Hidden but dangerous

I wrote last about the most infuriating change CdL has gotten into the European Lure-Coursing rules. Like I mentioned, there are several smaller changes, some of which can be said to be good. The best such change has been the rule change, which makes the use of muzzle mandatory to all breeds.

Traditionally the Italian Greyhounds have been able to lure-course without a muzzle. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they are so small and people do not consider their bite as dangerous as one of – say – an Irish Wolfhound. However, with this kind of thinking people are forgetting the main reasons why lure-coursing and racing dogs use the muzzle.

There are two distinct reasons for muzzle in a sighthound running competition (broadly, I’m including lure-coursing, racing, straight racing and pack coursing in this):

  1. To prevent the dog to cause harm by biting
  2. To prevent harm to the dog, especially it’s sensitive mouth

The muzzle has to fulfill three jobs:

  1. To prevent the dog from harming others
  2. To prevent harm to the dog
  3. Not to cause harm to dog or others

Now that every breed has to use muzzle both on track and field, we – dog owners – have to make sure that these points are valid at all times.

This is a good change and shows that CdL is finally putting the dogs health first.

However, the change I’m referring to in the headline comes in quite a different place.

In paragraph 1.9. Dismiss and disqualification, point three has been changed from description of dismissal to that of disqualification. This seems minor, as both cases are extreme ‘punishments’ and usually very seldom.

As paragraph 1.9.1. gives the reasons for dismiss (stop during a race or course and encouraging the dog to run), 1.9.2 states the following:

1.9.2. Reasons for disqualification

The officials must disqualify dogs which:

  1. Attack or try to attack other dogs
  2. Want to escape
  3. Impede the progress of the races or course

It’s the third point that requires some validation.

You see, in point 3.1.3 describing the job of the starter in lure-coursing, it is stated that the “Owner/handlers keep dogs quiet and get them to the start in time”. In 2016 European championships there were several dogs, which had normal collar, harness and maybe even slip-leash when they came to the start. The mess with gear caused some starts to get quite prolonged, causing unnecessary stress to the other dog, which had to wait all this time for it’s partner to get ready.

Sure the wording ‘quiet’ is exaggeration and should be replaced with ‘calm’, which corresponds better to the current interpretation of the rule (some breeds just are more vocal on the start than others). But the point is that this ‘impeding’ may be used to disqualify dogs which are not ready for the start in reasonable time. What this time is and how this point is going to be interpreted in the reality remains to be seen, but what was earlier a reason for dismissal (ie. no negative repercussions to follow) is now a reason for disqualification (with all the resulting possibilities).

I wonder what changes I have missed because of these have taken my eye so badly. If you happen to come across such changes, please comment!

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