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Open Forum

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linebreak13 November 2013
Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for providing such marvellous snacks and drinks on Saturday and Sunday! And for inviting us to partake. What a lovely end to the show season.
Kindest regards,

13 November 2013
Thank you so much for the tasteful snacks, ice cold drinks. What a lovely end to the show season.
Team Stavros

14 November 2013
Dear Rosemary
Thanks so much for the Absolutely Fabulous drinks and snacks.  Our heartfelt gratitude for a wonderful farewell to the South African show scene.
Lucienne & Greg

23 November 2013
I want to make a request to all championship show holding clubs to post their schedules for 2014 early please.  People need to budget, select the shows with the best judges, book accommodation and apply for leave well in advance.  No-one will be traveling to all the shows anymore.  It just costs too much!

GONE are the days we book not knowing who is judging....
Heidi Rolfes

25 November 2013
Dear Heidi
How does one determine the "best judges"?
Just asking

2 December 2013
Dear Just Asking

PM me.
Heidi Rolfes

2 December 2013
Dear Just Asking

I have only been involved in dog showing for 5 years but knew exactly what Dr Rolfes was referring to. I  am aware that this post will create a lot of negative comment as we “newbies” are expected to shut up and suck it up……Apparently one is only allowed an opinion once you have been involved with your breed for 30 years or more. I do however believe that I am justified in revealing my opinion on the matter whether the powers that be decide to take head or not.

In my limited experience I have identified 5 different types of Judges:

  1. Those who judge your dog in reference to the appropriate breed standard
  2. Those who have dumped your dog for a lesser exhibit on a previous occasion
  3. Those who put up their friends/connections etc dogs up
  4. Untainted International Judges
  5. International judges brought in by their local contacts / friends.

I stand to be corrected but I do believe that when Dr Rolfes refers to a “good’ judge she is not referring to a specific judge’s qualities or judging ability but rather a judge that appreciates her exhibit’s breed type and who is not “political”.

I choose to limit my entries to Judges that fall under item 1 and 4. Under the current economic circumstances I cannot believe that anyone may have any objection to an exhibitor who only enters their dogs and travels to shows with judges under who they “have a chance”.


2 December 2013
I have just read through Graham Thompson’s letter regarding Junior Handling and I have to say that I concur completely. I have watched the steady deterioration in the last few years of the standard of handling not to mention the standard of Handling Judging. With a few notable exceptions the quality of the current handlers is really bad- they don’t appear to have empathy for their dogs, they go through the motions of doing T’s and L’s etc. but most do not show any talent for presenting the DOG which is the object of being a handler.

I believe if we are to improve the standard of handling child and junior handlers need to be taught about the virtues of their dogs and how to bring these to the judges attention whilst minimising the dogs faults. There is way too much emphasis on doing “patterns” and not enough on handling.

I can recall (in my dim distant past) winning my first CC at around age 7 or 8 and handling my mum’s Cockers against a lot of very competitive adult exhibitors in the ring in the days when we had over 40 Cockers on average at every show. We certainly didn’t win because we were children but because we handled well and knew how to present the dogs.

As Graham said there were quite a few of us in the same age bracket and we didn’t have Handling classes so we learnt to show in open breed competition.

I think it is time that perhaps it is time Handling classes ,which must include theory as well as practical, be set up to assist our new crop of youngsters if our Juniors are ever going to advance.

Jackie Browning

2 December 2013
Dear Annoyed

I too have a dog that has a faulty micro chip.

My vet has said she has been mandated by Virbac to replace the chip with a consultation fee of R70 & the replacement chip costs to be covered by Virbac.

HOWEVER Virbac will not cover the re-registration costs of the dog’s new Registration Certificate with the new microchip number with KUSA. This you (or anyone in the same boat) will have to cover from your own pocket.

KUSA will then issue a new certificate of registration with both the defunct & new chip numbers on it.

I say to all Breeders - Boycott Virbac now & forever. Don’t even bother to try & contact them – they are in hiding as this is just NOT acceptable & they know it.

Also annoyed

2 December 2013
More info…

4 December 2013
As I work at a veterinary clinic I would like to remain anonymous for the sake of the practice.

Virbac originally stated that less than 3% of the micro chips in the batch/s starting with the prefix 9000880 and 9000088 up to 900008800259208 were faulty, I however am not sure what they based that % on because we have had many many chips that we have had to replace. Now whether that is because as a practice we are more vigilant and check more chips than other practices I am not sure.

The very scary part of this, and the main reason that I am posting this, is that we have found MANY chips that scanned and read 6 months or a year ago that are now NOT reading. We had been led to believe that once the chip had been checked and confirmed as working that it would not be faulty. This is certainly NOT the case.
In spite of many calls and conversations with the reps etc at Virbac, and pleas that they need to do something more eg newspaper adverts to make pet owners aware that even though the chip WAS working when you last had your pet checked it may not be working now.

They, to date have done NOTHING!!!!! Claiming that they currently have a court case pending against the manufacturers of the micro chips and can not do any thing more to bring awareness of this problem to the attention of the public.

I personally feel that this is very negligent on their part as I am sure that there are many people out there who think that their pets chip is working when in fact it may not be.

I am strongly in favour of pets being chipped as I have seen too many animals lost that would never have got home if not for the implanted micro chip. However I also feel that Virbac has a responsibility to all those out there who have, in good faith used their product. I do not think that Virbac is abiding by this responsibility.

In closing I would like to ask everyone who has a Virbac Backhome chip in the aforementioned batch/s to please have the chip checked, even if you have already done so.

Thank goodness my own dogs are all chipped with Identipet chips.

Annoyed with Virbac

4 December 2013
To the People of the Dog World.

My name is Kathleen McClean, I am Steve (with the long hair) and Lin's daughter. Many of you have known me since my family first joined the dog world when I was 8 years old. I am now 28 years old.
At the Christmas Charity Show on Sunday, what used to be the most fun show of the year, a very nasty 'joke' was passed to my mother. When my mother first told me of the comment my immediate reaction was to say "Well what do you expect from the people here."

I find it very sad that this is always my first reaction when told what someone had to say about someone else.
I remember dog shows where every breed sat together round the ring with skottles and drinks for everyone. We all helped set up and pack together, stayed to support one another, handled for one another and cheered for one another.

