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Media highlight Irish setter as a sick animal

The image of the Irish setter got another big blow in Dutch media this week because a breeder was fined to pay 6000 euro for selling and subsequently denying primary epilepsy in a dog. Nearly all media, from national television to dailies and social media focused on this. Last year it was only television, now the impact is way broader. What do you think, is there a way to get out of this misery? And how?


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Anne, I didn't start this topic. Your dad mentioned names in this topic, not me. About that TV show you are referring to, I am sure that was the one I was in, well yes, I was glad that I could make my point. What I want to achieve are healthy setters. What is your goal?

(I wanted to add this comment to the bottom of the discussion but it appeared elsewhere, that is why I am adding it as a reply to Anne's post. No offence meant.)


I am sorry but I feel the discussion is getting out of hand.


To calm the troubled waters a little why don't we all think back to the past, when it was thanks to Mr Rasbridge's efforts (together with other dedicated breeders) that what was then termed 'night blindness' (now known as PRA-rcd1) was eradicated from the breed. This was one of the first efforts taken to eradicate a disease that endangered the health of a purebred dog breed. Since that time Irish Setter breeders were long considered pro-activ and very health aware.

Why can't we do the same again? Admit we have health problems in our breed and rather than slander those who bring the bad news we should be proving to the public that we are not going into denial; rather are we taking the problems seriously. In my opinion that is the only way forward. In 10 years' time maybe people will be saying: Wow, the Irish Setter people really are working together successfully for the health of their breed.

My impression is that the dutch breed club is doing just that, by using breeding methods suggested by the geneticists and with a health database. Correct me if I am wrong, as it is never easy for me to fully understand the dutch text.

Thanks Susan and many other contributors for sticking to the topic and for your calm & collected contributions. For those who can't until now: think twice before posting and stick to the ball instead of persons. Now that the future of the Irish setter is at stake and setterfans in one country see the total destruction of a public image, the worst ever in breeds history, we need fresh ideas to get out of this misery. The first in this public topic is to show the public: YES, WE CAN! 

Good ideas, Frances! There were a few communicated with ISCNs committee: try to get in a pilotproject + prepare & provide adequate answers for media, because last is missing totally!

The way to go, Anne! This is informative.

Thank you for publishing this Astrid. It is always helpful to see the facts of a matter and not just rely on emotional statements. I found the panic attack comments a very interesting approach for dealing with a owner of a dog that is going through such a horrible disease and is trying their best to help it.

I totally agree with you Rhonda.....it is always helpful to see the facts of a matter but I'm afraid some breeders (not all by any means) will continue to wear their rose tinted glasses and deny that any problems exist in their lines.

I have read it through again Torie and personally this has to be more than rose tinted glasses. How could any 'experienced' dog person allow a dog to go through so much suffering to satisfy their ego and  Kennel reputation. It  is bad enough to watch a animal suffer when you are trying to work out what is the cause but to delay and interfere with possible effective treatment is just beyond me.

It's beyond most of us Rhonda.....sadly, there will always be some people who put their ego and reputation before all else.  To some, their dogs are a way of making plenty of money, stud fees, puppies etc..not forgetting the accolade they receive from others. (I expect to be told shortly that there is no money to be made from breeding or hiring out the latest show champions for stud fees and that all breeders want is to produce healthy stock from their own line bred/inbred animals).

Goodness Anne, you are cross.  Astrid only posted fact of court outcome, no personal comment.  The fact is a puppy who developed epilepsy (very sadly) was bred by a reputable breeder and sold to an innocent party.  The breeder should have accepted the fact and supported the purchaser and if he wanted privacy on this matter he should have behaved honourably.  His statement that the puppy was over excited was ridiculous when he must have known that there was a high likelihood that it was epilepsy.  Sam may well have been the first ever puppy he bred with this condition and he was genuinely shocked but to deny and behave thus was unfortunate for all concerned.  The saying each action has a reaction and this is exactly what has happened.   The amount of money claimed by the purchaser for the distress and anguish is worthless, that's not what they wanted, they wanted a healthy handsome irish setter and had gone to a reputable, long established breeder to obtain such.

The other position is that the breeder must have made a lot of money from the setter puppies he has sold in the past and to not reimburnse the purchaser the measly sum claimed indicates to me that he is not a very generous soul.   He should have supported the purchaser to the sad end, it was the least he should have done.

Try and understand the pet purchaser who wants a healthy animal and you will understand why it is so important to publicly address these health issues.

Please consider your comments before you lash out.

Anne, firstly your english is so much better than my non existent dutch so appreciate that one could misunderstand your comments so please accept my apologies if I misunderstand you.

I think it is good that this case is on the world wide web.  Are you saying that the breeder is not on the internet and therefore he cannot see IS lovers' comments about his dishonourable behaviour? and therefore cannot defend himself - is that really what you are saying?

If you are saying that Sam's owner had bought 2 other setters previously from this breeder without problems and therefore trusted him when they wanted another puppy, then he should be even more ashamed of himself.   It is a great honour if people go back to the same breeder when they want another puppy, the breeder should feel very humble.

Are you saying that Sam's owner who went back twice were at fault because they were worried that their puppy was unwell and sought reassurance from the breeder?

If money wasn't the issue, why didn't the breeder go out of his way to help them and not push them into the position they found themselves in, he should have supported them in every way he could, not deny them.   I think any reasonable person would feel sorry for the breeder that he produced a sick puppy, but equally so any reasonable person would be angry that he behaved in such a way.   Nobody is damaging his reputation - HE DID THAT HIMSELF BY BEHAVING SO BADLY.  The responsibility is his alone. 

You are correct, nobody can guarantee health with a living creature but one can be as supportive and helpful as possible.

And are you saying that people are deriving pleasure from this breeder's downfall?  No they aren't, we as lovers of all dogs are heart broken that people in a trusted position behave so badly.

And, finally, Anne in your picture you are holding a gorgeous puppy, just imagine how sickened you would feel if the puppy developed epilepsy, you would be destroyed, just as Sam's people are.  I don't think the breeder deserves your sympathy, if I understand your words correctly.

Hi Suzanne, I would be very proud if I'd bred such a lovely handsome dog and he is clearly much loved by Anne.  I also believe that the breeder of Sam has done his best to breed healthy IS but it is his denial that is so distressing.  I agree that no one can guarantee health of offspring but I also believe that people like yourself would do their utmost to help a purchaser if this sort of thing developed.   The breeder of your puppy's statement is why we are discussing health issues today.  Terrible for the puppy and terrible for you to see and feel so helpless.

Henk is closing the topic shortly but I think he has been very brave and true to himself and others that he has brought the topic of "sick puppies" to the forum.

Have a happy year showing and good luck with your lovely setters. 




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