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The winner of last year?s Shooting Times Trophy at Crufts has spoken of her disappointment that she will not be able to defend her title at this week?s event. Ruth Shepherdson, from Skipton, in North Yorkshire, won the prize for best working gundog with her English springer spaniel Micklethorn Jay.

However, the dog?s two-year-old offspring has been docked and therefore cannot appear at Crufts following the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, which banned the showing of dogs with legally docked tails at shows in England and Wales where members of the public pay an admission charge.

She said: ?I can see why the general public don?t like us chopping tails off dogs, but we do it for a reason. We don?t do it just because we feel like maiming something. A springer with a full tail will cause itself no end of pain.

?The BASC classes are brilliant, and it?s really wonderful that they give the gamekeepers, the beaters and the pickers-up the chance to compete at the biggest dog show in the world, but the docking ban is making a complete mockery of the whole thing.?

The rest of this article appears in the 7th March issue of Shooting Times.

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