Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ohio Kennel Legislation Threat To Field Trialers and Hunters...

Please Help Us To Stop Draconian
Ohio Dog And Kennel Legislation

Urgent For Dog Owners To Write Or Phone Lawmakers

American Sporting Dog Alliance

COLUMBUS, OH – Hearings were held last week on two pieces of legislation that would have a severe if not deliberately devastating impact on dog owners and hobby breeders in Ohio. It appears that an attempt is being made to ram these two bills through the legislative process as quickly as possible.

The last thing state lawmakers want is to vote on controversial legislation close to the November election, in which most of them will have to face the voters. The American Sporting Dog Alliance vows to record every vote on these bills and inform more than 100,000 Ohio dog owners in our database of the way each senator and legislator votes as close to the November election as possible.

We also are working closely with sportsmen’s and farm groups to reach many more voters. We will not forget.

These two bills take a giant step toward fulfilling the extreme animal rights agenda of the eventual elimination of the private ownership of animals. They would drastically reduce the number of puppies available in Ohio by sharply curtailing hobby breeding of purebred dogs.

Research has shown that pet ownership contributes $41 billion a year to the U.S. Economy, in the costs of feed, veterinary care, supplies, building materials, transportation, fuel sales, wages and tourism.

The economic impact of these two bills on Ohio thus would be almost identical to legislation to close down every Walmart store and warehouse in the state. This is a grave step for elected officials who claim to care about jobs and the economy in Ohio.

Our prior reports have contained detailed analysis of this legislation, and this report will only summarize. For readers who want an in-depth analysis, please contact us at

Last week, the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans’ Affairs Committee heard testimony on S.B. 173 (companion to H.B. 223), which has the potential to destroy hobby breeding of purebred dogs in Ohio in a misdirected effort to curtail “puppy mills.”
A hearing on the second bill, H.B. 446, was held before the House Local Municipal Government and Urban Revitalization Committee on Thursday. This bill mandates licensing for puppies at eight weeks of age, increases fees, reduces the age for a spay/neuter differential to six months, gives county auditors the power to revoke kennel licenses, and makes it much harder for good Samaritans to help lost dogs.

Testimony on the bills was mixed, with only a few people attending the hearings, but some of the legislators and senators asked some hard questions and expressed doubts. Others, however, have signed on as cosponsors to this legislation.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is supporting Ohio dog and kennel owners in an effort to defeat this legislation, and has offered strong testimony in opposition to the two bills. Ohio Valley Dog Owners President Norma Bennett Woolf addressed the hearings on behalf of dog owners. Ms. Woolf has worked tirelessly to defeat this destructive legislation, and she is one of the true heroes of the movement to protect dog owners’ rights.

We strongly urge all Ohio dog and kennel owners to take an active role. Your participation and support are crucial. We cannot emphasize too strongly that this legislation stems from an extreme animal rights agenda that aims to greatly reduce the number of dogs as a giant step toward eliminating dog ownership altogether.

S.B. 173

This legislation (a companion to H.B. 223) claims to target “puppy mills,” but would have a devastating impact on every kennel that has nine or more unsterilized adult dogs that could be construed as a “breeding dog.” Because of the definition and required burden of proof, almost all small hobby breeders will be affected.

A breeding dog is defined as any male or female dog that is intended for breeding or has produced one litter in a year, either as a stud dog or a mother. The law does not define standards for this definition or for the burden of proof, and the burden of proof rests with the kennel owner. We see this as a “Catch 22,” as there would be no way to conclusively prove the purpose for keeping any dog. It would a matter of convincing the dog warden to take the owner’s word.

This unvarnished animal rights legislation also grants dog wardens the power to confiscate any dog for which there is probable cause to call a breeding dog. The standards for probable cause are not defined, but could be construed as any dog that has the potential for being bred.

To obtain a breeding license, a kennel owner would have to pay an annual fee ranging from $150 to $750, submit to inspections by state officials, provide proof of insurance, purchase a bond guaranteeing financial liability, submit to a personal background check by the police, be fingerprinted and obtain and use an approved vendor number to advertise or sell a dog or puppy.

Inspections would open any area that houses dogs to state officials without a warrant, including the owner’s home. Papers, documents and bank records also could be examined or subpoenaed.

Citations can be given and fines levied for violations or “threatened violations,” which are not defined. Any hearing, trial or appeal of an action must be done through only one Ohio court, in Franklin County.

