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Latest News in the appeal against the decision of the Registrar: Animal Improvement to appoint KUSA as the Breed Society and Registration Authority for German Shepherd Dogs

Letter from the Director General DAFF

The KUSA SagaSad dog

Exposing the Truth

A communication from the GSDF President
Frikkie van Kraayenburg

24 February 2017

The vast majority of both GSDF and KUSA members just want the two organisations to cooperate in a friendly and productive manner to the benefit of all dog-sport.

This would enable the ordinary members of both organisations to just get on and enjoy their sport and hobby.

As we are also acutely aware of how legal actions can be destructive to relationships, the Executive and I have made every effort to refrain from over-reacting publicly to the many provocative, insulting publications, false and dis-information spread by the few disgruntled ex-Federation, and now KUSA, members who conduct a malicious vendetta against the Federation and who have been supported by the KUSA leadership, inter alia through their inaction and silence.

At one stage, when this conduct got particularly out of hand, I wrote to the KUSA Chairman, Mr Chris Griffiths, who is spearheading the attempt to terminate the Cooperative and Recognition Agreement between KUSA and the Federation. I requested him to control his members, particularly Mr John Rautenbach, Ms Sandra Brunner and their apparent mentor, Mr Case van Hattem. I cited the need that the two organisations would still have to work together after the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings. He wrote back stating that he was unable to do anything as these KUSA members were acting in their personal capacities and had no official standing with KUSA. This was untrue as Rautenbach is the Chairman of the so called KUSA GSD Liaison Council, Brunner is it's secretary and van Hattem was in charge of the IPO in KUSA at the time.

Unfortunately, ever since the Arbitration proceedings have been postponed sine die by agreement to give the GSDF time to respond to KUSA’s latest ground of defence, namely their registration in terms of the provisions of the Animal Improvement Act, 62 of 1998 (“the Act”) on 25 August 2016, the misinformation campaign has become intolerable.

For the record, the defence now raised is that KUSA has been appointed and registered as:

    1. The sole Breeders’ Society for 218 breeds of dogs; and
    2. the sole Registering Authority for 218 breeds of dogs,

which supposedly includes the German Shepherd Dog.

Accordingly, we have decided to expose the KUSA leadership’s mala fides and their blatant dishonesty that has become evident from the inception of their attempts to terminate the Cooperative and Recognition Agreement.

Since it is not my wish to prolong this memorandum, I will include electronic links where the reader can download and peruse documents that illustrate the point.

These are the facts in a nutshell:

As matters proceeded, it became increasing clear that the KUSA leadership were not honest in their initial reasons for trying to cancel the agreement and were acting mala fide, their intention clearly being to cancel the agreement at all costs. The KUSA leadership also kept their members in the dark by relying on a misinterpretation of the principle of the matter being “sub judice”.

Even not knowing the full facts, it is clear that the broader KUSA membership do not support this action by the KUSA leadership.

Despite the KUSA leadership desperately attempting to win the support of the FCI by repeatedly trying to persuade them to agree with the KUSA stance that they (the FCI) would not support KUSA in maintaining an agreement of recognition with the GSDF, the FCI has now made it abundantly clear that the issue lies with KUSA. This will, of course, depend on the outcome of the Arbitration proceedings.

We first became aware that KUSA intended to use their recent registration as a Breeders' Society and Registering Authority in terms of the Act as a new defence when we received a ridiculous “Settlement Offer" just before the Arbitration proceedings were to resume. More than anything, this demonstrates the KUSA management's mala fide intent to usurp the Federation.

Having previously dealt with this Act, I knew that KUSA does not qualify as a Registering Authority and that their registration could not possibly be bona fide and above board. We accordingly requested a postponement, which was initially refused by KUSA and only conceded and granted when KUSA realised that we would in all probability succeed if we argued same at the hearing of the matter in Cape Town.

It was agreed that we would pay the wasted costs occasioned by the postponement because the amount involved would not be excessive and it would not be necessary for our Senior Counsel, Adv HB Marais SC, Spencer Tarr and me to unnecessarily fly to Cape Town just to argue the postponement before the Arbitrator, Retired Judge Robin Marais. If we had to go down to Cape Town to argue for a postponement, costs for the one day would probably have exceeded R100,000.00.

We subsequently investigated the matter of KUSA’s registration in terms of the Animal Improvement Act and have uncovered a massive can of worms.

Legally, the first procedure to set aside the appointment of KUSA as a Breeders’ Society and as a Registering Authority is to launch an Appeal in terms of Section 23 of the Act against the decision of the Registrar, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (“DAFF”) who appointed KUSA as described above. Only if this did not succeed, would we be able to approach the courts.

Our full Appeal sets out in detail the total failure on the part of the Registrar to comply with even the basic provisions of the Act.

Any reasonable reader of these documents will soon appreciate that KUSA has no realistic chance of remaining registered as a Registering Authority in terms of the Act.

The KUSA leadership obviously did not seriously consider the consequences of their actions in applying for, and being granted, control of 218 breeds in terms of an Act; which was actually designed and promulgated for agricultural animals and not dogs.

If their registration as a Registering Authority is set aside, which it undoubtedly will be, KUSA will not be allowed to register ANY of the 218 breeds that have been recognised and published by the Minister in the Government Gazette as “Locally adapted and regularly introduced breeds”. These breeds include almost all the dogs they are currently registering.

For compelling reasons set out in the Appeal, the German Shepherd Dog remains outside the provisions of the Act for now. I believe that KUSA now faces serious problems that could well become insurmountable. However, since the KUSA management has forced this upon the dog-world, the Federation now has no choice other than to protect its interests and pursue its own application to be ┬áregistered as a Breeders’ Society and then as a Registering Authority in terms of the Act.

The end result will be that KUSA or any other Registering Authority will not be allowed to register German Shepherd Dogs in South Africa at all.

I wish to make it clear that the GSDF does not want to see KUSA destroyed or harmed. Our only intention is that the Federation continues to operate independently under the auspices of the SV and the WUSV, and not be dictated to by a small group of power-hungry all-breed people that do not understand German Shepherd Dog affairs.

We believe that every breed should decide its own destiny. If that is continuing under KUSA, that is that breed's choice and we wholly respect that.

Unfortunately the KUSA management does not share this sentiment.

Matters as they stand could have been so different had the Kennel Union hierarchy taken up our invitation to negotiate a settlement at the outset rather than hide behind the sub judice rule. Instead, many thousands of rands and hundreds of man hours have been spent on all this nonsense. All this should instead have been spent on promoting our organisations, our dogs and our sport.

History will show that Mr Griffiths & Co have much to answer for ......