As a ring steward my favourite shows were the ones where the different rings would compete to see who could make the most noise. Where often a wife was in hunt of her husband only to find him in the Goldfields club house with a dozen other husbands.

But those days are clearly gone. Its has been commented that when I do come to a show I am too loud next to the ring when I support my mom. What I dont understand is why is everyone so quiet. It is not a funeral its a dog show. If shouting and clapping distracts you or your dog you should not be showing.
It is clear that the Dog World is in need of younger people to join, but why when we are all working so hard would we want to join if the attitude is dont encourage the new people or lets mess their dogs up in the ring.
People are so quick to pass nasty and unnecessary comments.  If someone is dealing with a family crisis they are addicted to drugs. If someone has lost weight its because they are sick.
Every one knows my dad, Steve, is always willing to help and do what he can for everyone, be on the committees and spend every weekend with dogs. What most people forget is that behind my father is my amazing mother supporting him. On numerous occasions my mother has been spoken to or treated badly but is still expected to be there every year with bells on to support. And she always is because she loves my father and the dog world.
What is so maddening about the 'joke' that was passed, which in my opinion was the same kind of dribble you would find on a bathroom wall in a high school, was that it not only implied that my mother was sick but that her or my father or both are unfaithful.

This is ridiculous!  My parents have been married for 31 years. And are the strongest most caring couple I know. I can only hope to have a marriage like theirs one day. They are the reasons I have the values I do and because of these values I never say anything to the nasty people at the shows. I was brought up better.
People like the person who passed this comment and many others are the reason these shows are so boring, small and sometimes unpleasant.  No one is there to have a good time anymore, its not about winning or spending the day with your beloved animals its about getting one over on someone else.
I come to shows as often as work will allow not to be at the show but to spend the day with my parents.  And when I do come the McClean tent is loud and filled with laughter because that is the famliy we are and the mother I have.

Wouldn't these shows be so much better if every one could keep their ugly comments and behaviour to themselves.
Why couldn't the comment have been "Lin you look lovely whats your secret?". Why must she be sick?
For the person who passed this joke and caused all this drama and pain an apology would be the mature thing to do, but I wont hold my breath.

From someone who once lived for these shows to someone who can barely tolerate them....
Kathleen McClean

7 December 2013
Hi Kathleen,

Firstly it is great that you support your folks at a dog show I can’t drag my kids to them who are also about the same age as yourself.

I thoroughly enjoy watching your parents show their dogs because of the friendly competition between them, they often have the judge laughing along with them as they vie for BOB.

Regarding the lack of support and clapping, at the last show weekend as my Dalmatian went round there was lots of clapping and cheering only for the judge to snap ‘Don’t tell me who I should choose”, and promptly gave BOB to another dog.  The ring steward then was advised to tell us we could not support just one dog we should clap for all of them – would we go to watch S. Africa v Australia in a rugby match and cheer for both teams – I think not.  However the rest of the weekend there was no clapping at all, we had learned our lesson!

Personally I believe the majority of the people at a dog show are just great, there are the few malcontents and miseries, but they are best ignored.

I think I have made it very clear how I feel about the life expectancy of the dog shows, and you are quite right we cannot afford to lose even one young person, I hope it is not you.

Rosemary Elliott

19 December 2013
Dear also annoyed-

I too had a dog with a faulty microchip. It was replaced by my vet -at Virbacs expense. I then forwarded a copy of the new microchip certificate as well as her registration certificate to KUSA who reissued the certificate at no charge.


19 December 2013
Congratulations  to NAPC & DOGSPC for having their 2014 learner judge seminar programmes out & up already. Plenty of time to plot & plan.

And  the sisters down south? Shades of last minute again? How do those judges get their credits?

Just saying

7 February 2014
I would like to give a word of warning to aspirant judges. I understand that you have to take photos of the dogs to jog your memory when you have to write reports/critiques on the dogs that you have judged, but please DO NOT splash them all over face book and worse still DO NOT tag people with these photos that are not the owner or breeder of the dog. This has happened to me recently and I don't like it. I have entered under you as I need to get ring experience for the pup or I would like to give you experience in judging my breed. I don't need some raw pups picture going around the world. However nice you might have thought it to be.
Please ask first.
Diana Thompson

10 February 2014
Dear Diana Thompson.

That’s the glory of Facebook. You can report the photo or the person that posted it.

Just go to the posting on Facebook and mouse over the top right hand corner of the white block. A small arrow will appear, click on the arrow and when the drop down menu appears, select REPORT/MARK AS SPAM and follow the prompts.

If you are also tagged in the photo, go to OPTIONS underneath the photo and select REPORT/REMOVE TAG. You then have two choices: To untag yourself, or to have the photo removed from Facebook.  Just select your preferred option and follow the prompts. You can even report the person who posted the photo.

I think these options will have a better effect than posting your plea on Dogworld.

Facebook Fan

25 February 2014
A note to the learner judges out there – just because there is a well known face at the end of the lead, doesn't mean their dog is the best example of the breed! Some "faces" could take in a 3-legged dog and still win these days, simply because people presume they must have the best dogs. Not all the dogs they show are good specimens!

Some advice for learner judges- look at photos of top winning dogs around the world when studying your breed standards. This will give you an indication of what is required in a breed. Face judging will only give you less and less entries as you try and get your required numbers. Have the guts to put up the dog that is a good specimen, not someone who will award you something the next time you show!!

Observations at the shows

1 March 2014
Both my husband I joined KUSA in 1979 and have remained paid up members since.
We got little for our money as you well know, and nowadays we get even less. We don't even get a hard copy magazine anymore unless we print our own.

Annually, I contact KUSA to get the latest stats on the Russian Black Terrier, i.e. number of litters, number of puppies born, imported dogs and new owners. The reason for this is that I collate this information so that we (the breeders and owners) can build a good relationship together to understand where this relatively new breed is going. The stats are used to co-edit a quarterly magazine for our contacts, at no cost to the recipient, all new puppy owners are asked if they wish to be added to our mailing list. Only this way can we build a data-base which we use to educate and encourage owners to participate in breed activities. This hopefully will lead to us establishing a Breed Club one day and the opportunity to hold a specialist event.

