Big problems before the World Agility Open
Fri, 30 Mar 2012
The behind the scenes of the World Agility Open Championships never cease to amaze. Here's the latest news before the event to be held in May in Belgium
FROM: Monica Percival & Greg Derrett, World Agility Open
Has Belgium Gone Too Far?
For the past year, the Agility Section of the Belgium Kennel Club has secretly threatened to ban handlers from participating in Kennel Club agility events if those handlers participate in a non-FCI event such as the WAO, but they have never put anything in writing that could be pursued legally. As this year's event draws closer, they have escalated their efforts and privately confronted an individual handler to scare him into withdrawing from the Belgium WAO team. The handler was told that although the Belgian Kennel Club would likely lose a legal battle if they banned the individual from Kennel Club agility competitions, they didn't care. The Kennel Club would just pay the fine and then make sure that judges would make calls that will prevent that agility handler from ever having a clean run again in Belgium. Like agility handlers everywhere, people in Belgium just want to pursue their favorite sport on the weekends. To stand up to the current agility system and be banned from participating in Kennel Club events would mean they wouldn't get to do agility or see their friends. Unlike the U.S., Canada, England, and some other countries, there are not multiple forms of agility for handlers to choose from.
But the Belgian Agility Section has decided to go a step further now. This week on a Belgian Facebook page after the WAO asked someone to post a request for helpers for the event, the Kennel Club actually went so far as to threaten to ban anyone who even helps out at the WAO. What will be next? Will they ban Belgian agility handlers from coming to the WAO to watch?
The WAO committee is trying to find legal counsel in Belgium to address this issue, but meanwhile we hope that members of the agility community from around the world will take a moment to write to the members of the Agility Section and members of the assembly of representatives and express their opinion on this issue --
Wilfried Claes -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronny Gilissen -- Ronny.Gilissen@telenet.be
Michel Liekens -- email@example.com
Van den Bosch Alfons -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Joel Vanlerberghe -- email@example.com
Joseph Van Hummelen -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WAO official website: www.worldagilityopen.com