The inspections would be based on providing a specified level of physical care in housing, sanitation, medical care and food and water.

They would require a kennel to be cleaned every 12 hours, mandate professional veterinary care for even minor conditions, injuries or ailments, require grooming and nail trimming, mandate vaccinations, deworming and heartworm prevention, and require available water at all times, even in freezing weather.

Here is a link to the actual text of this legislation: .

We urge dog and kennel owners to submit written comments to each member of the committee. Emails, letters and phone calls all are important. This is urgent!

This link will take you to a list of the committee members: . A page will open up giving you a link to each senator’s email and mailing addresses.

HB 446

Every dog owner will be affected by HB 446.

It says:

Puppies must be licensed for $10 apiece at eight weeks of age, and also must wear a collar and license tag at that age. A puppy must be registered and licensed before it can be sold or transferred. Unlicensed puppies and dogs can be confiscated.

Individual dog licenses would rise from $2 to $10 per year, and kennel license costs would rise from $10 to $50. The extra charge for licensing for a dog that is not spayed or neutered will be imposed on dogs at six months of age, instead of the current nine months

Kennel licenses would be required for anyone who raises a single litter of hunting dogs. The bill says: “A kennel owner is a person, partnership, firm, company, or corporation professionally engaged in the business of breeding dogs for hunting or for sale.”

A particularly onerous part of the legislation gives county auditors the unrestricted power to revoke kennel licenses (this includes anyone who raises a single litter of hunting dogs) for unproven allegations of animal cruelty. County auditors do not have the qualifications to make judgments about animal cruelty, and the guilt or innocence of a dog owner facing such accusations should be determined only in a court of law. This power is given to auditors “if the auditor determines” that a violation of animal cruelty statutes has occurred. No limits are placed on this power, and the legislation does not define any criteria for an auditor to use. In fact, the law gives an auditor the power to revoke a license if he/she simply feels that a kennel owner may have violated cruelty statutes, or even extra-legal personal opinions about what constitutes cruelty.

Good Samaritans who find a stray dog must notify authorities within two days and turn it over to the animal control agency within 10 days, and do not have the option to give the dog to a no-kill shelter or rescue group, or find someone to take the dog if its owner cannot be found. This exposes the dog to a high probability of euthanasia.

Other provisions regulate dogs that are declared dangerous, cats, ferrets and other animals.

The purpose of greatly increased fees is to make law-abiding dog owners pay for the cost of animal control in Ohio. The unfairness and irrationality of this approach is that responsible dog owners and breeders, who are perhaps the least likely cause of the problem, are the people who are being forced to pay for it.

Breeders and owners of purebred dogs rarely burden animal control agencies and animal shelters. Moreover, purebred puppies almost never are found in municipal animal shelters. This legislation makes responsible dog owners and breeders the “cash cow” that will be milked to pay for animal control efforts directed at irresponsible people who ignore the law. ASDA regards this as the unethical exploitation of law-abiding citizens.

People who actually violate the law should pay for the cost of enforcing it, through fines and other penalties. This cost should not be borne by law-abiding dog owners. We should not be held responsible for the actions of others, over which we have no control.

We urge dog and kennel owners to submit written comments to each member of the committee.

Here is a link to the text of the legislation:

This link will take you to a list of the committee members: Please click on each member’s name. A page will open up giving you a link to the legislator’s email and mailing addresses.

Please feel free to use any information contained in this report, and also to cross-post it and forward it to your friends.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is the unified voice of sporting dog owners and professionals in America. We work at the grassroots level to defeat unfair legislation and policies that are harmful to dogs and the people who own and work with them. Our work to protect your rights is supported solely by the donations of our members. Your participation and membership are vital to our success. Please visit us on the web at

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lawsuit Filed Over Los Angeles Spay Odinance

Lawsuit Filed Over Los Angeles
Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance

Issues Pertain To Every State And Municipality

The American Sporting Dog Alliance

LOS ANGELES, CA – Concerned Dog Owners of California filed a lawsuit this week against the City of Los Angeles, seeking to overturn a new ordinance mandating the spaying and neutering of all dogs.

The lawsuit is primarily based on constitutional grounds, and alleges that the ordinance violates the civil rights of dog owners in several ways.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance believes that the importance of this lawsuit extends far beyond the City of Los Angeles. It marks the first of several anticipated legal challenges to onerous laws and ordinances as dog owners turn to the courts to fight for their rights on constitutional grounds. This lawsuit is based on legal issues that exist in every state.

