|Trainer takes abuse complaint to Queen
A dog trainer was so infuriated when the Kennel Club would not deal with her complaint she decided to write to the Queen.
Bernadette Restorick was so appalled at cruel and harsh practises allegedly used by trainers during field trial training days that she felt she had to take action.
As honorary secretary of the Utility Gundog Society Kent and Sussex (UGS) she wanted to bring up 'harsh handling' at a meeting, only to be aggressively shut down by the then chairman of the club Roger Wade. The meeting was being held in Mr Wade's house.
According to Mrs Restorick, Mr Wade, 'shouted that he was absolutely disgusted that I had raised the cruelty issue as it was not relevant and that he had previously forbidden me to mention it at any point.
'I quietly asked Roger Wade not to point and shout at me as I found it upsetting, but he continued and he shouted that I was not fit to be secretary, that I was a disgrace and that it was his house and I had better get out. I recall his yelled words, "Git outta my ouse!"'
'I was absolutely stunned by this vitriolic and abusive attack.'
Mrs Restorick also states that other committee members verbally abused her and she says that whilst she tried to pass round copies of the Animal Welfare Act, Gwen Butcher, who replaced Mr Wade as Chairman, 'screamed at me "NO NO NO, YOU CAN`T DO THAT" and hurled the pages back at me. I feel that speaks volumes.'
She resigned last March as honorary secretary of the Utility Gundog Society Kent and Sussex (UGS). Mrs Restorick resigned through her solicitor with reasonable conditions, 'as I was not prepared to support a chairman who refused to act against cruelty.'
The club allegedly spent £8,000 of club funds on solicitors' fees and Mr Wade is alleged to have said at the club's AGM, "There's plenty of money left."
Because of the way she was treated she took her case to the Kennel Club. She was told that, 'A committee meeting of a club or society is not a KC matter.' However, she argued that, 'the conduct of a KC Judge which Roger Wade was at the time (B Panel) IS a matter for disciplinary measures as the KC Rules for Judges states.'
In the Kennel Club Rules for Judges it says, 'Judges should conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the standing of a Judge at all times whilst at a trial and in any other capacity (our emphasis) which might have bearing on the interests of the canine world.' Judges can be removed from judging lists if they are guilty of, 'threatening behaviour.'
She sent a dossier to Simon Luxmoore, Chairman of the Kennel Club, and got this reply, 'Dear Mrs Restorick, Thank you for your recent email and attachments received by the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Kennel Club.
'As has already been advised to you, the Kennel Club is unable to take action with regard to what was said at a private meeting and, without a clear breach of Kennel Club regulations, there are no grounds for us to intervene.
'We do appreciate that this is disappointing for you.'
Given the lack of response she received from the governing body she felt she had to write to the patron of the Kennel Club Ltd, the Queen.
Mrs Restorick's husband Paul told OUR DOGS, 'There are appalling problems with the KC. My wife was so frustrated by them that she wrote to the Queen.
'At field event training there are many cases of harsh handling, punitive handling. She went to a meeting of the Utility Gundog Society Kent and Sussex and brought it up under Any Other Business (AOB).
'She was screamed and shouted at by the chairman because she had spoken out.
'My wife is being continually slandered and abused by the society. There seems to be a personal vendetta against her.'
Marianne Copp, Secretary of the UGS, told OUR DOGS, 'There is no cruelty in field trials. You don't take your dog if it won't perform. It can't happen. None of the clubs would accept harsh handling.
'Maybe on training someone will overstep the mark but it will be brought to their attention. Any problems are dealt with by the Kennel Club.
'We haven't had any trouble with cruelty. We all love our dogs. It just doesn't happen. We just don't.
'Dogs are definitely not going to perform if they are not confident. If a dog is not happy it just isn't going to happen. Dogs have got to be confident. Our club is against anything like that.'
Mrs Restorick decided to make a 'Subject Access Request' on the UGS. She did this under GDPR rules to find out what the society had been saying about her to the KC. The KC advised that they can't reveal emails because they are historic.
Due the fact that the KC seemed to be ignoring her complaints she decided to take the issue to the head of state.
In her letter to the Queen Mrs Restorick highlighted the cruelty she had seen some trainers use in field trial training days. She alleges that dogs are beaten with water pipes and that there is pulling and biting of dogs' ears.
On the 21st July Mrs Restorick wrote to the Queen with reference to the fact she is patron of the club and she included the correspondence she had already sent to the KC.
On the 21st August the Palace replied, 'The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter of 21st July telling Her Majesty that you feel the Kennel Club is not doing enough to prevent cruelty in the training of gundogs.'
As patron, 'Her Majesty would not be involved in the day to day running of the Kennel Club.'
The Palace said they would not forward her remarks about the Kennel Club to the KC unless the Restoricks said they wished them to do so. The Restoricks said they would like the letter forwarded and this was duly done on the 3rd September.
In conclusion the letter said, 'It was thoughtful of you to wish to make the Queen aware of this matter.'
Mr Restorick said, 'They are like a Field Trial mafia. You don't cross them. My wife has been very successful in working tests and it has all been done with kindness.
'The chair of the Disciplinary Committee has clearly ignored Bernadette's complaint and the abuse she suffered. The KC don't take abuse seriously.
'She made an official complaint about the abuse she suffered and they have not responded properly. It's a stink. They will not look, they will not see, they will not hear.'
It would appear that the KC have not acted on this letter even though it has come from Buckingham Palace.
A spokesman for the KC said, 'The Kennel Club takes any accusations of animal cruelty extremely seriously and have thoroughly reviewed the information submitted to us. To date, despite requesting this, we have not been presented with any evidence - which might include supporting eye witness statements, photographic evidence or other tangible evidence of wrongdoing - that would enable us to take action. Neither has any conviction or prosecution been made by the RSPCA, nor as far as we are aware has any case been presented to them, which would enable us to follow up with the appropriate penalties.
'We are absolutely clear that we would act against those found to be harsh handling or compromising a dog's welfare, when we have the evidence to do so and when it falls within our area of jurisdiction, such as at a licensed Kennel Club event.'