The Oriole Dog Training Club held a 3 day agility trial at the Cow Palace in Timonium, MD this past weekend. They had two rings set up in a large room that was connected to the other part of the building which was hosting a Pet Expo.
The expo attracted large numbers of pet owners who brought their dogs and children.
The public was allowed to come into the front of the agility area but couldn't go any farther because of low fencing but they could stand or sit in small bleachers to watch the dogs run.
Unfortunately the spectators began using flash cameras during the runs which was prohibited according to numerous signs. But this is the public and you know how that goes. So on the last day of competition the flash cameras became an issue. There were a couple of club members going up and down telling people to stop with the flash cameras. And for that I applaud them. I even went up to one of the women and thanked her.
At one point in one of the rings the judge got fed up with the flash crap and walked to where I and another person were sitting and said to tell someone at the tables that it was a safety issue and to get it stopped.
I got up and went to the desk and relayed the judge's message. A woman went over to the bullhorn which they had been using repeatedly throughout the trials to ask for workers and other announcements and told the spectators to stop with the flash cameras.
I went back to my chair and continued to watch the runs. It was a few minutes later and the flashing started again. I went back to the table and told the woman it had started again. At this point if went downhill for me.
The woman became irate and started to take me to task for this. After she was done I told her I was merely relaying the judge's order (not request) and that she felt it was a safety issue. The woman, still in her rude rant mode, said "we've never had an injury because of the flashing and it's not a problem".
My final response to her was I did what the judge wanted so don't kill the messenger. I walked back to my chair.
A little while later I noticed another AKC agility judge (Sandy Moody) who was at the trial competing got up from her seat at the ring scribe table and marched over to a woman who was rapid flashing and told her to stop. Reading the body language I think Sandy didn't make it a request......
There were many of the handlers/owners complaining about the flashes when their dogs were running. In one ring the A-frame was an issue because when the dog got to the top it faced the spectators and that's when the flashing would fire up. The dog was looking right into the flashes.
In the other ring there was a series of jumps into a U tunnel in the corner and when the dog was coming over the jump and heading for the tunnel the flashes would suddenly start.
I applaud the AKC judges who put the dogs' safety ahead of everything else......as it should be. Kudos to Mary Mullen and Sandy Moody.
To the rude woman who deemed it not a safety problem and not worth her time I say you have no business being in the agility world.