AN incident at the British Utility Breeds Association championship show in which an exhibitor was alleged to have punched a dog to keep it quiet resulted in a fine, censure and six month ban.
Last week saw the Kennel Club Disciplinary Sub Committee hearing at Clarges Street in which the alleged harsh treatment of a Dalmatian dog on the benches at show boiled over into a rule A42 case brought by Mr Martin Evans on behalf of the Kennel Club.
Mr Peter Bruce Evans was said ‘to have behaved discreditably and prejudicially to the interests of the canine world in that at the British Utility Breeds Club show on Saturday 4 December 2004 he harshly handled a Dalmatian by roughly handling and punching the dog.’
The brief but fateful incident was alleged to have taken place on the benches on the afternoon of the show whilst one of Mr & Mrs (P B) Evans’ exhibits was in the ring for the Post Graduate bitch class.
Tyrodal Kracker Jack (Happy), a four year old dog was on the bench near the ring and was barking loudly - loud enough to attract the attention of others nearby and of Mr Evans who by the ringside whilst his wife was in the ring.
Mr Evans, dressed in a distinctive red shirt and cowboy hat, was seen to stride purposefully from the ringside to the bench and grab the dog on the bench. He then allegedly punched the dog several times and told it to ‘shut the f**k up’ in a loud voice. He then returned to the ring.
The first witness Mrs Elaine Tillson for the Kennel Club substantiated the events to the committee and an accurate flip-chart drawing gave them a good idea of the perspective of the venue on the day. She had been, she said, particularly concerned and upset by the incident as she had had a five year old child with her at the time who herself was also disturb at what she saw. Mrs Tillson, an exhibitor of thirty years standing, confirm under questioning that she had not filed the complaint lightly and simply could not stand back and do nothing.
Under cross examination from Mr (P B) Evans, who presented his own case, Mrs Tillson admitted that she did not see the blows make contact with the dog but she saw enough to believe that this is what happened. Mr Evans leaned into the bench on one knee and hit the dog at least three times, she said. It was possible to see the clenched fist and his right arm rising above the partitions in the benches, she concluded.
Witnesses two and three had been at the benches talking to friends on the day in question. As Mrs Tillson had been at one end of the line of benches they had been at the other, slightly closer to the incident. Clare Payne and had been alerted by the manner in which Mr Evans had ‘stomped’ past them, he was, she said ‘a man on a mission.’
Not a exhibitor but a Dalmatian owner, she said she was sickened by the unnecessary punishment given to the noisy dog.
Her partner Nigel Duggan was with the group and had to be restrained and told not to react to what had happened. He told the committee he was a former Midlands Area Thai Boxing champion and that he knew the difference between a slap and a punch. He said he could not believe what he had heard and seen. It was obvious that he still felt angry about the incident that he and several other ‘disinterested’ parties had witnessed. He and his partner Clare Payne had travelled down to the Kennel Club that day from Staffordshire to appear as witnesses.
Mr (P B) Evans had submitted several character witness reports to the committee for consideration and these were before them on the day. He pointed out in all cross-examinations that no-one had seen a punch land on the dog in question and he claimed that for all they knew he had merely grabbed the dog and pushed it into a submissive position at the back of the bench.
The dog had been in a cowed state after the incident but, he said, some force was necessary as the hall was noisy and no amount of finger clicking - his normal command for quiet - would have been heard. He claimed that at no time that day did he raise his elbow above the bench and use a clenched fist on the dog which had been making a noise.
Mrs Susan Hill, a Dalmatian exhibitor from Wolverhampton, spoke as his only defence witness and said he was of good character. Hearing the fracas behind her at the show she said she heard no yelps from the bench and said that a few people had turned around to look down the benches.
The one noise which she did hear was the rattle of the uneven benches as Mr Evans leaned into the dog. Mrs Hill pointed out to the committee that Dalmatian dogs ‘can be strong and wilful’ and need firm handling and control. She also told the committee that she had informed Mr and Mrs Evans of the rule A42 case complaint against them some eight days after the show.
After a later than usual start it had been a long day for everyone and at 4.45pm the committee retired to consider the case before them.
Their announced verdict was as follows:-
The Committee having carefully considered the evidence, find that the complaint brought by the Kennel Club under Kennel Club Rule A42 a (1) (b) against Mr P B Evans namely that he behaved discreditably or prejudicially to the interests of the canine world in that at the British Utility Breeds Club Show held on Saturday 4 December 2004 he harshly handled a Dalmatian by roughly handling and punching the dog, is upheld.
The Committee impose the following penalties:
1. To warn him as to his future conduct [A42 j (1)]
2. To censure him [A42 j (2)]
3.To fine him the sum of £200 [A42 j (3)]
4. To suspend him from exhibiting at, taking part in, attending and/or having any connection with any event licensed by the Club. If any person suspended or disqualified under this sub-paragraph shall attend any canine event whilst suspended or disqualified the General Committee shall have the power to increase the period of suspension and/or disqualification
[A42 j (4)]
5. To disqualify him from being or becoming a member of any canine club or society registered with or affiliated to the Kennel Club [A42 j (5)]
6. To suspend him from acting as an Officer or serving on the Committee of any canine society [A42 j (6)]
7. To disqualify him from taking part in the management of any event
licensed by the Club [A42 j (7)]
8. To disqualify him from judging at any event licensed by the Club
[A42 j (8)]
9. To disqualify from registration and/or competition any or all dogs and/or progeny of such dogs which are owned and/or registered by him whether or not jointly owned and/or whether or not owned and/or registered in the name of a nominee) [A42j ( 9)]
The suspensions and disqualifications are to be for a period of six months from 28 April 2005.
The Committee, following the impositions of these penalties, would draw the attention of the Respondent/s to the effect of Rule A 42 sub-sections l and n.
Harsh handling of a dog is considered entirely inappropriate behaviour and the Committee will always take a very serious view of such incidents. In reaching this decision the Committee did take note of the character references submitted on behalf of Mr Evans.
The committee comprised Miss Jean Lanning, Mr Steve Croxford, Mr John Banbury, Mr Bill King, chairman Mrs Irene Terry, Mr Wilson Young and Mr Stan Ford.