An estimated 1.85 million Los Angeles residents have at least one dog or cat.

The ordinance mandates the sterilization of all pets at four months of age. An exemption can be obtained by purchasing a breeder’s permit, for a dog registered with an approved national registry and is being shown or used in competition, and for other categories such as seeing-eye dogs and police dogs. Fines and penalties are provided for violations.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA) strongly supports Concerned Dog Owners of California in this lawsuit. Mandatory sterilization laws and ordinances violate the basic rights of dog owners in many ways, and ASDA considers them a major part of the hidden animal rights agenda to eliminate the private ownership of animals. We urge our members and all dog owners to offer their full support to Concerned Dog Owners of California, and also to financially assist this group to pay for the cost of the lawsuit. They can be reached online at

Here is a summary of the legal issues in the lawsuit:

It violates the rights and familial relationships of 650,000 pet-owning households.

The options provided in the ordinance to avoid pet sterilization are not constitutionally valid. It infringes on basic rights of freedom of association, freedom of speech, the guarantee of due process and freedom of religion.

It won’t work. The evidence is clear in communities that have passed similar ordinances. Similar ordinances have been proven to increase the number of dogs euthanized, increase shelter admissions, increase the costs of dog control programs and increase noncompliance with licensing requirements.

It will increase the number of puppies born, because people will choose to get a breeding permit and to breed their dog simply to avoid mandates to spay and neuter.

It exposes pets to unjustified risks to their health. Current research shows that many significant and sometimes fatal health problems are associated with sterilization, especially at a young age.

Pet owners are threatened with immediate and irrevocable injury when the ordinance takes effect October 1.

Existing laws are not being enforced. An estimated 75% of the pets in the city are not even licensed. Other proven means of reducing shelter admissions and euthanasia rates have not been tried.

Much of the ordinance, including the basis for exemptions, is arbitrary and capricious, ambiguous and discriminatory.

The lawsuit states its case succinctly: “Owners who wish to keep their healthy pets unaltered have no constitutionally valid options to the MSP (mandatory spay and neuter) ordinance. Although the ordinance provides for six alleged ‘exemptions,’ and a breeder’s permit, these exemptions and the breeder’s permit are, in actuality, nothing more than arbitrary and capricious compelled associations that violate an owner’s fundamental free speech rights.”

The ordinance forces a dog owner to join an organization approved by the city, and to identify her/himself as a breeder, which is state-compelled speech, the document says. By requiring the city to approve of a dog owner’s membership in an organization, such as a dog registry or club, government is both compelling membership and dictating a list of acceptable organizations that a person is forced to join. The ordinance then mandates that a dog must compete in an event sanctioned by one of those approved organizations, or is in the process of being trained to compete.

To obtain a breeder’s exemption, a dog owner also is compelled to join one of those approved organizations and identify him/herself as a participant of that organization, which is an infringement of free speech, the documents show. The right of free speech is infringed by forcing a dog owner to identify her/himself as a breeder on government documents that are available to public inspection.

In essence, a person is forced to say, “I am a breeder,” even if the person does not consider her/himself to be a breeder, or if he/she is personally opposed to breeding.

Documents were attached to the court filing to show examples of harassment and vilification of breeders that were distributed by the groups that support the ordinance. In essence, identifying oneself as a “breeder” exposes the person to danger, harassment and defamation of character as consequences of government-compelled speech.

Several religious groups prohibit their members from sterilizing an animal. These groups include Orthodox Judaism and the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Members of these faiths are unable to sterilize their pets without violating their religious beliefs, which puts the city in the position of violating their constitutionally protected freedom of religion. Los Angeles has the second largest community of Orthodox Jews in the nation.

The ordinance also gives the city the power to forcibly seize and confiscate pets that are not spayed or neutered, if their owners are not granted one of the arbitrary allowed exemptions. This violates the pet’s owner constitutionally guaranteed rights of due process under the law, that also are violated because the ordinance does not provide recourse through a hearing.

Forcing a dog owner to spay or neuter also represents an unconstitutional “taking” of property rights, as the ordinance compels taking away the value of a dog’s reproductive capacity, and due process is denied.

To compel pet sterilization also is to deny an owner the freedom to act according to her/his own religious beliefs, personal ideology or political viewpoint, all of which are protected under the U.S. and California Constitutions.

