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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue: 09/02/2018

Why be a volunteer?

IN ITS latest Code of Conduct, I feel the KC has really lost the plot this time.
It says it recognises the importance of volunteers. Laughable! Crufts is the KC's own show, yet I know of stewards who have been given nothing all day but a bottle of water each. It's time the KC practise what they preach.
Surely, by volunteering, people are showing commitment and a wish to give something back. Expecting them to attend events and meetings as required is unrealistic in this day and age, unless expenses are being paid. I think the KC needs to recognise that volunteers are offering their skills, skills the KC should appreciate.
The fact that they should not seek financial recompense I think is a fair statement. But show me the volunteer who has attempted to make money out of something they volunteer to do: volunteer equals work for free! It seems to sound mistrustful of the poor volunteer.
Why does the KC seem so worried about people looking to bring it into disrepute? Is it scared of a few home truths being aired? My organisation is bigger than the KC and deals with probably three times the number of members and volunteers. On a regular basis we survey all stakeholders to get their opinions, and openly encourage both the positive and negative. Without both these things, an organisation cannot develop, and certainly not into one that meets the needs of all its stakeholders.
If the code to treat people with respect, including commenting on licensed competitions and events, isn't a gagging order, I don't know what is! It is apparent by all comments on social media and elsewhere that people consider this a gagging order. Criticise the KC and you're gone. 
Also, how will this be policed? One person's praise is another person's criticism. Last time I heard we were a country of free speech and debate should surely be welcome?
Regarding the KC Child Protection Policy and DBS checks, the only people needing DBS checks are those who regularly come into contact with young people under 18 years old and velnerable adults. A DBS check lasts for three years and is only good on the day it is issued, Anyone convicted of an offence after the check would still be clear to work until renewal.
You can only really feel sorry for open and championship shows who already struggle to find stewards and willing volunteers, as nothing is guaranteed to put them off more than this, and many people are saying as much. 
To say the KC has scored a massive home goal with this is an understatement. Comments on social media are 9-1 against it, and the general consensus is simply that people will give up volunteering. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut! People within the organisation must be so afraid of critisism, and that is not healthy for anyone in this hobby, nor for any organisation. For that is what this is, a hobby, and an expensive one!
The outcome could well be that we all have a lot more spare cash for other things because, as seems to be the general feeling, volunteers will give up stewarding and sitting on committees, so there will be no-one to run the clubs, societies and shows and they will fold. Then the sensitive souls at the KC won't have to worry about criticism from outside as there wont be anyone left.
Never in my long involvement in dogs have I heard so much disgruntlement from people. Yes, prevoous KC Chairs and committees have had their critics at times, and have answred as appropriate, but at no time did they try to muzzle the majoriy, which is what the current regime seem intent on doing.
More than once, and fron people who are usually pro-KC, I have heard that this regime is the worst one ever.
The KC needs to start listening to its stakeholders, while it still has some left. Respect for the KC is, in my opinion, at an all time low and if I were a member I would be truly worried enough to do something about it.
Yours etc
Name and address supplied

More on Obreedience please

A few years ago the KC conceived the idea of Obreedience, an obedience competition restricted to pure bred dogs.
The dogs work in teams of four, competing in heats held across the country during the year.
Points are awarded on a sliding scale for success; the top ten teams competing in a grand final at Crufts the following year.
I competed for the first time late last year, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Obreedience is an excellent introduction to obedience competition; the atmosphere was friendly but the people who take part are serious about what they do and intent on getting the best out of their dogs.
Much as I love conventional obedience, even its greatest fans must agree that both it and Rally are sports to take part in, not always exciting to watch.
This doesn't apply to Obreedience. 
The team aspect, with dogs of all shapes and sizes, plus the handlers in their team colours, the straightforward format without too many pauses and the fact that the result is not certain until the last minute all add up to an event that lends itself to spectator interest.
And of course, it showcases the pedigree dog to its best advantage.
You might think, therefore, that the KC would seize on the opportunity to use Crufts to put this event before the public as a shining example of its "fit for life" campaign.
Not so.
Apart from an almost complete lack of publicity (and I include the dog press in this), the Obreedience final will start this year at 4.30 pm, when all but the hardiest members of the public will have gone home.
Last year it was also scheduled to begin at 4.30, but the competitors did not get into the ring until well past 5.15.
Proudly Pedigree? And doing things with our lovely pure-bred dogs?
Yes, but is anyone taking any notice?
Yours etc
Jean Walker


I'll say what I like

I can criticise the Government, I can even criticise The Queen, worse still (and more dangerous!) I can criticise my partner Jackie, but I cannot criticise the KC?? What is it that makes them so special?
Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is at heart a dog club, it is not the President of the USSR, it is not the Reich Chancellor of pre war Germany, it is the KC, a dog club. Nobody else is above criticism, nor will they be.
Yours etc
Alan Hedges

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