Historical Frenchies – Poisoned Show Dogs & Bad Judging

Years ago, when I was new to showing and convinced that everyone in the world was as sunshine and buttercups as I was, I hired a handler to take a cute little specials bitch out on the road for me. In a short period of time, she was cleaning up at almost every show she entered, and knocking some rather well known and heavily campaigned dogs out of the big ring in the process.

When I called to get our weekly Sunday report from my handler, I was stunned when he casually mentioned that another handler had ‘stepped on her foot’ just before they went in the ring, with the resulting limp throwing her out of contention.

Shocked, I asked him if he’d done anything about it, and he cynically replied that it was the kind of thing you got used to, and that he’d get his back against them eventually. I didn’t ask what he meant, because I really, really didn’t want to know, and I parted ways with him shortly thereafter.

Anyone who shows their dogs in conformation has a story or two to tell about cut throat competitors who’ll stop at nothing.

It’s not very comforting to know that this sort of thing has been going since pretty much the inception of showing, as this story from the 1902 Syracuse Post Standard illustrates –

Poisoned Meat Fed to Prize Canines at Gotham Dog Show

New York, October 24th 1902

Poisoned meat was fed to two valuable dogs at the show of he Women’s Kennel Club at Madison Square Garden to-night and they died in great agony.

Deep anger was voiced by dog lovers when the news went around the garden. If the culprit be caught, the Women’s Kennel Association will push a prosecution.

The dogs were owned by the Metropolitan Dog Exchange. They were Crib of Ashfield, a French bulldog, and Lady of Ellen, a bull. Mrs. R. Taylor was the breeder of both animals. Lady Ellen won a first prize, and was for sale at $700. Crib of Ashfield’s value was set at $600.

Three or four years ago several dogs were poisoned at the Westminster Kennel Club show at the garden.

Apparently, this was a contentious show all around for French Bulldogs. The French Bulldog breed standard had just established the ‘bat ear’ as correct for Frenchies, and some judges were apparently not quite up to date on these changes.

The New York Times reported on the Women’s Kennel Association show on October 25th 1902, and included reports of complaints about the judging from some of the French Bulldog exhibitors — another situation that anyone who shows today is far too familiar with.

No formal protests were filed, but there was considerable talk among the exhibitors of what were termed unfair or peculiar decisions in a few prominent cases. Foxhall Keene came in for the chief condemnation. Mrs. D. T. Pulsifer, who lost the Stanton Cup for the best American-bred bulldog under eighteen months old, felt particularly incensed at the award of the cup to the Hellcote Kennels’ Fiston. The latter dog, it is claimed, possesses “Button Ears”, which is a true mark of disqualification, and the French Bulldog club has been appealed to to set matters right.

Mrs. J. L. Kernochan, President of the Ladies Association, said: “I hear there has been some dissatisfaction with some of the judging. This is unavoidable. A judge is not infallible; he can merely give his best personal opinion as to the merits of the dogs as they are shown.”

In Which Nell DOESN'T Move to London

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s always disconcerting to run into photos of our dogs on other websites.

In a few cases, the site owners have given us semi plausible reasons – site designers who have used photos they found via image searches, relatives who did the sites for free and used pictures from wherever. None of these excuses really excuse using the images of another persons dogs to promote your own kennel, but they’re at least not intentionally misleading.

In the most recent case I’ve been informed of (thanks to Rumble’s mom Jennifer), the same can’t be said. There’s really no way to fob off claiming that a full grown, adult bitch you’ve never met ‘accidentally’ ended up listed as a dog you’ve sold to another home. The only possible excuse I can think of goes something like “Hey, I think that dog is pretty. If I put a picture of her on our website, people will think we breed pretty dogs, too”.

In this case, the photo was stolen from this set on Flickr, specifically this photo in particular. Here’s the entire set in slideshow form, so you can see the photo in context with the other ones in the series.

The nice people over at Aurora French Bulldogs, however, are claiming that Penelope is actually Parsha, and that she was sold to “Lisa in London”. This would come as a great surprise to Penelope, since she’s currently sitting on top of the puppy’s head while she yoinks the nylabone Heart had been peacefully chewing.

Here’s a screen cap of “Parsha”, on their “In New Homes” page. Click to view full sized, or see it in real time here.