The lawsuit also contends that the City of Los Angeles has failed to take far less draconian actions that have been proven to reduce the number of animals entering shelters, such as enforcing licensing requirements (a reported 75% of the dogs in Los Angeles are not licensed), offering low-cost licensing for puppies that would allow their owners to be educated about the issues, or mandating permanent identification of pets so that animals taken to the shelter could be returned to their owners.

Because of the reported dangers of spaying and neutering (especially at an early age) shown in numerous research findings, the city also is denying dog owners the right to protect their pet’s health and infringing on the relationship between a pet owner and his/her veterinarian.

The ordinance also infringes upon the basic concepts of the liberty and happiness of a pet owner, and also of the relationships between an owner, her or his family, and the pets that are part of their family. Although most pet owners consider their dogs as family, rather than property, they are legally defined as personal property and protected as such under the fundamental right of property in the California Constitution. The ordinance is an arbitrary and capricious “taking” of those property rights by government, especially since the evidence from other communities shows that the ordinance will be counterproductive to its stated goals.

The lawsuit also alleges that the ordinance contains much vague and ambiguous language, such as undefined concepts like “adequately trained” and “poor health,” or not stating clearly what registries have been approved, and which have not.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the ordinance unconstitutional, and to order the city not to enforce it.

Please feel free to use any information contained in this report, and also to cross-post it and forward it to your friends.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is the unified voice of sporting dog owners and professionals in America. We work at the grassroots level to defeat unfair legislation and policies that are harmful to dogs and the people who own and work with them. Our work to protect your rights is supported solely by the donations of our members. Your participation and membership are vital to our success. Please visit us on the web at

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tractor Supply Gets My Vote!!

Hats off to the advertising folks at Tractor Supply for a super video... what a great illustration of what it means to have a working dog in your family. No "show bunnies" here... this is a dog with a job to do... and a tradition and the genetics to back it up. Thanks to the breeders in the canine world who continue to foster the traditions of working dogs, and thanks for all of the work that you do to keep these dogs in existance. It's nice to know that there are still companies out there and know what its about... Tractor Supply gets my vote!

There is nothing more beautiful than a working dog doing its job and doing it well. It's what the Purest Challenge is all about... let Tractor Supply Co know what you think about this video... and buy something from them too!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ohio Red Setter FTC Results...

The Ohio Red Setter Field Trial Club ran its spring renewal on the weekend of April 19 and 20 at the Grand River Wildlife Management Area located in Trumbell County in eastern Ohio. This area is an ideal grounds for running shooting dog stakes, as it has enough open areas to see and show a dog, yet has multiple objectives scattered throughout the course, requiring a dog to be able to hunt in order to find birds. This years entry of 46 dogs had a high level of quality; coupled with the unseasonably warm weather, it put the dogs to the test. Our judging staff for this year's renewal (Dr. Roger Boser, Ed Barlett, Dave Hawke, and Chris Catanzarite) did an outstanding job of separating the dogs, and their opinions were well received.

Following are the results for each of the stakes, as well as pictures of the winners...

Open Walking Puppy (9 entries)
(Roger Boser & Ed Bartlett)

1st Flushing Whip Roger Ramjet RSM Allen Fazenbaker
2nd Quail Trap Sadie ESF Dave Hawke
3rd Little Hope Cracker Jack PM Teri Propst

Open Walking Derby (5 entries)
(Dave Hawke & Roger Boser)

( Top row: M. Borocz, judge Dave Hawke, judge Roger Boser, Tony Giovinale;

Bottom row: Ed Barlett and Chris Catanzarite)

1st Libby At Sunset PF Ed Bartlett
2nd Backcountry Wanderer PF Chris Catanzerite

Open Walking Shooting Dog (10 entries)
(Dave Hawke & Roger Boser)

1st Meteu Medicine Man RSM Allen Fazenbaker
2nd Speedy Mouse PM Bill Aughenbuagh
3rd Goodyear’s White Angel PF Ted Goodyear, owner Chuck Rose, handler

Open Horseback Derby (12 entries)
(Dave Hawke & Ed Bartlett)

(Top row: judge Dave Hawke, Ed Bartlett, Julie McClurg; bottom row: Marty Wohlgamuth, Chris Catanzarite, Tim McClurg)