Up until now KUSA have kindly assisted with information, and even now I have received the current statistics which by the way is also circulated to overseas RBT clubs as we share information such as stud dogs, kennels, health issues world wide.

This time however I also received a slap in the face as I was told that this service will no longer be available to me free of charge. In fact it will cost me R600 for 12months information. I am greatly disappointed in KUSA in that I must pay the cost of a double membership fee for a mere 10 lines of information that they already have on their data system. Whilst it may be inconvenient for KUSA to allocate 5 minutes of time to one of their employees to send out the information requested, I feel that it is daylight robbery to ask for such an amount. It is so disheartening that when a one tries so hard to do the right thing for a breed then KUSA basically shoots you down because they want to make money out of you.

Don't they see that in the long term it would encourage more KUSA members. No! Well all it is going to do is take away the enthusiasm to continue down this road

Disappointed in KUSA

3 March 2014
Disapponted in Kusa - follow-up

Further to my previous posting I received a call from KUSA. I have to say that having a discussion about the matter with their representative at KUSA it clarified the topic from their point of view on all that it entails to supply information. I have to say that I am impressed by such follow up and that KUSA are open to negotiation when it comes to supporting a breed that do not yet have a Club. Whilst in conversation we were able to discuss a couple of other matters that arose and it closed the book on some other issues.

So let me be the first to say that perhaps a phone call first would have been the route to have gone - however it is good to know that KUSA took the initiative and we can see a way forward after all.
Thank you KUSA, your call made such a difference.

27 April 2014
Hi All,

I recently wrote to Highway and Natal Coast Kennel Club asking if it was a mistake that there is no Child Handling on their schedule but they confirmed it was a committee decision not to offer it at their show. I then replied that I thought it was unacceptable. I wrote and told them that it was two less shows to practice at before the Nationals, also two less chances the kids have to qualify for the Nationals. I also said that Child Handling is a stepping stone to Junior handling so how is one more important than the other. I cannot understand that we all complain that Dog Showing is a dying sport, that we don’t have many youngsters in the sport, also there were recent posts on how the level of handling has gone down, then why just do away with child handling - how does this help! After further enquiring we have found out that at another Natal 3 show cluster weekend only two of the clubs will be offering child handling. Last years National Junior Handler came from Natal and represented SA proud at Crufts, so I am not understanding the lack of support of our children all of a sudden. I can’t believe that judging 3-5 children holds the show up or costs a lot. I really believe we should be encouraging the children if we want to see them in dog showing in the future. Whether you have children or not surely you can see the importance of the youngsters in this sport. I also want to mention It’s not just about qualifying for the Nationals, child handling teaches the children a lot. It teaches them to work with the dogs, the kids work hard at home practicing. My daughter had ADD and working with dogs has really helped her concentration. I must also mention little ‘Ethan Tarr’ who is such an awesome young gentleman, when he wins he shakes all the other kids hands and tells them well done, now I see all the other children do the same, they learn from one another. They learn to become good sportsmen from a young age something we could all learn from. I see younger kids watching and can’t wait to turn the appropriate age to be able to handle, the kids love it. My daughter didn’t want to do it until she was 10 so that’s when she started.  I am wondering how the rest of you all feel about the importance of our Children in this sport, should we do away with Child handling? I told my 11 year old daughter that she won’t be able to show in child handling at these shows and she replied with a question which I in-turn ask the clubs who plan to do away with child handling: “why don’t they want children to show at their shows?” 

I am asking that as a dogshow community we all stand together on this and support the children and their child handling, Can the Junior handlers also tell us how child handling encouraged and helped you to go onto Junior handling? Please let the committee’s know how important it is before they make such decisions.

Best wishes,
Clair van den Bergh.

27 April 2014
As a former Child and Junior Handler, Committee member of the KZN Junior Kennel Club and Chair of the KZN Handling Sub-Committee, I am very disappointed that these clubs have chosen not to have Child Handling at their shows. The number of Child and Junior Handlers in KZN has recently dropped, but the solution to this is certainly not to give up on them and scrap the class at shows. We need to encourage our young handlers, as they are the future of the dog world.

Kerrie Wilson

27 April 2014
As a father of a former child and junior handler and grandfather of a presently competing child handler and junior handler I would like to express not only my disappointment, but the disappointment of Troy when told he would not be competing in child handling at the forthcoming shows. Sarah has elected not to enter junior handling as her younger brother would not have the opportunity of entering child handling - a decision she reached on her own, which for her, involve not only the day at the show but a chance to take her rosette to school and show her class. And for those who don't know Sarah attends a special school for children with learning disabilities. As a family we very seldom travel to away shows so rely on the local shows for our qualifications. The sentiments expressed by Clair are totally seconded by the Veldman/Hudson family who have numerically supported the Natal Shows with exhibits and handlers in the past.

29 April 2014
It was also with great disappointment that I read on the schedules for NCKC, HKC, & Working & Herding that there was no Neuter Group for the above shows. Therefore another entry less.
G Bailey

3 May 2014
In support of Clair, Kerrie and the Veldman/Hudson family’s letters, I believe it is incredibly important that we make the most of every opportunity to engage the youth in what can be a super family sport. If we don’t provide opportunities for our children to compete, where do we expect the juniors to come from? Most of the junior handlers I know came up through the ranks of child handlers, and are that much stronger for the extra experience this time in child handling afforded them. We need to make each and every experience positive for the children, and keep them interested and keen. So what if there are only a few competitors on the day, ­ some of these shows are where the best learnings take place. The judge has quality time to spend imparting knowledge and doing a valuable critique. It is a sad, sad day indeed when we send the message to our kids that they don’t count or are not wanted !

Kind regards (in the hope that there is a change of heart)
Sue Haskins

3 June 2014
Whilst I do not wish to tell other clubs how to run their shows I am indeed shocked that it was deemed necessary not to hold a Junior handlers class at a recent show.
The Child AND Junior Handling classes are a very important part of our shows and certainly it is inconprehenceable to read that the Junior Handlers were purposefully left out of the show.
The short time taken to host this event just cannot have such a big impact on the closing time of a show. Normally a club sets aside half an hour for both events. IF a club splits the judges for the 2 events it is over in less time. Clubs should look to the future - the club committee may just have a lot more time available in the future because there will be no Juniors progressing and continuing the passion of dog showing - there just will not be a club!
The Child AND Junior Handlers were judged just before the BIS at the Vereeniging & Districts KC show. These handlers had the full support of all around the ring from people waiting for the "in Show" events. The cheers and encouragement given these youngsters was overwhelming and I am sure each one felt they were special.
I do not have a child (or grandchild) to continue my dog showing passion that has spanned over 45 years and that is why I support these parents who are encouraging their children.

