« ForrigeFortsett »
I am quite content to leave dog-legislation in the hands of the Kennel Club committee, who are a body of gentlemen above suspicion, sportsmen in the truest acceptation of the word, and men who play the game for the game's sake only.
Between this qualified and unqualified praise there is a large expression of intermediate opinion, but, in a general view, the “Contents” with the existing condition of things altogether swamp the “Noncontents," although a great number of contributors have suggestions to make, covering a wide area of extended energy and usefulness. Thus various correspondents urge that the Kennel Club should take up the cudgels more energetically on the questions of quarantine, railway rates, better accommodation for dogs in rail transit, dog licenses, and vivisection-a comprehensive programme, not shared by many who think “we are suffering from over-legislation.” And for practical suggestions, here are a few duties urged on the legislators of Grafton Street :
A Kennel Club official should be deputed to attend all shows, to see that they are conducted properly and in accordance with their rules or license.
The Kennel Club should require a balance-sheet of every show to be submitted for its audit and approval, and the issue of the next license should be conditional on the conduct of the previous show having been satisfactory.
The Kennel Club should exercise a more efficient supervision over the award of special prizes, the distribution of which is liable to abuse, as there is no check on them, and “schemers” sometimes get what they ought not to win.
The Kennel Club should so legislate that there should be no award of prizes where there is no competition, but only entry fees returned; the first in a class of one, the second in a class of two, and the third in a class of three, should certainly not be allowed to enjoy the “honour” of “ winning.” At present a lot of poor dogs win prizes absolutely without competition, and acquire a fictitious value they have no right to.
The Kennel Club should license judges, which is far more important than licensing shows; no judge should be allowed to adjudicate who is not on their list, and no judge should be allowed to get on their list without a very substantial proof of his capacity and integrity.
The Kennel Club should insist on all prize money being paid within a month instead of three. There is no credit given for entry money-why should such a long credit be given for the payment of the prize money? It is small enough in all conscience. Bis dat qui cito dat.
The Kennel Club should limit the number of shows; many to which they grant a license do the dog -world much more harm than good. They have done much to raise the standard of the dog-world, but some of the licenses they grant have an opposite effect.
With regard to the increased fee for registration there is a whirlwind of dissatisfaction, with no corresponding suggestion of how to raise revenue to carry on the working of the increasing organisation. But there is a very large body of opinion that all dogs ought to be registered, especially dogs that win prizes at licensed shows, and that compulsory registration all round would enable the old scale to be resumed. On this point the “tip top” of the fancy are practically unanimous, and many contributors give instances that have occurred, to their personal knowledge, of the abuses arising and the fraud resulting from dogs not being registered, and winning at different shows under different names. Writes one gentleman, dramatically: "The Kennel Club should be, or not be. Aut Cæsar aut nullus ! It should grasp the nettle. It should insist that every dog shown under the Club's ægis is capable of being traced and spotted in its registers. Dog owners who object to this, when the fee is only Is., are not the sort of fanciers that we want at our shows. An unregistered dog is a premium on false pretence.”
Turning now to those fanciers who desire a representative body to rule the dog-world, there is a strong
and clamorous minority in its favour—stronger in expression than in numbers. Here are four expressions of opinion couched in moderate language :
The ruling body in the dog-world should be elected by the fanciers at large, and there should be district councils to settle disputed points. At present only the rich can afford to attend at Grafton Street and give evidence. It is hard, because an exhibitor cannot afford to make a long and expensive journey to get judgment in a dispute which can, under no circumstances, “pay expenses," that an award may go against him.
The Council of Representatives should be the House of Commons of the dog-world, with full administrative powers, the Kennel Club occupying the more dignified position of a House of Lords with power to veto. I make no doubt they would usually be wise enough to confirm legislation.
All new legislation should be first referred to the Council of Representatives. They are in closer touch with exhibitors than the Kennel Club.
The specialist clubs should combine and manage their own affairs.
In none of these, or the many other similar expressions of opinion I could quote, are any charges of mal-legislation brought against the Kennel Club (apart from the irritation displayed at the increased fees), and the indignation of the writers appears to spring from the font of pure principle-to wit, that taxation should be accompanied by representation. “Antiquated” and “not quite reasonable at times” are the worst species of abuse hurled at the elders of Grafton Street; and there are those who predict that “if the Down with Everything Brigade should, by any chance, 'wipe out' the Kennel Club, their next proceeding will be to turn and rend one another.” That in this year of grace there is “ agitation in the air" against the ruling authority no one can deny who reads the dog-press, but I think the Kennel Club has the loyal support of the overwhelming majority
of those for whom it has done so much, and, on the whole, so well.
Dog Shows Dog shows lead to much debate, and the thing that has astonished me most is that, in the universal condemnation of three-days' shows, the third day should have survived. I think 80 per cent of my contributors protest against the third day-some of them very vehemently. The case for the exhibitor is succinctly summed up in the following words :
We go to compete for honour, not to turn ourselves into a public show. We pay highly for permission to compete,-in entry fees, in the heavy expenses we are put to to get our dogs to the show, and, in a lesser degree, by the vexatious regulations which appear to regard the exhibitor as some one to be legitimately bled. For our purpose a one-day's show is quite sufficient; for the showman's purpose a two-days' show should be the limit of concession; the third day is an imposition on the body of dog-owners, who are the backbone of a show, and accorded the least consideration of any connected with it. The pleasure of showing one's dog is completely spoilt by the purgatory of what is practically imprisonment for a much longer period than is necessary or reasonable.
There is an equally strong condemnation of the number of one-day shows, and of their quality. “There are too many shows; many of them of the poorest and most trumpery description."-"One hears dog-show secretaries howling for entries. It is a case of dog eat dog. Halve the shows and you would double the entries."
And here are some very weighty opinions on dog shows in general :
I am firmly of opinion that every show should be held under Kennel Club rules, and every dog registered at the Kennel Club. There are far too many shows-especially small shows, which answer no good purpose in either cultivating or educating the public taste, or in improving the standard of the various breeds of dogs. If shows were held only under Kennel Club rules it would do much to prevent fraud, and at the same time safeguard the purchasers of dogs, and help to make dog-showing a real pleasure, as it was some years ago, before the commercial spirit took such a hold upon the fancy.
There are too many shows got up for the purpose of making money by individuals, and this could in a great measure be stopped by the Kennel Club refusing to allow the cancellation of classes.
I consider dog shows necessary for the maintenance of the high standard of the various breeds, but they are often abused by exhibitors for pecuniary benefit and self-advertisement, rather than for the benefit of the dogs.
There are too many dog shows. Fewer, with better prizemoney, would, I am sure, do more for the advancement of the different breeds, besides making the winners of more value. The only way to prevent fraud is to insist on all dogs being registered
And to condense many other opinions and suggestions into a running paragraph: “Championships are too easily gained; the judges should be more strictly enjoined to withhold from exhibits those who do not merit the award.”—“ It should require five challenge wins to gain the title of 'Champion.'”—“ Championships should be gained under three different judges." (This regulation is now in force.) “After winning three championships a dog should be debarred from competing (!).”—“There are too many special prizes given, and sometimes girt with conditions which are equivalent to allocating them before they are competed for. I have known fanciers (?) get friends to give specials which only their own dogs could win under the conditions laid down. This is not playing the game." — “There are too many classifications ; fewer subdivisions and better prizes would raise the standard of competition.”—“The hours should be more reasonable ; at