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Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Socially distanced dog show planned

Featured Written by Our Dogs - 01/05/20

The Atlanta Kennel Club in the USA has caused controversy by announcing that the Peach Blossom Cluster dog shows will take place between June 17 and 21.

Atlanta is the state capital of Georgia and Brian Kemp, the state’s Governor, has announced that, ‘Gyms, fitness centres, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists,’ will be allowed to reopen.

He was lambasted by President Trump who said that the state was moving too fast in opening communal businesses.

The move by the Atlanta Kennel Club to go on with the show has brought them much criticism but the organisers  said in their defence, ‘The cluster committees understand the concerns some people may be feeling about attending dog shows this summer. 

‘Working with the Governor's office and other state officials to ensure that whatever regulations are in place at that point in time will be followed, these shows will be anything but "normal" dog shows. 
‘We're working to balance safety with the "toe-in-the-water" re-opening of the dog show world.’ 

Critics argue that to hold a dog show at this time is a move too far that will ruin efforts to contain the virus leading to a spike in infection rates. The Atlanta Kennel Club called for calm after it had received ‘vicious attacks and ugly private messages from members.’

The Atlanta Kennel Club went on to argue, ‘People who depend on dog shows for their livelihood are bleeding money. There are professional handlers who don't know how they'll make their mortgage payments, meaning that they'll lose their homes along with their businesses. 
‘There are vendors who are bleeding money and will have to shutter their businesses because the bulk of it came from in-person sales at shows. The contract workers at show venues are bleeding money because no events are happening there.
‘Dog clubs and the AKC are bleeding money. They rely on income generated by events. Without them, the dog show world will collapse.’


Mary Ellen Macke, show chair for the Peach Blossom Cluster, reiterated this point when she told Dog News, ‘One of the reasons that we wanted to try to reschedule rather than just cancel is the impact all the cancellations have on our vendors, handlers and employees at sites that have real financial impact from this pandemic.
‘We really have been blessed with good entries throughout the years, as well as with great vendors and a wonderful site. We all wanted to say, ‘we are thinking of you as well as our club.’’

It is expected that everyone attending will be required to wear a mask, gloves will be required and hand sanitizer will be available. Exhibitors will be expected to follow ‘social distancing’ and there will be no ringside seats. 

Comments have been made on social media to the effect that it will be impossible for judges to remain the required distance and examine a dog. It is expected judges will be wearing masks and it has been suggested that exhibitors need to get their dogs used to being judged by someone wearing a mask! 
The show was due to run alongside another in this cluster, but apparently the other show has been cancelled leaving Atlanta Kennel Club on its own


The Atlanta Kennel Club concluded, ‘Between now and the closing dates the clubs and cluster chairmen are monitoring the situation and will make whatever modifications are necessary and required by Georgia state law to provide the safest environment possible for attendees.
‘We understand that many in the dog show community will not feel comfortable attending and we respect their decision. We also understand that many in the dog show community want and need to have dog shows happen. 

‘Our sport supports a huge range of business owners - large and small - and we don't want to see them fail.

‘Dog shows will begin again at some point. We believe that mid-June is the right point. Reasonable, well-intentioned people may believe otherwise, and we respect their decision for their own clubs and businesses.’

Atlanta Kennel Board member Sandra Weaver told DN Magazine in the USA, ‘We're hearing from many in the professional handling community that they'll be there with lots of client dogs. We're also hearing from people who aren't ready to be in crowds and aren't planning on attending.

‘We're pretty sure it'll be somewhere between the very worst entries ever and the very best entries ever, and we're focused on preparing for the entries we actually get.’ 

Read 933 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 May 2020

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