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February 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Response to Westminster Dog Show

Westminster is not about rescues, shelters or mixed-breed dogs

Claudine Erlandson needs to face a little reality. [“Westminster Dog Show,” Northwest Voices, Feb. 17]. Yes, there are purebreds in shelters and rescues, but in most cases they are not from the “noblesse oblige” that is reputable, ethical breeders. You simply cannot lump all breeders in the same category. And the vast majority of pets in shelters are mixes.

I’d like to point out that David Frei was a board member of one of our esteemed local animal shelters and he in fact sponsored me, a RESCUE person, to become a member of that same board. Frei cares about the plight of all dogs, but Westminster is not about rescues, shelters or mixed-breed dogs. It is an event for people who have spent countless hours and sums of money to get there.

We in the dog world have many interests. Winning best in show at Westminster has never been on my bucket list and the majority of my dogs have been rescues. In fact I have worked with Doberman rescue for over 25 years now. The Doberman is my number-one choice of breed and I would like to make sure that I will always have one by my side. While I do rescue, I also call some wonderful breeders my friends and would love to have one of their breedings as I know the love, attention, care, etc. that goes into those litters. Keep in mind not all champion dogs are bred! I’ve known of many who were spayed/neutered once their title was earned.

We need dedicated breeders, like those who show at Westminster Kennel Club, to ensure there will always be well-bred dogs to choose from.

— Nancy E. Phillips, co-rep, Seattle Purebred Doberman Rescue, Seattle

Westminster needs to set the example

I would like to give kudos to Claudine Earlandon. If a dog show as prestigious as Westminster will not support adoption of shelter animals, maybe they need to rethink their position.

Claudine is sadly correct. Many purebred dogs do wind up in shelters, and some of these animals are taken to shelters by people that show and breed dogs.

Of all the dog shows across this country, Westminster needs to set the example, not be “dog snobs.”

Too many dogs are being abused, neglected, and killed for that, and the dogs need all the help they can get. I own six dogs of my own, with two rescued dogs and a shelter adoptee. I’m also taking classes to train dogs, and I plan to specialize in training and rehabilitating shelter and rescue dogs.

I believe that all dog shows should be involved with animal adoption in some way, even if they only make donations of food. Every little bit helps.

— Patricia Willett, Chester, S.C.

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