|"Hey, slow down, Bub. We just met."|
DALLAS (AP) -- A new rallying cry has shaken the dog show circuit to its core, as canine participants are rebelling against entrenched judging practices. That rallying cry? "Don't touch my junk!"
Canines in at least a dozen shows over the last three weeks have barked their disapproval over what they viewed as invasive pat-downs by judges. Many of the dogs filmed their tirades and posted them on YouTube, and sympathetic bloggers have taken up their cause.
The movement began in late November, when a bulldog named Max at a Chicago-area dog show growled at his handler and a judge and barked, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested!" The bulldog captured the incident on his mobile phone, and the video has gone viral.
Dog show organizers say the pat-downs are necessary to adequately judge contestants and ensure they are of good breeding stock. And some handlers say they need to get hands-on to put their dogs in the best position to win. But the American Civil Liberties Union has called the inspections "an assault on our dogs' Fourth Amendment rights, or at the very least, an assault on good taste."
One organizer of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that a controversial canine imam has been stoking the flames.
"Ayatollah Mugsy, this radical pug based in the U.S., is directly responsible for the outrage," the source said. "He's directing all this anger from behind the scenes. His sermons are extremely influential in the canine community."
Officials with the ayatollah's Pug Life Ministries declined interview requests, but they issued a prepared statement asserting canines' right to the "sanctity of our junk."