When asked about Di Fry's and Tracy Jackson's response to the Garritson situation, this was my reaction:
Di Fry & Tracy Jackson did NOTHING, said NOTHING, offered no assistance whatsoever to the dogs they had supplied Michael Garritson. Perhaps they think that this will go away if they don't respond. Perhaps they think they will be considered a "victim of a hate campaign" (as they would have people believe now) if they claim ignorance. However, they were IMMEDIATELY informed of the situation in Valley Centre; the day after the seizure of the dogs, Christina Van Patten personally spoke with Tracy Jackson. As members of English Toy Spaniel & Cavalier King Charles Spaniel clubs all over the U.S. donated supplies, funds and care for the dogs, what did Di Fry & Tracy Jackson do? Business as usual, in comfort, but certainly nothing remotely linked to those dogs in San Diego County, California. Interesting how they were readily available to sell those dogs, to accept the monetary compensation for them, but they weren't there when things got tough, when they might just be asked to give up some of those funds they received to assist in the welfare of those dogs. WE, meaning each and every responsible breeder who assists in large rescue efforts such as this one, are subsidizing their behavior by saving those dogs, by donating our own time, effort and money.
Finally, just as Di Fry's and Tracy Jackson's positions within the clubs become endangered, voila...we FINALLY hear from them! In JANUARY, almost EIGHT MONTHS after the dogs were seized from their disgusting hole. Why did she finally speak out? Not to offer some type of assistance to the clubs who took care of all those dogs, not to ask after the welfare and location of those dogs...oh, no...to plead her innocence...it isn't about the DOGS it's about THEM and their power positions.
I have a phrase I learned years ago when in leadership school in the Army..."Lead By Example". Those are words that seem to be making the rounds with this effort to bring responsibility upon those who make self-serving choices. And by that, we aren't saying that mistakes don't happen, that dogs don't end up in a less-than-ideal situation despite our investigations into the prospective owners and their intentions. Although the vast majority of us place AT MOST 2 or 3 dogs in a single home, not upward of 18. However, what defines the person and their value within a community such as ours, breeders, is how that person RESPONDS to that situation. They didn't respond at all! What would we expect? Some type of monetary contribution to the fund for the correction of the most serious health problems. Some indication that they were indeed concerned about the dogs, how they were faring, whether they needed supplies. A kind word to those who worked diligently to address the issues of the dogs, to meet their needs, to find proper caretakers for them.
But instead...they went into hiding. They continued showing their dogs, continued judging shows, continued in their capacity as officers of the clubs. Not one penny was offered, not one kind word uttered, not even a single, solitary THANK YOU to those who worked so hard and whose hearts were rendered broken by what they witnessed.
In their lack of action and lack of concern, they showed us what their mission is. Certainly not the welfare of the dogs. Hardly...they are all about themselves, protecting their precious environment at all costs, having an illusion of superiority and respectability by being officers of the clubs. They are about their EGOS and are extremely self-serving. The timing of their response says it all.
Lead By Example:
When I think about and refer to this phrase, this is what I mean... "Paint a portrait of yourself through your actions that you would be proud to have others emulate." This comes down to ethics and moral uprightness. Officers of breed clubs should be above reproach. They should be held to an even higher standard of ethical and moral behavior than the members who do not hold office. These are the people who are showing the world what the club stands for, what values the club holds dear. That is a part of the purpose of breed clubs...to promote the breed. How can we promote our breeds if our officers are KNOWN to be crooked, are KNOWN to be self-serving, are KNOWN to turn their backs on the dogs in their time of need? Shouldn't we expect our officers to (at the VERY LEAST) behave in a way that is not going to draw negative attention to our clubs? A MINIMUM expectation...I think a more reasonable expectation, though, is for the officers to DRAW FAVORABLE attention to the club, to garner support for the club, its functions, and its mission. In short, Club Officers should lead by example. Is this the example the Cavalier and Charlie Clubs in the UK wish to promote? I'm so very sorry if the answer to that is "yes".
We in America have been asked to provide proof of the conditions at the Garritson residence. We have tried, oh have we tried! However, there is a CRIMINAL TRIAL. ALL OF THE PROOF IS WRAPPED UP IN THAT TRIAL, NOT TO BE RELEASED UNTIL AFTER IT IS OVER. We have provided the news stories, we have provided notes from the testimony of the Animal Control Officers, we have provided first-hand accounts of the rehabilitation of the dogs, we have provided photos of some of the dogs...whatever we have at our disposal at this point in time, we have provided it. Yet no matter what we provide, we are dismissed as blowing it all out of proportion. People in England are saying that it "really wasn't that bad". Now do tell...HOW WOULD THEY KNOW?! Are they here? Did they participate in the cleanup? Did they lay one hand on a single dog? I trust the testimony of those who were there; I wasn't! But what motivation would they have to blow it out of proportion, ESPECIALLY COUNTY OFFICIALS, ESPECIALLY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE?
