Saturday, February 16, 2008

Westminster fallout courtesy of the media

The media strikes again. Here is an article a semi-local paper did online after the show. I have comments and rebuttals from the interviewee at the end so hold your fury. Edited somewhat for space. Link to full story at end of post.
Beagle owners revel in Uno's triumph
Kennel owners brace for renewed interest in 'the poor man's dog'
Uno, a 15-inch beagle, poses with the trophy after winning Best in Show Tuesday at the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Dieter Bradbury is the online reporter for Bradbury’s beat is designed to engage directly with readers and glean story ideas from your suggestions, Web postings and feedback. If you have comments, please post them here or send Bradbury an e-mail at
When a beagle won top prize at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week, Donna Cook couldn’t contain herself. “I was very excited about that,” said Cook, who breeds beagles and other dogs at Weskeag Labradors in South Thomaston. “I scared my 12-year-old labrador, jumping out of my chair.”
Such was the thrill that ran through the veins of Maine beagle owners when a dog named Uno was declared best in show at the prestigious competition on Tuesday. (photo-Donna with Becca at a show in Mass.)

The unpretentious breed, best known as the inspiration for cartoon characters like Snoopy and Underdog, had never won at Westminster. But this year a beagle from South Carolina defeated six other breeds in the final round, including a toy poodle, an Akita, a Sealyham terrier and an Australian shepherd.
Lori Abbott, who recently bred a litter of beagles in Farmingdale, was floored when Uno triumphed.
“I was like, ‘Oh my goodness that is amazing!’ – with all those other dogs,” she said.
The victory is sure to elevate the beagle’s popularity, and kennel owners are bracing for an onslaught of requests from families who want to take a puppy home.“The last time an English bulldog won that show, they were the number one selling breed in America,” said Patty Dubois, who raises beagles and other breeds at Superior Kennels in Arundel. Dubois said she fielded a call the day after the Westminster show from a Portland company that wants to use beagles in its next catalogue.
***BLOG OWNER NOTE looks like a PUPPYMILL to me!!!! Multiple breeds and credit cards accepted are some HUGE red flags here people. Great source here!***
Beagles have long been among the five most popular breeds listed by the American Kennel Club, and they generally are considered good family pets because of their tolerance for children. They are also a prized hunting dog, primarily for rabbits, and will follow their noses until they drop.
Abbott and her husband got their first beagle to hunt with four years ago.
“I kinda turned him into a baby,” she said. “So I bought a second one.”
The family now has 10 beagles and is raising their first litter for sale.
Cook, in South Thomaston, said beagles are highly trainable but need stimulation and exercise or they will bark out of boredom. She screens buyers to make sure they have a fenced exercise area and an understanding that the beagle needs attention from its owners.
Attention is no problem for Tony Cummings, a guide from Sidney who keeps 10 beagles for hunting and field trials. The beagle is a “poor man’s dog,” he said, because they are relatively inexpensive and common.“They were bred to run rabbits, that’s what they were bred for,” he said. Cummings feels lucky if he can sell a top beagle pup for $375 – a fraction of the cost of many other breeds. He said he didn’t watch the Westminster show and has little interest in show beagles because they are bred primarily for appearance and deportment rather than instinct, intelligence and hunting ability.
“They breed the hunting instinct right out of them, in a sense,” he said.
***BLOG OWNER NOTE ~ Brace yourselves people-here is the best part.****
Still, Cummings sees a benefit for beagle owners in Uno’s triumph.
“That’s going to bring the price of them up,” he said. “I told my cousin, if you’ve got one you want to breed, now is the time to do it.”
***Uugghhh!!! Makes me want to vomit. I'm sure beagle rescue is thrilled with that advice as much as I am.
** Note from Donna Cook the MISQUOTED beagle owner and breeder: This is the article that the Reporter Published . Guess I should have asked to read it before he associated me with it! I stressed OVER and OVER again the fact that Beagles would become popular and that they would end up in shelters in 6 months due to the popularity......and look what he quotes from another breeder in the last line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also did not say that they are easily trained, I said that they can be trained with some skill, patience and perseverance. They really are NOT an easy dog to train.
And here is her reply that they did NOT post online in their comments section.
Although I was interviewed for this article, I do take exception to many of the comments and the omissions. I am a member of a local kennel club which sponsors AKC Dog Shows and we stress Responsible Breeders and responsible dog ownership. Several of my comments to Mr Bradbury expressed a concern for the breed with it's new found popularity. I explained to him that this would result in many Beagle pups being purchased on a whim due to all of the publicity and the end result will be lots of Beagles being surrendered to shelters, tied out to dog houses and abandoned.
I ask that each and every person who is now considering buying a Beagle pup really research the breed and decide if they are the right breed for you and your circumstances. Look for a responsible that will do a careful interview, advise you on responsible dog ownership and MAYBE even refuse to sell you a pup if they think the pup will not work out for you and your living arrangements. Most of all a responsible breeder will have you sign a contract that states that the pup must be returned to them if you can no longer keep the any time in the dog's life! AND expect to pay way more than $375 for a quality puppy from a responsible breeder.
Beagles are really not the easiest dogs to train, simply because they are a hound and are bred to work independently of the owner. They can be trained to come when called with much time and patience and skill. However, if you want to keep your pet Beagle close to you, have a fenced yard and a leash handy at all times.
Beagles DO make great pets for the right family that is ready for the boisterous little dogs to come into their life. So give it plenty of careful consideration before you run out and buy a Beagle puppy. A Beagle should be a "merry little hound" and " a lot of dog in a small package". Beagles also like to do what Uno did when he won.....put that head back and let loose!!!! So be prepared or choose a different, quieter breed. ~Donna Cook~
I just wanted to make sure that Donnas voice gets heard PROPERLY on the subject. This is also a great lesson on the media and their curious habit of only hearing what they want to hear in an interview. It doesn't just happen in pitbull circles people so be aware. Feel free to e-mail the reporter in regards to his mistakes. (link to his e-mail above)
For more info on beagles, here is a link to just one of many beagle rescue groups out there. As with ANY breed, research before you buy is always recommended. I find rescue is a great place to get the good and BAD info on the breeds you are considering.
***Link to full online story here:


Caveat said...

Excellent post. I've linked to it.

The only hope is that since Beagles (and purported Beagles) are already one of the most popular breeds, there won't be too much room for expansion.

The media should be called to account every single time they misreport, disreport or play pass the word.

People who don't know much about dogs (most people) see a well bred, well trained show dog like Uno and get a Beagle, thinking they come that way right out of the box.

Uh, no.

nancy said...

Great Post Marie! Superior Kennel is a puppy mill. They are abiding by the (current) laws and as such cannot be touched, but I assure they are on the radar of the state.
I heard Uno's handler was asked on the today Show if Uno hunts and he said " He wouldn't have any idea what to do in a field. No I ask you. What the hell???? What the hell kind of dogs are we breeding. Me I was glad a pet breed dog won. I shudder to remember other years and breeds that came in favor due to Westminster.

Lauren Hinsman said...

I am a retailer in Rockland and I have been bombarded with questions from questionable (at best) characters...

" Hey, know anybody breedin' beagles like that one that won, except I ain't got much money"

I refuse to post breeder referrals. I actually received a "brochure" from a "breeder" here in this state recently. It consisted of a wholesale price list for at least 20 breeds/designer breeds. It looked just like my wholesale lists for collars! It was so insensitive and objective. I was disgusted, so I called them to have them take me off their mailing list.

God bless these poor puppies...