DOG owners from across Wiltshire will be making their way to the NEC in Birmingham in two weeks time to compete at the most controversial Crufts show in history.
The RSPCA cut its links with the dog show after the BBC broadcast a documentary called Pedigree Dogs Exposed on BBC One in August, which identified serious issues affecting the health and welfare of some pedigree dogs in the UK.
The BBC, which has broadcast Crufts for the last 40 years, then announced it was suspending its coverage of the show, which this year runs from March 5 to 8, pending further investigations into the health and well being of pedigree dogs in the UK.
Angela Stevenson from Shepherds Mead, Dilton Marsh, is chairman of Frome Dog Training Club, she said: “Obviously there will be a lot of adverse attention on the competition this year but there are plenty of healthy pedigree dogs out there but sometimes the media choose not to broadcast that.
“You’ll always have bad people in any walk of life but Crufts will go on.”
Two of Mrs Stevenson’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have qualified for this year’s event.
Harvey, who is 17-months-old, will be making his debut in the competition when he competes in both the junior and good citizen class on March 6 and his seven-year-old aunt Kia has qualified for the under 12s small agility dog of the year on March 5.
Kia will be handled by Mrs Stevenson’s nine-year-old granddaughter, Kirry Stevenson, who is a pupil at Dilton Marsh Primary School.
Katrina Hathaway from Kings Gardens, Hilperton, is celebrating after three of her golden retrievers qualified for this year’s event, but her three-year-old bitch Kali has had to pull out of the show after giving birth to nine puppies on February 10.
Kali, who finished fourth in the special junior class two years ago, was due to compete in the limit bitch class this year.
However Kali’s brother Byron, three, will compete in the mid-limit class and her son Chino, who is 17-months-old, has qualified for the special junior class. Both dogs will be competing on March 7.
Ms Hathaway said: “There are more judges outside the ring than there inside the ring at Crufts.
“It’s an enjoyable day but a long day. I will be up at 3.15am because the judging starts at 8.30am.”