All for one and one for all
Corinne Diggins
I plead with clubs to think of the future of Dogdom and to hold these events - why exclude some for the sake of time/costs.

24 September 2014
My heart goes out to Eileen and the dogs that she loves so dearly, who are being removed from her today. How anyone with any heart at all can do this bad deed to anyone is beyond me.
Whatever has transpired between people must stay between people, don’t trash a dogs life to get vengeance.
I am sickened and saddened by the behaviour of some people I thought were not made of this cloth.
Think about your selfish act and what affect your actions are having on these dogs and a person who loves and cares for her dogs beyond the show ring.

Mark Anderson

24 September 2014
I am disgusted that committee members of the Collie Club of South Africa have involved the club in a private matter using their position for what appears to be personal gain. This has prompted me to resign my position as a Vice President of the club as per the letter below sent to the committee and members. I certainly expected the welfare of the animals concerned to have taken precedence when deciding on the club’s position, if any, in this private matter.   

I, Ronald Douglas Juckes, a past President, past Vice Chairman, a current vice president and club member for some 26 years, would like distance myself from the actions of the committee members involved in this abuse of the Collie Club Of South Africa’s name to hide their personal involvement in the Spurier affair. I hereby resign my position as Vice President of this club with immediate effect. The actions of the involved people have been nothing short of shocking when taking sides in a private matter between a long standing club member, Mrs Ashton and Mr Spurier.

These actions were taken without the approval of the members of the club. I am unaware of any discussion ever taking place that would have given the committee the right to behave in the manner that they have.

I am very glad that other members are speaking out against this unacceptable misuse of position within the Collie Club.  

Ronald Juckes
Venron Border Collies

25 September 2014
Well said Ron

I think Eileen has unfortunately been let down by those to whom she was needing both support and direction. From what has transpired these people have transgressed the rules of Rescue Dogs within the Rules of the Collie Club they are hiding behind.

I am still reeling from what transpired....

All I can wish for is that the people who have forcibly removed these 3 kids, will have it in the hearts to return them back to the home they love.

This situation is going to get ugly.... there is more at stake than the removal of these dogs....

Think people and do the right thing.....

Mark Anderson

26 September 2014
Open letter to the Collie Club of South Africa

I, Michael Alberts, as a member of the Collie Club of South Africa, would like to express my total disgust with the involvement of the Club in the matter between Mrs Ashton and Mr Spurrier and the "rescuing" of the dogs. As a member I was never notified or requested to give any input into the discussions/decisions of the committee in this regard and would like to distance myself from what I believe is Animal Cruelty.

I have the following questions for which I require a formal reply.

Was the Collie Club of South Africa mandated by Mr Spurrier or the court to assist in the removal of the dogs? If so, please provide a copy of the request.

Did the committee apply due consideration and discuss the request? If so, please provide a copy of the minutes of this meeting.

Was due consideration given to the exposure of the Club in acting out on such a request?

Was the welfare of the dogs ever taken into consideration when taking the decision to follow out on the request?

Did the Club investigate or attempt to establish if these circumstances require/call for a rescue to be done?

Has the Club ever gotten involved in "rescuing" dogs in a situation as this? Is there any precedence to substantiate the level of involvement of the Club to this extent? If there is no precedence, on what basis was the decision made to get involved at this level?

Which Committee members were involved in taken the decision for the Club to get involved in "rescuing" these dogs?

Is the Club indemnified should anything happen to these dogs, whilst they are in the care of the Collie Club?

What are the rehoming plans for these dogs?

Where are the dogs at moment and was an impartial home check done?

With regards to the dogs being "rescued" by the Club they will need to be spayed and neutered as per the procedures and guidelines of the rescue scheme. Was Mr Spurrier ever notified of this requirement of the rescue scheme?

I am concerned that the actions taken by the Committee in the "rescuing" of these dogs was done without taking into account the reputation of the Club and the exposure that such action would draw. In my mind the Committee did not act in the best regard of the Club.

With the mission statement of the Club being:
"To promote, encourage, foster and advance the breeding, well-being of and interest in the Collie (Bearded, Border, Rough and Smooth) breed of dogs. To observe and adhere to the breed standards of the Collie breeds, as adopted from time to time by the Kennel Union of Southern Africa. To organise and hold shows. To promote a better understanding of dogs and a wider knowledge of dogs and dog affairs and to promote goodwill both among people interested in dogs and towards dogs "

I feel that the decision makers in this regard have failed in the above by totally disregarding the well-being of the dogs concerned. The video that was posted on social media is testament to this fact. Any person with moral integrity and a love for dogs would have never removed a dog in such clear distress out of a safe, loving and nurturing home. Any dog loving, caring person would have seen that the dog is in distress and would have attempted to make alternate arrangements and recommendations in this regard.

I fear that members of the Committee involved in this have used and abused their power under the auspices of the Collie Club of South Africa and have brought the Club into disrepute and I therefore call for a vote of no confidence in the committee.

To my fellow members: We cannot just sit here and watch these rogue committee members just do what they want. We as members have to hold them responsible for their decisions and actions.

Michael Alberts

2 October 2014
I am shocked and dismayed that on the basis of one selectively cut video such a vicious smear campaign has been unleashed against my committee and me. There is nothing ‘cruel’ in the video – indeed, I have seen many dogs behaving worse than that in the show ring, including those shown and bred by Ms. Ashton. It is interesting to note that the profanities hurled at my poor husband and house assistant were omitted from the video!

Let’s dissemble the facts: (for those of you who are able to understand logic and are not controlled by emotions)

1) The dogs in question do not belong and have never belonged to Ms. Ashton.

2) The owner of the dogs requested their return some 20 months ago, had Ms. Ashton co-operated at the time instead of forcing a court case and an appeal, said dogs could have been safely back home in the UK long ago.

