the above Regulation in relation to carrying toys in the ring. Mr Partridge would like the Regulation to include that no item should be carried in the hand except with the express permission of the judge where a person could carry crutches or a walking aid. Mr Hallam seconded the proposal.

 

b.         The proposal was discussed at great length. The majority of the Council did not like the wording and felt that the reason behind the proposal was putting too much emphasis on ‘crutches’.

 

c.         The Council did agree that the Regulation should be amended to stipulate that no toys may be carried in the ring but felt the current wording of the proposal did not reflect this. After a unanimous decision the Council referred the proposal back to Mr Partridge for rewording.

 

14.       Proposed Amendment to Regulation H(1)(B).5.a.(19)

a.         Mr Griffin, on behalf of Mr Partridge, a private individual, proposed an addition to the above Regulation to prohibit a handler from going over, under or though any piece of agility equipment. This had been put forward to provide protection to Judges and Show organisers in relation to Health and Safety.

 

b.         The various area meetings had been against the proposal as it was considered that this should be left to the judge’s discretion. Therefore the proposal did not receive a seconder, so was not supported.

 

 

ITEM 8           DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

15.       Agility Specimen Schedule

a.         Mr Ray, on behalf of Mrs Walmsley, requested the Council to discuss whether all agility schedules should include the Kennel Club Rules and Regulations, as Mrs Walmsley believed it was a waste of paper.

 

b.         The Council was all in favour of saving paper, some suggestions being that a flyer containing all Agility Regulations should be sent out to the owners of all newly registered dogs. However, it was decided that it would be impractical as many owners did not decide to take up agility when they first purchased a dog and it would be impossible to determine which dogs on the breed register would compete in agility.

 

c.         It was observed that many agility competitors downloaded schedules electronically, so did not actually print the Rules and Regulations page(s). It was also agreed that new handlers did not always know the Rules and Regulations and therefore they should always be available for them to read.

 

  • Mr Hallam informed the Council that a similar proposal had been recommended before to the WTOA Sub-Committee, but had not been supported, due to the contract in the schedule that the competitor was requested to sign, which stated they had read the Rules and Regulations.

 

  • The Council suggested that Mrs Walmsley should put forward a formal proposal for further discussion at the July Liaison Council meeting.

 

16.       International Mixed & Breed Championships for Agility

a.         Mr Ray, on behalf of Mrs Douglas, requested the Council to discuss whether the Kennel Club would support a team to compete at the IMCA Championships.

 

b.         The Council was informed that a similar proposal had been submitted to the Council previously, which had been supported but it had not been recommended by the WTOA Sub-Committee.

 

c.         Mr Ray explained to the Council that the Kennel Club already financially supported the International Agility Festival, the American Invitation Event, FCI World Agility Championships and Olympia. If the Kennel Club did agree to finance IMCA then it was likely the money would be taken from another event. If this was taken from the FCI World Agility Championship Team it would effectively mean that the team would not be able to compete.

 

d.         The Council noted that some areas did not know what IMCA was and were not interested in helping pay for a team to go. It was also thought that the dogs that qualified would be the same dogs that qualified for the FCI World Championships. In contrast, some areas were in favour as it was a Championship that supported “all agility dogs”. Ideally it was felt that both Championships should be supported, but the Council understood there was not enough funding available.

 

  • The Council asked the office for an update on the reclassification of some Working Sheepdogs, as to whether they could be classed as Working Border Collies on the Working Register or put on the Breed Register. It was explained that this would be after a suitable breed judge had confirmed conformity to the breed standard.

 

[Afternote: Dr Sampson, Executive of Health and Information, confirmed that a paper had been written and published, asking for views. 98% of the responses had been against the proposal, so no further action was taken. However Dr Sampson did mention that there was a new DNA test being developed, which might help the situation to prove the breed of a dog’s parents.]

 

  • It was agreed that a detailed paper should be written outlining the Council’s ideas and suggestions with regard to supporting IMCA as well as the FCI World Championships or as a replacement. The paper would be submitted to the WTOA Sub-Committee March meeting as a discussion item. However, as the Council did not know of Mrs Douglas, Mr Griffin was asked to prepare the paper.

 

 

 

ITEM 9           JUDGES WORKING PARTY

 

17.       a.         Mr Griffin informed the Council that fifteen accredited

trainers had passed the Practical Course Design and Judging Seminar Assessment day. Mr Griffin also explained that the second seminar would be compulsory for all new judges from 1 January 2009.

