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Kennel Club under fire over ban

Issue: 06/07/2018


Following the release of a statement on social media, the world of dogs has been left 'furious' and 'stunned' over a KC Disciplinary Committee decision to ban a popular Beagle breeder and exhibitor.
Melanie Raymond, (pictured right)  part of the world famous Dialynne kennels, along with Mum Dianna and Grandma Marion, has been "warned, censured and disqualified from exhibiting at, taking part in, attending and/or having any connection with any event licensed by the Kennel Club or judging at any event licensed by the Kennel Club."
The decision was made following a complaint that was made against Melanie after she herself complained to the management at Manchester Championship show - as she stated, "on behalf of all the exhibitors in my breed" - requesting a change of ring from the waterlogged ring in which they were expected to show our Beagles.
In a statement issued on Monday July 9th on social media after the disqualification, Melanie said: 'My request seemed to fall on deaf ears and I left the secretary's office feeling extremely frustrated, as there appeared to be no interest in investigating the ring. (As it turned out later, the breed ring was changed when the breed judge said that it would be impossible to judge in such conditions.)
'As I left the office I was basically letting off steam to myself when I met a gentleman who I didn't know and who asked me what was the matter. I was extremely wound up and my language was more colourful than it should have been when I told him that I felt this was not the way to treat exhibitors. I now realise that the gentleman concerned was an official of Manchester Dog Show and subsequently an official complaint was made against me.
'On July 2nd I was notified of the penalties by email.
'I have never before had any complaints made against me to the Kennel Club and I must admit to being surprised at the suspension, this being a "first offence".
'In the past, as far as I understand, when suspensions are given out they tend to be for a period of time measured in exact months - six, nine, 12 months or whatever. What I found puzzling was that mine was for eight months and 13 days. Coincidentally the suspension ends just one day after Crufts Dog Show finishes. This means that I am unable to exhibit at or even attend the world's most famous Championship dog show - that just happens to be on my own doorstep!
'Despite the suggestions of friends I have no intention of appealing against the Kennel Club's decision as I feel it would be pointless. I have no intention of transferring the ownership of my dogs into the name of family members. I will just stay at home, continuing to breed the dogs I love and considering my future in the world I was born into.'


The reaction on social media has been swift and virtually 100% of people commenting are staggered at the severity of the sentence and the somewhat strange timing as to the length of the ban.
As in the cases of recent disqualifications, many fellow exhibitors and breeders are asking how this has happened and expressing concern over the decision, with one person commenting online, 'I'm sure you have your reasons for not contesting this decision but my feeling is that you probably should Melanie. Not only does your punishment seem like an overreaction your beautiful dogs would be such a loss at the shows you will be missing. The precise length of the ban does seem purposefully to encompass Crufts too which is very mean'. Another said, 'Disgraceful way to treat someone on something so trivial, a slap on the wrist would have been more than sufficient.'
A spokesperson for Manchester Dog Show Society told OUR DOGS: 'Anybody volunteering at a dog show be it a steward or committee member should not be subjected to abuse.' Manchester 2018 was of course looking to 2019 when they have the opportunity to schedule all breeds with CC's and has to contend with new logistics in fitting everything in at Bingley Hall. 
The Kennel Club said: 'In her initial response, Miss Spavin admitted the incident and apologised. This contrition was diluted by the later submissions given in mitigation, much of which was not accepted by the committee.
'The committee noted that Miss Spavin suggested that she did not intend or direct the abusive language towards the show official who witnessed the incident. The incident occurred in the passageway leading from the Secretary's office.
'Miss Spavin should have been aware that in the context of a breed show there is not likely to be anywhere that is truly private and there will always be the potential for an official, exhibitor or spectator to be an audience or to bear witness to one's behaviour.
'To air a grievance in such in an unrestrained way in what amounted to a tantrum with unacceptable expletives is not conduct expected of anyone attending a Kennel Club licensed event, irrespective of the cause or grievance.
The committee members included Mr Mark Cocozza, Mr Nigel Smith, Dr Ian Gabriel and Mrs Sue Garner. Two members of the committee declared that they have prior knowledge of Miss Spavin from the breed show context but not such as to be material or that would create a conflict of interest or affect, influence or preclude them from determining the matter.
From the very strong reaction in favour of Miss Raymond online, it seems very likely that this story will play out for weeks to come. 
Mum Dianna Spavin told OUR DOGS, "Our family have been attending and supporting dog shows and the Kennel Club across three generations. We are staggered at the severity of the ban and feel that in this instance the punishment does not fit the so called crime. If the KC can be this vindictive we are seriously worried about the future of the dog game in this country. I know we are not alone in thinking this and we thank everyone for their comments and support"

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