1st “Penny” PF Marty Wohlgamuth

2nd Backcountry Wanderer PF Chris Catanzarite

3rd Mac’s Silver Dollar PM Tim McClurg

Open Horseback Shooting Dog (10 entries)
(Dave Hawke and Chris Catanzarite)

(Top row: Vince Costello, Ed Bartlett, judge Chris Catanzarite; bottom row: Tim McClurg, Roger Boser, Allen Fazenbaker)

1st Mac’s Iron Will ESM Tim McClurg
2nd Breakstone RSM Roger Boser
3rd Flushing Whip Flash Edition RSF Allen Fazenbaker

Thanks to the judges for their professional judgements! Special thanks to Ed Bartlett, Chuck Rose, Ted Goodyear, and others I can't remember for all of your help! See you again in the fall!

Best, Al Fazenbaker

Most Americans Oppose Mandatory Spay & Neuter laws

Parade Magazine Poll: 91% Oppose
Mandatory Spay And Neuter Laws

Elected Officials, Please Take Note Of This Poll

The American Sporting Dog Alliance

A recent poll of the readers of Parade Magazine, America’s most widely read publication, shows that 91 percent of its readers oppose laws or ordinances that mandate spaying and neutering of pets.

Parade is both the highest circulation magazine in America and also the most mainstream, having built an empire as a Sunday supplement to more than 400 newspapers and attracting a reported 71 million readers a week. If elected officials want to know what will “play in Peoria,” Parade is Peoria. It’s readers are ordinary people from all walks of life, and do not represent any special interest group. They are your neighbors and constituents.

The magazine published an article about mandatory spay and neuter laws in its March 16, 2008, issue, following enactment of an ordinance in Los Angeles. A poll accompanied the article with the following question: “Should owners be required to sterilize their pets?”

There were 50,577 responses:

91% voted no (45,824 votes)

9% voted yes (4,753 votes)

We ask elected officials to pay close attention to the results of this poll, which has great value because of the mainstream readership of Parade.

Officials are being bombarded with political pressure from animal rights groups to pass mandatory sterilization ordinances and laws, as well as with reams of contradictory information.

The Parade poll says what the people who voted for elected officials are thinking.

Many communities are considering these kinds of spay/neuter ordinances now, including Dallas and Santa Barbara. Other communities have passed these ordinances. In California, legislation is expected to be reintroduced in the near future mandating statewide pet sterilization.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance asks everyone who reads this report to send it to the elected officials who represent you in your city, town, township, county and state. It is urgent that we let them know what the vast majority of the voters think about this issue. We also hope you will send this report to all of your friends, and cross-post it on message boards.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance works to protect the rights of dog owners and professionals who own or work with breeds that are used for hunting. Our grassroots movement is based on independent research, investigative reporting, getting the word out to hundreds of thousands of dog owners and elected officials, and giving people a way to take direct action as citizens. Please visit us on the web at We maintain strict independence and are supported solely by the donations of our members. Your participation and membership are vital to our mission.

Have You Joined Yet?The American Sporting Dog Alliance

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ohio Red Setter Field Trial Club info...

Flushing Whip Flash Edition
Owned and handled by Allen Fazenbaker
Bred by Joe Edwards of Come Back Kennels
Proudly carrying the namesake of our national publication, The Flushing Whip

The Ohio Red Setter Field Trial Club is hosting its annual spring renewal this April 19 & 20 at the Grand River Wildlife Management Area outside of Bristolville, Ohio. For a copy of the draw sheet, go to For additional information, visit our website at In support of the Purest Challenge, this is an all breed trial, and features both walking and horseback stakes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More about Moxi's win

Anthony could tell the "whole story," but he's not really one to brag-- so her's a couple more details. This was Moxi's first ever shooting dog stake. At 10 minutes her first find was a wild woodcock. Because of the distance she had to hold point for about five minutes before the judge and Anthony could get to her. There she was in a thicket, staunch on point as the woodcock hunkered down. Moxi held broke. They moved on with three more quail finds the last one with just 1 minute remaining; it took some work but Anthony was able to find and flush the bird just before time was called. Moxi held broke every time. She made nice casts hitting objectives with purpose or in other words she wanted the birds before her bracemate got them. To say the least he was very pleased with her performance. She'd been in Brace one but when all said and done, the judges awarded Moxi first place.The competition was English pointer and English setters.Conditions were 20 degrees, sunny, knee deep snow for much of the first half, it was work. every opportunity for a dog to screw up presented it's self during this brace but Moxi and her brace mate were not fazed.So folks, doesn't Anthony have cause to be just a little proud? Deb

Another Win for Red Setters

I just wanted to let everyone know the Minnesota Bird Hunters Asscociation held their Open Shooting Dog Stake Sunday April 13,2008. The winner of this stake was a little female red setter , Blais'N Red Hottie, AKA, Moxi.
This was Moxi's first shooting dog stake.