                       

b.         Mr Griffin presented a proposal from the Judges Working Party regarding a new level of Accredited Judge, who would be assessed on two separate occasions. This would then allow them to judge a qualifier or wear a specific badge. The Council was strongly against the proposal as it was considered unnecessary. Societies currently chose judges for their qualifiers, as it was their responsibility. The Council had concerns about who would assess the judges, how the scheme would be implemented, and the cost involved.

 

c.         Mr Griffin informed the Council that he had been a representative on the Judges Working Party for over four years and was appointed due to his Chairmanship of the Agility Liaison Council. Mr Griffin queried whether he should be replaced, as he was no longer Chairman. The Council agreed that Mr Griffin should remain as one of the Agility Representatives on the Judges Working Party.

 

ITEM 10         DATE OF NEXT MEETING

 

18.       It was confirmed that the date of the next meeting was Wednesday 11 July 2007 and all items for inclusion on the agenda should reach the office by Friday 13 April 2007.

 

ITEM 11         ANY OTHER BUSINESS

 

19.       FCI World Agility Championships

a.         The Council had received a letter from Mr Steve Croxford, the Team Manager for the FCI World Agility Championships, seeking the Council’s views on a number of points. Mr Croxford asked the Council whether anyone would be interested in taking over the role of Team Manager, the Council agreed that it would like Mr Croxford to continue with the position of Team Manager as it was pleased with the success he had achieved. The Council requested Mr Croxford to produce a Job Specification to include all the roles and responsibilities of the Team Manager. The Council recommended that the Kennel Club reviews the position every two years.

 

b.         Mr Croxford had asked the Council for its opinion on dates for the qualifying event. Mr Croxford suggested two sets of dates, which the Council felt was his decision, as it was also dependent on the availability of a venue. Many of the Council Representatives agreed that they would be willing to help, depending on the dates selected.

 

Mr Croxford also asked the Council if it had any objections to three training sessions, which it did not. The letter also mentioned whether an entry fee should be charged for the qualifier as it had previously been free to all eligible dogs. The Council felt there should be an entry fee and that Mr Croxford as the Team Manager should decide on the amount.

 

20.       Weaving Poles

Mr Ray advised the Council of a proposal that was received late from Worcester Agility Society regarding changing the distance between the weaving poles. The proposal also suggested that the pegs to hold the weave frames in place should be consistently in the same position in the centre against the pole base socket. The Council was advised that the proposal would be included on the July Liaison Council Agenda.

 

21.       Additional Measurers

Mr Gilbert requested the Council to discuss the need for more measurers in the North Norfolk area as there were currently none in this location. The Council agreed that more measurers should be appointed in the following areas:

           

  • North Norfolk x 2
  • Hampshire x 1
  • Bristol/Somerset x 1

 

22.       Five Rivers Agility Club

a.         Mr Gilbert requested the Council discuss a letter he had received from Five Rivers Agility Club, to consider changing or removing Regulation H(1).9.c. whereby a Competition Manager was forbidden from entering or competing a dog at an Agility Show, which was recorded in their ownership or part ownership.

 

b.         Five Rivers Agility Club requested that Show Managers should be given permission to compete with their dog as they felt it would not jeopardise the sport and would allow the Show Manager a 90 second break, de-stressing while running their dog.

 

c.         The Council agreed that the Show Manager should not be eligible to run a dog at their own event , as it was felt that there would not be sufficient time. It was noted that each discipline had a Regulation that prohibited one person from the Committee from competing with their dog. The Council did not support the proposal but would be happy to discuss it further if it was put forward to the July Liaison Council meeting.

 

23.       Risk Assessment Forms

Mr Felstead asked the office when Societies received the Health and Safety Sample Risk Assessments. The Council was informed that the document was sent out with all licence application forms.

 

24.       Show Date Objection

Mr Jordan asked the office to confirm whether there was a Regulation that stated there should be minimum distance between two agility shows on the same date. Mr Jordan was advised there was not, however, if a Society felt that another show would adversely affect their show/entries then they could lodge an objection by listing all the Societies/Clubs and show venues local to them when they applied for their show date.

 

25.       PA

Mr Griffin had a query regarding a particular show that could not use its PA system until 9.00am but wished to start its show at 8.30am. Mr Griffin enquired whether the show could enforce a rule that the first 30 dogs had to run within the first 30 minutes. The office confirmed that it was the competitors’ responsibility to be available for their class and running order.

 

The meeting concluded at 3.55pm.