3) No-one disputes the fact that Ms. Ashton provided a loving caring home for these dogs, however it is irrelevant, the HIGH COURT has judged that they be removed from her. This is irrefutable.

4) Andrew Wright was asked to collect the dogs by Mr. Spurrier’s counsel with Mr. Spurrier’s consent.

5) Dogs are flown all over the world for various reasons and at varying ages. This is common practice in the dog world. Ms. Ashton had NO qualms about flying a pregnant bitch to South Africa when it suited her breeding program. Many of you who have had the temerity to comment on ‘cruelty’ regarding this have sent mature dogs overseas to be ‘campaigned’ all over Europe by comparative strangers (to the dog) so why this double standard?

6) To those of you who profess to ‘know’ me and Andrew and yet have maligned us without bothering to verify the facts – if you really did, you would ‘know’ that we would never be cruel to any animal. Shame on you for allowing yourselves to be manipulated.

7) Abbi, Breeze and Dougal are in a safe, caring environment.

To those of you who have shown support, I thank you for your common sense and faith in our ability to deal with this difficult task. I also thank those worthy people who are on the Collie Club Committee – you do not deserve the ‘cyber bullying’ which has transpired.

I have no doubt that this posting will unleash more vitriol, and I WILL be deleting all rude & libellous comments. The vindictiveness of some of the dog community astounds me. Please desist from harassing me, my family and committee members and let the matter rest. We need to focus on returning these dogs to their rightful owner as soon as possible.

Martine Wright

3 October 2014
PART 3  of a trilogy comprising of intrigue, lies, spite and malice….and testimony to the fact that 2 wrongs do indeed make a Wright….     

Members of the  Collie Club members have tabled formal letters of complaint regarding the inappropriate and unprecedented involvement of said club’s  “rescue “ scheme in the personal matters between  myself and my erstwhile fiancé and have queried the motives and process that was followed to “rescue” 3 dearly loved and well cared for dogs that have been in my care for some 3 years now. Many dog lovers, both locally and in the UK turned to social media, to voice their opinions; a forum where freedom of speech prevails, unlike the Collie Club FB page where more people are blocked than are welcomed; the filtering process that prevails being “as long as your opinion aligns with ours and you don’t ask questions that might probe the club’s involvement, you can stay”.  So , no Mrs Wright, the last word does Not belong to you, as your words are loaded  with a bias that is nothing short of astounding. You have used, neither your FB forum nor this forum to answer to the most factual questions tabled by some of your members and at the heart of this lies 2 unanswered issues:

1.       When you were approached by the “owner “ of these dogs at the beginning of last year, to facilitate their rescuing and removal from my property,  and for the 9 months that followed that you conferred with him behind my back, why was there absolutely no consultation with me, a member (although now tabled as an “alleged” membership) of your club, former vice president, former committee member, for some 20 years or more?? You were approached, for support,  by  someone you had never met, who was a new member; surely at one of your committee meetings, if those ever took place, 2 questions would have been asked: “what are Eileen’s thoughts on this most sensitive matter, and MOST importantly, WHAT IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE SOLUTION FOR THE DOGS? “.As a “dog loving committee”, surely it would not take much to realise that the most appropriate solution FOR THE DOGS, in the event of any legal battle being lost,  would be to allow them to serve out their 5 month titre testing period, in the home they have loved and been so happy in? The mention of the “pound” as being the alternative, as tabled by your vice chairperson on your FB page (also a post that was retained on the site….funny that) is both outrageous and ludicrous. You are well aware that that was NEVER an option, and had you advised your new member that as a committee, you felt that it was not in the best interests of the dogs to be taken from my home, you would have removed the support structure  you afforded him, initially from a distance and last year, for 2 months , from your home. This was where your husband invested so much of his time, planning my demise in the dog world with this club member, from a computer named Andrew”.  Surely this begs the questions:

–     What were the “real” motives behind the unprecedented attention to this “rescue ?
-          Your  involvement suggests that at no stage did you have a CHOICE?
-          Why was due consideration not given to THE DOGS?
-          Upon meeting said member, in August of last year, I understood from a number of people, that the “Famous 5 “ committee did not even like him, and in fact found him to be a “most seedy character”, yet you continued to pursue a matter that you could have walked away from at any stage. I also brought to the attention of your secretary, some weeks back WHY I had fought so hard for these dogs, yet you chose to ignore that too.

Indeed, the dogs “legally” belong to their UK owner, but they have been left in my care for 3 years, with no contribution towards their upkeep, and most certainly no enquiries after their welfare. They have been used as pawns, in a game of power and spite, 2 of these dogs have been used twice for this purpose. Some investigation overseas would have revealed that this appears to be common practise for this person. I fought an expensive and exhausting battle which from a legal perspective, I lost. From a MORAL perspective, this is a very different matter.  These dogs will be 11 and 10 when they will be flown back to the UK, the third dog was born and raised in my home as you are well aware, and he does not know the “owner” at all. I made every effort to reason with the legal owner, and begged him to consider the welfare of the dogs, as did many people, both locally and abroad; people that have known him for some 40 years, and whom he dismissed and ignored.

Furthermore, what I find most strange is that the official owner of these dogs opted to languish in the UK during the process of “reclaiming” these dogs. If he were that concerned about their welfare, why did he not fly over here, to facilitate the process himself. Dare I say, who needs to incur any expense or upheaval, when you have the Famous 5 at your service….

Your ongoing involvement in private matters between my ex fiancé and myself, has continued for the past year, including postings on the Collie Club Page in this regard. This too was removed from the page when a cautionary message was sent to the “webmaster”. This continued last week when your husband sent factually incorrect messages, pertaining  to matters of a personal nature, to a number of people. He clearly knows more than me as even I was not aware that had I been a good girl, my erstwhile fiancé would have lifted the ban he placed on the dog he bought me as a birthday present!

Your personal vendetta against me and your involvement in my personal affairs has achieved its desired objectives; you have hurt me at a level you will never, ever truly understand, you may applaud your achievements. I mourn the loss of 3 dearly loved pets whose needs neither you nor the legal owner gave due consideration to. As a committee, you have yet to answer to the questions tabled by your members regarding the misuse of your positions as Collie Club committee members, to achieve these objectives.  Whilst I hold the deepest sadness in my heart, you will never destroy my passion and commitment to the breed. I love these dogs dearly and will hold all 3 of them in my heart and pray for their safety and wellbeing for the rest of their lives.

