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An open letter from the South Cheshire Schutzhund club

Our page one story in last week’s issue concerned allegations made towards several Shutzhund club members of the use of electric shock collars during training. Whilst Our Dogs is satisfied with the way the story was investigated, we are equally happy to print the following:

‘The members of South Cheshire Schutzhund Club wish to express their dismay and disappointment with regard to the publishing of the front page article on 8th August 2008, in which unsubstantiated allegations are made against our club by Mr Sinclair.

‘We fully understand the need for both the Kennel Club and Our Dogs to take seriously any allegations of cruelty against dogs at any club and we will naturally assist with any enquiry conducted by a legitimate body.

‘We feel, nevertheless, that this article has not been written in an even handed manner. Your reporter did not contact anybody from our club to discuss the references made about our club, even though she willingly made reference to an “anonymous” email that Mr Sinclair claims to have,. All officials of our club were in their homes on the evening that your reporter spoke to Mrs Wellwood and Mr James.

‘In your article, Mr Sinclair alleges that he has seen electric collars being used at South Cheshire Schutzhund Club, and that he was a member of our club, however his allegations are far from reality.

‘Mr Sinclair has never been a member of our club, which can be proven by scrutinising our club bank accounts, as all members without exception are required to pay monthly subscriptions via Standing Order. Furthermore, Mr Sinclair has only visited our training premises on two occasions, both being for trials and not training sessions. On each occasion an internationally respected judge was officiating. Both of these judges would be aware that electric collars are not allowed at trials anywhere in the world.

‘On the two occasions that Mr Sinclair visited our club, he was made to feel welcome by our members, one of which had previously bought a GSD bitch from him; yet since the 13th July 2008, Mr Sinclair has, for some reason unknown to ourselves, subjected some of our members to constant harassment by posting his accusations across the internet. Mr Sinclair has subsequently failed to produce any evidence whatsoever to back any of his claims of cruelty and use of electric collars at our club. His harassment has been reported to the police, and earlier this week Mr Sinclair was formally served a harassment notice by Greater Manchester Police.

‘Given that Mr Sinclair is prepared to be dishonest about being a member of our club, it raises the question how dependable he can ever be as a witness.

‘As the chairman of the South Cheshire Schutzhund Club I can categorically assure all your readers that there are no dogs being trained at South Cheshire Schutzhund Club using electric collars and that we fully comply with the Kennel Club ban

‘Our club has an open door policy at our club, and, as a result of the “Our Dogs” article, if any legitimate representative of the animal welfare groups, Kennel Club (or other canine organisations) wish to attend our club to assess the situation for themselves, they are welcome to do so, but please respect our land owners privacy. Members of the general public are asked to first contact our club secretary to arrange a visit at any time.

Martin Horgan
Chairman – South Cheshire Schutzhund Club