Tall puppy syndrome grounds top dog

July 17, 2008

Australia’s wonder dog Riley  has won the past three Casterton Kelpie Musters’ high jump but the spring-heeled kelpie has been banned from this year’s event.

The festival committee has ruled Riley is too much of a good thing and has slapped a ban on his high jump exploits. Riley’s owner Clare O’Callaghan said the ban was incredibly un-Australian.

“They are persecuting Riley, penalising him for something he loves and does well,” she said.

“It’s tall poppy syndrome.”

Shouldn’t that be tall puppy?

The rule was introduced after O’Callaghan and Riley made it a hat trick in the high jump at this year’s Muster, which was held last month. Riley finished first equal after two successive outright wins.

Association president Rod James said any dog that won the same event three times would not be eligible to compete again in that event and Riley would instead be recognised in a Kelpie Hall of Fame.

“It just spoils the competition if it’s dominated by the same dog,” James said.

O’Callaghan said the hall of fame was “just a sweetener for their unfair decision”.

At last month’s muster Riley tied with Geoff Burling’s dog Rosie by jumping 2.625metres, well short of Riley’s record 2.91 metres.

Melbourne kelpie enthusiast Robyn Grant said the event’s highlight was Riley’s performance and the ban was “totally unfair”.

Murray Davis, whose dog placed third against Riley in the event, said he enjoyed competing against the top dog.

“If Riley is good enough to win, he should be able to win as many times as he likes,” Davis said.

Sounds like the organisers are barking up the PC tree.


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