I leave you as a committee with one question: What would you have done if it had been you and your dogs were involved in these deplorable actions?

Eileen Ashton
Chairperson: Bearded Collie Club Of Gauteng and Bearded Collie Rescue    

3 October 2014
In 1770 Edmund Burke wrote about “The need for good men to associate to oppose the cabals of bad men. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

In 1867 John Stuart Mills delivered an address “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, that that good men should look on and do nothing.”

In 1895 John Stuart Mill “He should not be lulled to repose by the delusion that he does no harm who takes no part in public affairs. He should know that bad men need no better opportunity than when good men look on and do nothing. He should stand to his principles even if leaders go wrong.”

In 1916 Rev. Charles F Aked said “For evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.”

Anonymous in a 1920 journal “For bad men to accomplish their purposes it is only necessary that good men do nothing.”

Washington Post 1950 & President John F Kennedy in 1961 “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

In 2014, in response to “The Final Word” from Martine Wright, the Chairperson of the Collie Club of South Africa, Collie lovers in South Africa heeded the above advice. I will NOT just sit back and do nothing.  

Kerstin Fehrsen
Sanderburg Rough Collies

3 October 2014
I am writing about the disgusting and vindictive actions of one Geoff Spurrier now back in the U.K. and have to question why he is doing this (taking 3 Beardies back to the U.K. 1 of 10 years of age, the other 11 the youngest being just 3 and never had another home except with Eileen Ashton if this isn't a 'because I can' moment?) I am pretty sure the 2 oldies won't cope too well with all the rigmarole it takes to get a dog ready to leave S.A. and enter the U.K. I have to ask if Spurrier has any conscience at all? The majority opinion here is NO.

This 'man' is nothing short of evil in actions and deeds. He is the most disliked person I have ever met or wish to meet, ask his own family! I won't even mention the Collie Club of S.A. and their despicable behaviour in this matter, so much for being a member when your own club stabs you in the back!

All of us here hope and pray that a sensible outcome prevails but I won't be holding my breath.
Jackie Holton

3 October 2014
In response to Martine Wright’s “final word”. – It is true that you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all the time.

Your missive like your actions just does not “add up”.

By your reckoning, a puppy or dog sold or given to a third party where the dog, for whatever reason is not registered in the new owners name can be taken back at any stage.  It would be legal but would it be moral and ethical? Because as I understand it the dogs were sent to Eileen, who looked after them for some 3 years – she did not kidnap them.

You say they are going “safely back home”, from what I have read from England’s postings on Facebook from the lady who re-homed Mr. Spurrier’s other dog, they are to be re-homed on arrival?  So either you are misinformed or are misleading us.

You mention you did not know Mr. Spurrier until the engagement was “off”, so you invited a total stranger to stay with you in your home for a number of months, and accommodated him again early this year. That seems to be a really strange thing to do especially as you have children.

You also ignored the information from his family that he was an abusive individual, do you not have any qualms about dealing with that type of individual?  And if you don’t what do you think that says about your character and can you see why that would lead people to question your motives?

He then asked you to get involved in a custody battle against a member of your own community, why would you agree to that?

Why could the dogs not be put in commercial kennels, we all use them on occasion and there are some excellent ones especially in the Benoni area where Eileen lives, I am sure if Mr. Spurrier has the +/- R100K needed to do all the tests and fly the dogs back to England he could afford a really good kennel.

You state Eileen flew a pregnant bitch out, but surely it was Mr. Spurrier who did this, or did Eileen go to England grab the dog and put her on the plane?

You also say that there is no benefit to your housing the dogs, why are you doing it then?  Why take the side of a stranger from England who you may never see again, against a member of South Africa’s dog community? 

It just does not make any sense – it’s not logical.

You have put yourselves in a very invidious position, not only have you severely damaged the reputation of yourselves and the Collie Club, should anything happened to those dogs whilst on your property, any illness, an “accidental” mating etc., or if they are not returned to England, what do you think the response would be?  

Because if you think there was any vitriol and vindictiveness before,  for getting involved in a situation which was clearly none of your business, imagine what would happen then.

Rosemary Elliott

3 October 2014
“To those of you who have shown support, I thank you for your common sense and faith in our ability to deal with this difficult task. I also thank those worthy people who are on the Collie Club Committee – you do not deserve the ‘cyber bullying’ which has transpired.

I have no doubt that this posting will unleash more vitriol, and I WILL be deleting all rude & libellous comments. The vindictiveness of some of the dog community astounds me. Please desist from harassing me, my family and committee members and let the matter rest. We need to focus on returning these dogs to their rightful owner as soon as possible.

Martine Wright”

These were the closing statements in “The Final Word” posting on both facebook and the Dog World open forum.

I take exception to the fact that my deleted (or as the administrator of the fb page said “Just … hidden”) comments have been labelled as ”cyber bullying”, “all rude & libellous”, and that I am supposedly “harassing” not only Martine Wright, but also her family and committee members of the Collie Club of South Africa.

I queried one thing, and one thing only: How did the Collie Club of South Africa become involved in a personal dispute between Ms Eileen Ashton and her ex-fiancé?

I asked whether correct legal protocol had been followed in this matter, and that the necessary paperwork be produced to substantiate their answer of “Yes, correct legal procedures were followed. With regard to the other letters etc. we legally aren't at liberty to say anymore, as you will find we have not posted previously, due to this fact.”

Aren’t legally at liberty to say any more? Surely the Collie Club of South Africa would have had to ask its membership prior to involvement in a legal matter? Where is the paperwork – minutes of the meeting where this was tabled for discussion; poll of the membership to ascertain whether the membership wished for the club to become involved; letter sent to the membership requesting their permission for the club to proceed in this matter; committee nomination of a person to act on behalf of the membership of the Collie Club of South Africa in this matter; court documents to substantiate that the Collie Club of South Africa was the legally appointed nominee; once legally processed as the legal nominee in this matter, the Collie Club of South Africa should have obtained a notarised repossession order; at the time of repossession of the items, in this case the 3 Bearded Collies, a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff should have been present with the necessary paperwork. The Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff’s primary role is to serve or execute all documents issued by our courts.