Friday, April 11, 2008

CAN-AM Continental Championship correction...

The CAN-AM Continental Championship ad, run in American Field on March 29, has a mistake. The correct listings of stakes is as follows:

Amateur Shooting Dog Championship (1 hour).. $125
Open Derby (30 minutes)................................... $ 65
Open Shooting Dog Championship..................... $125

The ad inadvertantly listed the Open Shooting Dog as a simply a one hour stake... it is actually a championship. The trial is being run at Killdeer Plains WMA in Harpster Ohio Call entries to John Golub 440-5496460 or 440-478-4488

Monday, April 7, 2008

Response to Field Trial Magazine article...

Celtic's Sunshine Girl
A product of the Purest Challenge
The recent article published in Field Trial Magazine entitled “Seeing Red” was a sore disappoint to me. I had been contacted by the author of this article several months ago requesting some information about the red setter, with the assurances by Craig Doherty that the article would present a “balanced approach to the current reciprocity issue.” I can assure Mr. Doherty and anyone else who cares about our opinion (ie, the membership of the National Red Setter Field Trial Club) that we do not feel that this article presented a balanced or accurate portrayal of our position, our philosophy, or the truth regarding reciprocity or the red setter. What was especially disappointing to me was the fact that a magazine devoted to field trials and field trial dogs would lend so much press (and credence) to an organization and a group of people who are not in any way affiliated with hunting, field trialing, or working dogs. The bench fraternity was quoted extensively in this article, offering their “opinions” as to what should be done with the red setter. To quote virtually any field trialer that I have ever talked to… “WHO CARES?” The bench fraternity, remember, is the group who nearly ruined the Irish setter as a usable gun dog. What possible credible information could Pam Schaar, a “long-time breeder of successful show dogs and AKC judge”, for example offer the field trial community? She has ZERO knowledge of bird dogs. Why would her commentary be of any value in a Field Trial Magazine article? The only statement of importance that Pam Schaar makes is her comment regarding the mixing of show and field stock. Schaar notes that “Historically, we’ve seen the mixes of bench and field trial Irish and they are near impossible to even get a point on in the conformation ring and rarely do they perform well in the field.” No kidding… the field trial community figured that out about 50 years ago… about the same time that the National Red Setter Field Trial Club was founded. Old news.

The article brings up the usual tired examples of the separation of the show and field dogs. Sorry, but that’s also old news, and the field trial community for the most part doesn’t care. We have our own gene pool, and believe me, there isn’t a red setter breeder in the United States who has any interest in breeding into the Irish setter show stock. The much ballyhooed “dual dog” mentioned in the article is, by the admission of most field trial people, a dead end. Even the article points out (inadvertently) that of the tens of thousands of Irish setters in the United States, only one breeder has been able to produce a “dual dog champion” (ie, win the ISCA National Field Trial and the conformation National). If the ISCA can only produce 1 such dog in the history of its existence, that in itself says a lot… and it doesn’t say anything positive. At least the dual dog proponents are trying to do something with their dogs in the field, misguided though it is. As Ken Ruff, owner of the well known Brophy Kennels, (who has produced multiple field trial champions in the AKC field program) points out, “dogs selected for hunting are almost always from field lines that show high degrees of natural instincts and take very little training to get them to hunt and point.“ In other words, if you want a good bird dog, you breed bird dogs. You don’t breed to show dogs.
Perhaps the ISCA leadership should take a junket to Ireland, or the Scandinavian countries, or to one of the Australian regions where Irish setters are actually used to hunt. They would be surprised to find out that our red setters (referred to as a “different breed” by the ISCA bench people) actually look a lot more like the Irish setters of the country of origin than do the USA bench Irish setters. Notwithstanding the high tail set of the USA field dogs, our red setters are much closer in type and conformation than the dogs found in the show ring. Of course, that doesn’t come as a surprise to the field trial community, because comparing red setters to Irish setters in Ireland is like comparing apples to apples. Both gene pools are WORKING DOGS, still used to HUNT BIRDS. Not the case with the show dogs, most of whom, to quote a common phrase heard at field trials, “couldn’t find a pork chop in a phone booth.” Comparing our red setters to the Irish bench dog, on the other hand, brings up significant differences. What would you expect… we breed for hunting performance… the show people breed for ??