Again, I can’t really imagine what the marketing strategy is behind these sorts of rash decisions. Aurora isn’t really at that far away from Mount Forest, meaning that there’s a good chance that anyone who stumbles onto the web site for Aurora will also stumble onto mine. Once there, ten seconds clicking brings you to Penelope’s page, where sits the same photo, front and center. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at this kind of stupidity, from a kennel that proudly announces ‘Christmas Puppies Available’.

I’ve emailed Aurora, asking them if they can put me in touch with “Lisa and Parsha”, but I haven’t received an answer yet. Heart, in the meantime, has suggested that perhaps a change of scenery would do her Auntie Nell a world of good.

A French Bulldog Video Interlude

And now, a video interlude. First off, let me say that I fully understand that the pop dance track accompanying this vid is something of a deviation from my normal musical choice, but let me say that it is not my fault, because this music is the devil.

Listen to it once, and it will sink tiny little barbs into your cerebral cortex, thereby lodging itself there forever. I fully expect to sit drooling in a nursing home one day, all coherent thought long gone other than the lyrics of this song.

Oh, and Ting Ting also did that song from the iPod commercial. Sean threatened to hit me in the head with a hammer if I used that one in this video, muttering something about my being a ‘tool of Satan’.

So, ignore the music and just look at the pretty puppy, and all will be well.

Over in New York City, Carol Rowbo’s French Bullog Jacques is poised for total world dominance via his new Doritos Commercial. Check it out at this link, and watch this spot for news on when voting will begin.

Oh, and the crusty nose contest winners will be announced this week!

Man Who Hacked Puppy's Ears Gets Lesson in Karma

In 2007, Ontario residents and dog lovers world wide were shocked and appalled at the story of AK, a mixed breed puppy found mutilated and whimpering on a Windsor apartment balcony. AK’s ‘owner’ had hacked off the puppy’s ears off in an attempt to make him look more ‘menacing’.

A loop hole in Ontario’s notoriously lax animal cruelty laws would have allowed the owner to get his dog back during the investigation had he not willingly surrendered it to the Windsor Humane Society, leading a province wide outcry for reforms to the laws and maximum allowable sentences.

Rony Salman was ultimately sentenced to three months in jail for the mutilation of AK, but just learned that karma can sometimes quite literally bite us on the ass (or other body part).

As reported in today’s news:

Rony Salman, the Windsor man who earned media attention and jail time for cutting off the ears of A.K. the dog, has had some of his ear chewed off at Windsor Jail — and has been transferred out of town. “He was involved in an altercation at the jail and he had part of his ear bitten off by another inmate,” said Windsor police Insp. Cliff Lovell, noting that the report does not list any further detail on the injury. “I can’t give you the other inmate’s name because there are no charges being laid. There’s no complainant. “But the jail is required to make a report because there was an altercation between a couple of inmates.”

Salman served a paltry portion of his sentence for cruelty, after the judge in the original case, Ontario Court Justice Guy DeMarco, gave Salman two-for-one credit — two days for every one served so far — because he had been in the county jail for more than 45 days awaiting trial. Salman was back in jail this time for charges related to a south Windsor burglary, proving that stupid really is bred in the bone in some people.

The ear-biting incident happened on Remembrance Day, according to the jail report. Salman has since been transferred to Chatham Jail — an old, grey-stone structure topped with razor wire — where he declined on Tuesday to meet with a Star reporter. Salman is serving time for a burglary earlier this year in South Windsor. Previously, Salman was sentenced May 26 to three months after pleading guilty to three counts of animal cruelty, wilfully causing pain to an animal, causing unnecessary pain to a dog by not seeking veterinary attention and failure to provide care for — and wilful neglect of — a domestic animal.

Scot Wortley, a Toronto area criminology professor, speculates that the attack was an example of ‘jail house justice’.

“I don’t know the details of this case. Maybe this guy’s just a Mike Tyson fan,” Wortley said. “But it sounds eerily similar to what was done to the dog, so you would have to explore that possibility. “There’s a code of honour among criminals and they rank people who prey on children, who prey on women, who prey on the defenceless — and maybe a dog, I don’t know — as worse.”

Justice, karma, or simply the divine comedy of retribution – who can say? I do admit to finding it rather ironic that Salman will likely qualify for reconstructive surgery after his attack, while AK will bear the scars of his for life – and yet AK’s sweetness is still intact. Animals really do prove themselves our betters, over and over again. Read the whole story here.