My concern was ALWAYS about the manner in which the name of the Collie Club of South Africa was besmirched by this incident. In fact, my deleted/hidden comment stated: “The membership of the Collie Club of South Africa has every right to query the transparency, or lack thereof, in this matter.

Whether or not the 3 Bearded Collies will ever be returned to the UK is not for the membership to discuss, but the manner in which the name of the Collie Club of South Africa was brought into this matter, and besmirched, is indeed a matter of concern.”

With due respect Martine Wright, the Collie Club of South Africa does not BELONG to the current incumbents of the committee – they were voted into their honorary positions by the membership and merely act on behalf of the members.

Kerstin Fehrsen
Sanderburg Rough Collies

4 October 2014
I have owned and loved, lived and bred, laughed and cried with Bearded Collies for thirty two years. So feel quite confident when I say they are a loving but sensitive breed.

Since I heard the news about the three Beardies being taken from Eileen Aston in Jo`berg recently I have felt upset and disgusted.  It appears to me that Geoff Spurrier hasn`t given any thought to the wellbeing of these three Beardies who were taken from Eileen in not a very sympathetic manner.

She has loved them and them her for three years, one since it was born.

Where are they now?  Somewhere for four months where they didn`t ask anything about the dogs before they were taken.

Mr Spurrier has not contributed to their upkeep or enquired about their welfare. What is he going to do with them when  they arrive back in the U.K? Rehome them? He has a litter of puppies here that he doesn`t look after himself!!!

PLEASE PLEASE HELP Eileen Ashton to get these three Beardies who looked so unhappy when being taken from her BACK into her loving care.

Jane Trahair (Clesek Bearded Collies) 
The Firs,
Penzance. TR20 8RQ

4 October 2014
From Andrew Wright:- Hi Sarah, this is to remain private and not shared in any way. Rather delete the rest of the message than share it.

I am under a gag order from the attorney representing Mr Spurrier. When I am allowed to release "the other side" and why and how The Collie Club was involved, it will make for salacious reading, and then people will be better able to make informed decisions, what you see on the internet is a polemic point of view, I too video'd the whole process and it was ugly with profanities being hurled at me and rude comments to Mary who accompanied me, but airing this serves no purpose. EA knew that this dog Dougal (the timid one) is timid and they tried to use this to their advantage. Who was being cruel? You can state the removal was cruel? How so? the dogs were handed over voluntarily, except for EA and CO behaving disgustingly? Was it not cruel for EA not to give GS his dogs back when the relationship soured? EA was only acting in own selfish interest as she is still doing today. She needs to move and love God knows how many other beardies in her possession. 10 or more? in her suburban house in Benoni. When GS was there he mentioned a figure of 18? maybe I have it wrong? But certainly wont mention this publicly of FB.

Without Prejudice

30 September at 11:57
Sarah Gee replied:- So GS has you doing his bidding & you readily agreed to the gag order then? Right or wrong?

I don't know any of you in the Collie Club, however regardless of the profanities hurled in the video you have in your possession, my question remains the same, why could those dogs not have stayed with EA until such time as they were to be boarded on a flight to the UK? Are they going to the UK? Or is GS going to have them fostered by your committee until they die of natural causes?

In my opinion, regardless of the humans involved, these dogs are being used as pawns by GS, we all know he's done it before to his ex wife, of which I have written proof from her!!!!

I'm all about the welfare and well being of these dogs, and I couldn't give two flying f@cks about anything or anyone else!!!!

Does it really matter how many dogs EA has? You all keep thinking of the people involved here, and NOT THE DOGS! That's my point!!!

Share this freely, I have nothing to hide unlike you lot!!!! And I can't guarantee that I won't post this!

No one tells me what to do!!!!
Sarah Gee

14 July 2015
Recently, the question of permissible Golden Retriever colours has raising its head. Coat colour must be judged according to the Kennel Club of Great Britain breed standard, which states:

Any shade of gold or CREAM, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only, permissible.

The Breed Standard Illustrated written by prominent Goldie breeder and judge Wendy Andrews also says:

Variations in shading of the coat are quite acceptable. White markings have definite borders and are not to be confused with lighter shadings of the coat.

A young puppy will darken to the colour of its ears as it matures and changes coat.

In older dogs, some whiten and become grey around the muzzle and eyes, and along the back. This is a natural process and a dog should not be penalised for this.

It would be appreciated if both current and aspiring Gundog group judges would take time to review the breed standard before judging this breed. Please do not let personal preferences of colour sway your judgement. If you are not sure what is cream and what is not, I suggest that you either do the right thing and speak to a recognised breeder, visit a paint shop and buy a chart, or better still don’t judge.

Thank you,

20 July 2015
First different types of Goldens, now colour what next?

Dear Concerned
You are quite correct in quoting the KC breed standard, which all judges should follow and judge the dog according to the overall breed standard. However no dog is perfect.

If you have a pale dog, but it conforms to the overall breed standard, that dog should be put up. If a pale dog does not conform to the breed standard it must be put down on the fact that it is not meeting the standard of the breed compiled by the KC and colour shouldn’t play a role, in that instance.

The breed standard is far more important than colour seeing it is such a controversial subject.

If you have a pale dog and a golden dog in the same class and are both very close to the standard. Then the judge should put up the golden dog, after all it is a GOLDEN Retriever…

Cream is quite a definite colour and you should NOT have to wear white pants to prove that your dog is “CREAM”.

Recognised breeders should NOT influence current or aspiring judges in telling them that their dogs are “CREAM” and that it is acceptable.

You should maybe have a look at how well or how little your dog’s conform to the breed standard. That could possibly be the reason why the dogs are being put down, and colour has nothing to do with it!!!

There no need to be rude to current or aspiring judges for putting down dogs that are incorrect according to the breed standard, rather strive to breed better GOLDEN Retrievers.


21 July 2015
Dear “Breeder”
Wow!  This is the first time in 20 years that I have been told that – to quote:

“If you have a pale dog and a golden dog in the same class and are both very close to the standard. Then the judge should put up the golden dog, after all it is a GOLDEN Retriever!”Are you really a recognised Goldie breeder and do you show your dogs?

