Crufts is renowned as one of the world’s largest dog shows, so when a canine attending the prestigious Kennel Club event picks up a Good Citizen award for the most obedient and well-trained dog, you’d probably think,”Here’s a hound you can trust.”
Yet, you’d be wrong. Or you would be in the case of last year’s Crufts Good Citizen champion Eddie.
The brown and snow-white Akita whose ‘nice-guy Eddie’ act won the hearts of the Crufts’ judging panel, disgraced the title a mere hours after winning it.
The Daily Mail reported that as the Crufts Good Citizen was celebrating his triumph and enjoying a photo-call with his proud owner when he unexpectedly lunged at a nearby woman, savagely sinking his teeth into her knee and hand.
Eddie’s victim was a former accountant called Louise Nelson, but such was the ferocity of the Good Citizen’s psychotic attack that she was left needing surgery on her knee and has permanent nerve damage to her hand.
The Good Citizen’s owner, 52-year-old Lorain Ronis was found guilty of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place by a district judge at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how dog trainer and dog walker Mrs Ronis was posing with her five-year-old Crufts champ for a picture to celebrate his triumph, when the Good Citizen turned on a nearby Akita called Banks and sprang into attack like a rattlesnake.
After being restrained by his owner, the good Citizen lunged for a second time, clamping the kneecap of Miss Nelson in his crazed jaws.
Miss Nelson, an experienced dog owner who has been attending shows like Crufts for 13 years, revealed to the court how frightened she was that her kneecap would be ripped off by the Good Citizen during the six second attack.
The 33-year-old explained: “I tried to get out of the way but it (the ‘Good Citizen’) grabbed hold of my knee and was shaking my kneecap.”
Miss Nelson, who was fired from her previous post as an accountant for stealing £10,000 from her employer, said as she attempted to free herself, she also received a bite to the hand.
Mrs Ronis claims that Miss Nelson had told her at the time: “Dogs will be dogs, don’t worry about it.”
Mrs Ronis denies that the Good Citizen was aggressive and insisted the other Akita attacked first. The disgraced Crufts champ’s owner claims witnesses exaggerated the attack because they were fierce rivals on the dog circuit and wanted her out of the way.
It transpires that the Good Citizen will live to bark another day after the judge in the case convicted Mrs Ronis of the offense, but made no order to have Eddie destroyed.
Perhaps the lesson to be learnt here is that no-one, not even Crufts Good Citizens, is immune to celebrity culture and the very tangible dangers of letting fame go to your head.