Dear Tessa: Should we get our dogs a baby?

Tessa always does so enjoy receiving letters from her readers, and this week’s correspondence is particularly timely, what with Christmas on the way.

Charmaine writes:

Dear Tessa:

My husband has recently been ‘elected’ Dictator for Life of a small and somewhat obscure nation you’ve likely never heard of (our chief exports are shoes, brightly colored lizards and Cirque Du Soleil performers). Our two French Bulldogs, Coco and Gamin, have been remarkably patient throughout all of ‘Daddy and Mommy’s’ campaigning. They’ve put up with the reporters, the hotel rooms, the numerous botched assassination attempts, and the utterly dismal diner food. As a treat, we’ve been thinking of getting them a child of their very own, as a sort of early Christmas -slash- ‘Thanks for not biting the reporters (cough-Barney-cough)’ gift.

What do you think, Tessa? Do French Bulldogs and children do well together?

Thanks a bunch, and let us know if are ever in need of new shoes or a contortionist.

Tessa, of course, insisted on writing back immediately.

Dear Charmaine and Doggy Daddy Dictator:

Kudos on the ‘election’ results, first off. I assume you learned everything you know from CoCo and Gamin, n’est pas? You’ll all do swimmingly, I’m sure, especially with those two delightful aides de camp at your side (or behind your backs, pulling all the really important strings).

While I can sympathize with the urge to treat your two four legged pals to a lovely ‘thank you’ gift, I urge you to think twice before gifting them with a child. Children are a lot of responsibility, especially at this time of the year. I can’t count the times I’ve heard of one given impulsively at Christmas, only to be tossed aside days later, with the left over fruitcake and broken dreidels. Tempting as it might be when the little two legged darlings darlings get whiny during the cheese course, it’s simply not done to toss them into an out of the way crate or ex pen, either. No, you must give them your undivided attention, even when you’d rather be eating a left over turkey sandwich and doing the New York Times Crossword.

Another consideration is the issue of housebreaking. Children are really quite horrid about this, I’m afraid to say. Months after you bring one home and they’re still messing their beds – and forget about taking them in the car, because it’s guaranteed they’ll make a stinky almost as soon as you pull out of the driveway. Shocking as it might sound, I’ve heard of children who’ve taken literally two to three years to get the hang of anything approaching house breaking, and this is even after their ‘parents’ have hung bells off of the doors. I do sometimes wonder if it’s possible children are one of the thicker humanoids.

Have you thought about allergies and children? Many French Bulldogs are dreadfully allergic to kids and the near constant clouds of allergens they produce. Sticky fingers, plumes of talcum powder, crusted on cheerios and the wafting scent of Baby Shampoo can result in your Frenchies breaking out in hives or even the vapours. When this happens, it’s all too common for new parents to simply dump the baby at a handy Children’s Home or Shelter. Be sure you – and your Frenchies – are ready for the lifetime of commitment a child actually is.

Of course, some groups are quite vehement that children should not be adopted into ‘captivity’, including the outspoken group PETTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Tiny Adults). Spokesperson Angry OldKook says:

“It’s a mistake to think of children as some sort of pet, or sub intelligent person, when really they’re just like you and I, only tinier. “Tiny Adults”, a term we prefer over the pejorative word ‘children’, don’t actually even want to live with dogs or families. Instead, PETTA is committed to seeing them set up in their very own, tiny sized apartments, where they’ll be given tiny jobs, tiny mortgages, and tiny briefcases. In this way, they can live out their lives proudly, free of interference from so called ‘adult’ supervision, and able to evolve their own social groups.”

When it was suggested that children (sorry, ‘Tiny Adults’) might not be able to fend for themselves, especially in a post sub prime world, Ms. OldKook said “If they fail, then it will have been on their own terms. We’d rather see them burn out than fade away.” Oldkook then cut our interview short, saying she had a ‘Raffi recording session to firebomb’, and muttering how his music ‘infantalises babies’.

So, there you have it, Charmaine – such a lot to consider! Really, I think that with everything you, your charming husband and CoCo and Gamin have going on, now isn’t the time to think of adding a child to your household. Instead, perhaps you should think of a cat? They are, after all, the only animals other than French Bulldogs even more comfortable establishing Dictatorships.

à bien tôt,