Perhaps I am holding others to a standard that is simply out of reach. I don't think that is the case. The vast majority of breeders have NEVER been accused of such behavior...nor would the vast majority of breeders put dogs into this situation, let alone not respond to it at all. The lack of action on the part of Di Fry & Tracy Jackson gives every reason to believe that they are far from innocent. And we won't even go into the outright lies and misinformation in their defensive letter when they finally did respond. That letter was fabricated in some kind of fantasy world, not the real world as it is.
All we ask is for people to take responsibility for the dogs they bring into the world...it doesn't matter WHO they are. If they choose to ignore that responsibility and lay that burden on the shoulders of others, then there should be repercussions. They certainly shouldn't be breeding dogs! The LEAST of those repercussions should be dismissal of these people from positions of TRUST, which are the positions that officers hold for their members. I think that trust is profoundly misplaced in Di Fry & Tracy Jackson.
Thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to learn the facts. I appreciate this opportunity.
Question regarding whether the sellers were innocent...my response:
Responsibility: Ethical breeders never sell that number of dogs to a single person or family, period. But to sell that many to someone without knowing the conditions is that much worse. And THEN to top it all off, when the suppliers were contacted regarding the raid and seizure of the dogs and was informed in no uncertain terms as to the condition of those dogs (a phone call AND fax was made to them), they did nothing, said nothing. As these people who were readily available to accept the roughly $3,000 each for the dogs they sold, wouldn't you hope they would be equally as ready to assist in the cleanup of what they provided? Rather than do that, they sat back and said nothing while people who DO accept responsibility for the dogs provided money and hard labor in order to make sure these dogs were properly cared for. Several dogs had to have heart surgeries (at a minimum of $2,500 each), a couple had their patellas repaired (again, roughly $2,500 each), one had a back surgery. SEVEN dogs were put to sleep...Over 100 of those dogs had eye injuries that needed treatment. Where were Di Fry, Tracy Jackson & Marilyn Tuesley-Chambers then?? Certainly not offering to help in any way, shape or manner. Di Fry & Tracy Jackson hold positions in the breed clubs in the UK...shouldn't they be held to a basic standard of ethics? After all, these are the people who are supposed to be setting the standard to which other, perhaps newer and younger, members strive to achieve. I certainly don't hold them in high esteem. They let those dogs down, plain and simple. Perhaps if they aren't familiar with the settings in which the dogs are kept, they should not be sending that many dogs. After all, what is going to be the purpose of that many dogs? Volume breeding comes to mind first and foremost with me. Marilyn Tuesley-Chambers LIVED ON THE PREMISES for a period of time, yet she left those dogs there without uttering a word to anyone. She was well aware of what the conditions were. If those people who are dog show judges and hold high positions act in the same manner as those of our dreadful puppy mills in the U.S., what is the purpose of the breed clubs? Is it not the purpose of these clubs to protect and promote the breeds? In protecting them, shouldn't we be careful about where our dogs go? And yes, mistakes happen...we all get snowjobs...but it is how we REACT to those occurrences and what we take into our future dealings that defines our dedication to the breed. I and many others feel that these people in their lack of action to help those dogs they brought into the world themselves, when they desperately needed help have put themselves at the same level as those of the USDA licensed volume breeders. Their reaction was the same as would be that of these breeders held in such scorn here. Does it make it justified that these people actually do show? I think not. Perhaps their property should be subject to inspection, as all who register litters with the AKC are subject...or those who hold USDA licenses are subject...would they pass muster? Personally, I don't know. Yes, mistakes happen. What separates someone of moral character is how they respond to that. All that was ever asked of them was to help FIX THE PROBLEM. They chose to ignore it instead. Only when their positions in the club are threatened do they finally come forward to give "their side of the story". And that story holds a considerable amount of misinformation. The website that I have generated provides facts and facts alone...all a matter of public record. If only they had made an attempt to contact those who were rescuing those dogs, had made a contribution to their health care...SOMETHING...they wouldn't be held up to such scrutiny. But again...they held their comments, they held onto their money, and now they attempt to hold onto their positions in the clubs. Too little, too late, and all self-serving.