I was especially offended at the commentary (quoted by Lee Shoen), describing our red setters as “tiny white and red, yellow red, or yellowish and white animal that usually possessed a good nose (regardless of its shape or of the head), which did indeed get over the ground smoothly and fast.” This is the type of commentary that is routinely fed to the ISCA membership by the vocal elements who would like to see the red setter disappear. These descriptions (besides being half-truths or outright falsifications), have been repeated ad naseum on internet boards and listservs, as well in commentary by the same sorry tongue-waggers, for years. It’s surely disappointing to see such nonproductive nonsense show up in Field Trial Magazine. I would expect this stuff in an internet message board, but not in a national magazine devoted to the sport of field trials.

Ditto for the commentary by several individuals regarding the option of establishing the red setter as a separate breed. I guess the National Red Setter Field Trial Club will need to take out a full page ad in the New York Times, or perhaps place it on a billboard. So, I state our position once again (and this is official, folks)… the National Red Setter Field Trial Club has absolutely no interest in registering our breed as a anything other than what it is: an Irish setter. Our dogs are registered with FDSB and AKC as Irish setters. If the ISCA show fraternity is so interested in producing another breed, I would suggest that they establish their show-bred dogs as a new breed. Perhaps you could call it the “American Irish Setter.” That would be fitting, because it certainly doesn’t resemble anything that could resemble the Irish setter of Ireland. I would also recommend that you remove yourself from the Sporting Dog group of the AKC, because for the most part, your dogs do not engage in any sporting activity, ie, bird hunting.

One of the questions that continually intrigues and confuses me is why the field trial people of the AKC continue to support the efforts of the ISCA?? What exactly is the ISCA doing in support of your efforts to produce a high quality bird dog and field trial competitor? I’m hard pressed to answer that question. As an organization, the ISCA has engaged in tactics which encourage the breeding of show dogs. They continually trivialize and marginalize the efforts of field trial fraternity. It’s no secret that there are factions within the ISCA that would prefer to dismantle your National Field Trial. There have been allegations for years of illicit outcrossings of show dogs to Afghans. The article mentions the death threats to members who are supportive of the field trial efforts. The list goes on and on. It’s illogical to me why the AKC field trial fraternity continues to tolerate this nonsense. And now, your Board of Directors is going to allow the general membership to decide the issue of reciprocity? Let’s do the math… the ISCA has a membership numbering in the thousands. Of those thousands, how many are active field trialers, or breed for field quality in their litters? Perhaps 200? Probably less. The outcome of that vote is very predictable. It’s a shame, because the field fraternity is the only aspect of the ISCA that is supporting the mission of the Irish setter as a working bird dog. And your organization is crushing you at every turn.

Field Trial Magazine can do much better than this contrived, same-old, story. It offers nothing new in the way of news or options. It’s basically a rewrite of old ISCA gossip and hate-mongering of the red setter club by those who would like to see us go away. It presents nothing of the huge advancements of our breed in the field trial arena. Where is mentioned Bearcat and Desperado, Abra, Clancy O’Ryan, or Chantilly? Does Connie Lyons or Pam Schaar even know who these dogs are, or what they accomplished? How dare they deem to be competent to make judgment on the red setter! I recently returned from our spring National Championship and Red Setter Futurity, where I saw some of the best red setters in the world competing head to head for the 2008 Championship. And, it was awesome. Not only are our dogs beautiful to see, they are beautiful to watch as they run the courses, hunting, finding, and pointing birds. Contrary to Lee Schoen’s description of our red setters as “tiny white and red, yellow red, or yellowish and white animal that usually possessed a good nose (regardless of its shape or of the head), which did indeed get over the ground smoothly and fast”, our red setters are beautiful bird dogs, pleasing to the eye, wonderful hunting companions and housemates. They are classy, intelligent, and have the drive and desire to compete in any bird venue in this country. But that’s not anything new… the field trial community knows that. Just ask anyone who competes against Roger Boser, who has won or placed in over 700 field trials with his classy red setters. When I pick up an issue of Field Trial Magazine, I’d like to read about field trial news… I hope the next issue does a better job than was done with this article.