Tail damage ends Boxer’s show career
The owners of a boxer whose undocked tail may mean an end to her show career have spoken of their disappointment in the docking laws which may mean they will not be able to show her.
For many dog exhibitors the thrill of qualifiying for Crufts is something they look forward to and hope will happen to their dogs each year, and is probably more exciting when it is the first dog you have exhibited.
For Paula Wilkinson and her son, Jack, the thrill of qualifying has been marred by an accident which may mean the end of her show career. Paula’s young boxer bitch has damaged her tail, and after three months of treatment the vets are now advising Paula that the tail must be removed, as there is nothing else they can do to make it heal. “Every time Angel finished her antibiotics the tail would get worse, we have also tried putting a veterinary prescribed cream on it but the skin is beginning to go black and slough off,” Paula told Our Dogs.
About three months ago Angel injured her tail, at first it did not seem to be a major problem, but it refused to heal and got worse over time, despite being treated with antibiotics . As a trade stand holder Paula, who trades under the name Paws Trading ltd, is well aware the Animal Welfare Act forbids the exhibition of dogs at events where members of the public pay a fee to attend. Advised that it might be possible to get a veterinary certificate to allow her to show the dog, Paula contacted the Kennel Club who told her that she would not be able to show her dog at Crufts or any other event- such as the YKC and agility classes they currently enjoy supporting. Paula told Our Dogs that the KC wrote to her explaining the law on this matter and in a telephone call was told the KC had checked with DeFRA.
The KC confirmed that the Wilkinsons would not be allowed to exhibit at Crufts or take part in any KC licensed event where members of the public pay to attend.
When we checked with DeFRA their initial reaction was that this was a rule of the Kennel Club, and as far as they were concerned (and because the damage was caused by an accident) they could see no reason why the bitch could not be shown or take part in KC events, provided Paula has a letter or certificate to say that the damage is accidental.
However, when asked to check this fact, a DEFRA spokesperson issued the following statement: “Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is an offence to show a dog, that has its tail wholly or partly removed, at an event where members of the public pay an entrance fee. The law on showing does not make exemptions for dogs that have had their tails removed as a result of injury.
“However, the Act does allow a dog with a docked tail to attend a show with its owner as a companion animal. The only reason it wouldn’t be allowed to attend is if the dog show organisers ruled otherwise.”
This has left Paula wondering how she will manage to run her business, since when she is at shows, some of which run over two or more days, she usually takes the dogs with her. As she will not be allowed to exhibit Angel, Paula is concerned that she would not be allowed to enter Angel as not for competition to gain access for herself and Angel to her trade stand at shows and other events licensed by the KC.
Paula told Our Dogs that if she goes ahead and has Angel’s tail amputated it will affect their lives in many ways, other than not being able to trade at shows where she will be away from home for longer than a few hours at a time. “My family and I will miss out on so much, exhibiting her at Crufts, being able to compete with her in agility shows and YKC events, not to mention fun shows were members of the public are allowed to visit”.
Paula has contacted the Council of Docked Breeds to see if they can help her and Angel, and has sent them information and veterinary letters to support her claim that the damage is accidental.
Paula said: ‘It seems odd to me and the people who know me and Angel that a dog could be exhibited with a hereditary condition which cannot be seen, yet a perfectly healthy young boxer with a tail docked due to damage cannot be shown!’