They are ALL Goldies and must be judged on their conformation NOT colour, unless red or mahogany. You have got my missive quite wrong. All I am asking is for current and aspirant judges to understand that goldies come in a wonderful range of gold and cream colours. You seem more aligned to the American breed standard, (which we do not adhere to) as they do prefer more lustrous golden shades over lighter dogs. But, The Kennel Club of Great Britain standard to which we breed and show states: “Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest permissible.” Out of interest, the foundation colour of the original Guisachan strain of Golden Retrievers was cream. The colour was never bred out and became an intrinsic part of the breed standard.

Highly experienced breeder and judge Valerie Foss says: (and I totally agree) ”The judge must adhere to the directive of the standard, and the dog who conforms most closely to this must be the winner, irrespective of whether he is cream, mid or dark golden. If we are to breed and judge to the breed standard, all shades of cream and gold should be acceptable and no judge should accept a judging appointment unless they can be completely unbiased when judging colour.”

That is all we can ask.. End of discussion.

Still concerned

1 August 2015
Dear Still Concerned
I quote “The breed standard is far more important than colour seeing it is such a controversial subject.” Did you not read this?

Maybe you failed to understand this, so I will quote what I wrote: “If you have a pale dog, but it conforms to the overall breed standard, that dog should be put up. If a pale dog does not conform to the breed standard it must be put down on the fact that it is not meeting the standard of the breed compiled by the KC and colour shouldn’t play a role, in that instance.” This is in accordance with good judging.

I’ll explain the quote, which you miss quoted about the Pale Golden Retriever (let’s call it what it is; white) and the Golden Golden Retriever both of EQUAL in quality. Now you make a choice, which dog you will put up, without using your personal preference and without being biased?   Personal preference does play a role in judging and should the judge put up the golden dog, in your opinion he will be biased? Are you a Judge?

Don’t make assumptions about me being aligned more to the American Breed Standard. I follow the standard of the English Kennel Club, being the country of origin of the Golden Retriever. However both the American and The English Kennel Club’s quote various shades of Gold in their standards.

You might know that the first breeding Lord Tweedmouth did was with a Yellow Flatcoated Retriever called Nous, hence the cream Golden Retrievers coming from Guisachan. He then put one of Nous’ puppies to a Red Setter, Sampson to bring more colour in. This being the reason why red or mahogany is not permissible because it shows the breed origin. Unfortunately the few white hairs on the chest as mention in the English Standard have now spread all over the dogs body.

Yours in Gold - for the love of the Breed

14 September 2015
There have been many comments from people on why I did not reply to the post regarding my heavily marked white and black (landseer) newfoundland male on a social media page. After many weeks of copious amounts of research and heavy discussions with Newfoundland breeders, judges and experts from around the world, I have decided it is time to put this particular matter to rest.

When the post was first sent to me I decided that, as I am not a judge nor an expert (as some claim to be), to put the discussion on a number of breed specific forums so that Newfoundland breeders, judges, and experts from around the world could give their professional opinion on the matter.

This was a huge risk for me as it could have turned against me completely.

Over 100 people from around the world were involved  in the discussions on the forums and every one of them said that the colour of a newfoundland should only be taken into account if there are two dogs of equal standard and not at the expense of construction, soundness, movement and temperament . Not one person agreed with the view that white and black (landseer) newfoundlands with the preferred markings were the ONLY ones that should be shown.

As breeders of white and blacks, we all strive to breed dogs with the preferred markings as stated in the breed standard, but we are dealing with genetics and have no control over this.  I would not like to see the words preferred markings taken out of the breed standard, but to not show a dog who has correct conformation, movement and temperament and then not show him due to colour would be a sad loss for the breed. Most white and black (landseer) newfoundlands that are put up around the world do not have the preferred markings and range from very white right down to very heavily marked and they are all true to breed type.

Yes, landseers are an important part of the breeds history and if you go back to the very first landseers you will find they also did not have the preferred markings. In fact, if you look at Sir Edwin Landseer's famous paintings, you will also see the dogs DO NOT have the preferred markings. They are either carrying too much white or are heavily marked with black.

At a seminar given by Adrian Battey on newfoundlands a few years ago, he stated that dogs coming into the ring (being black, brown, white and black) should all be judged as though they are all the same colour.

As it was stated my boy should not be allowed in the ring , I contacted KUSA regarding whether my heavily marked white and black (landseer) newfoundland could be shown. I was advised as his markings were not a disqualifying fault, there was no reason why he could not go in the ring. This was given to me in writing. 

I also went the extra mile and had genetic tests done on my boy  and the results are in!! Contrary to the belief of certain individuals, he is in fact a white and black (LANDSEER) newfoundland and not a black newfoundland with too much white. (Or a "mismark" as some are lead to believe).

What saddens me is that these same certain individuals have been heard telling judges NOT to place him and even to WITHHOLD awards purely due to the fact they personally think he should not be shown. (I have not personally heard these comments but it is common knowledge that this is happening around the show ring).

At the end of the day, judges should do their own research and make their own decisions based on their own knowledge and not on the words of those who believe they are the be all and end all of certain breeds. (This applies to all breeds, not just newfoundlands). Judges will never stop learning and when you believe you have nothing left to learn and start putting dogs up and putting dogs down purely based on the fact that a friend told you to do so, then maybe you should rethink your judging ethics and why you became a judge in the first place.

Tina Casizzi
(Dracolnd Newfoundlands)

29 September 2015

Just want to say SHAME  on the owners of a certain  Hound breed that displayed such UNSPORTSMANLIKE BEHAVIOUR at the Saturday show.

This is one of the many reasons for the declining numbers at the shows and if you like to win without any serious competition then you have a problem.


23 November 2015
Calling all Scenthounders

I would like it to be know that I have resigned from the committee of the Highveld Scenthound Club. With regard to the Scenthound of the Year I have requested that this years leading scores are displayed on the Club facebook page. However should you not find them there they will also be displayed on the website of the Beagle Association of Gauteng. If there is sufficient support I will run this competition as an independent from 2016.
Shuna de Villiers

4 December 2015

The Highveld Scent Hound Club will continue to run the SCENT HOUND OF THE YEAR competition in 2016. Presentation of the 2015 winners will be done at our open show on 6 March 2016.

Results for the 2015 winners were posted on our club’s Facebook page on the 9th November. Link:

Vice Chairman
Karen de Klerk