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Getting the Drop on the Draw
Posted on 06/05/2013 in Full Circle.

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For years it went largely unnoticed, or was universally accepted, that club officials and Masters of Hounds were within their rights to see that questionable characters in any particular area got a “strong” Judge by seeing that the shady character was “put” on a particular Judge’s card, or vice versa. Because it was being done with the honest intention of seeing that the hunt was actually more honest and enjoyable, everyone kind of turned their head to the situation. It was wrong, but it was accepted. One of those classic examples of “just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Along the way, it was felt by a certain rules committee that clubs and Masters of Hounds needed some sort of authority to be able to place a non-hunting Judge on any given cast. In essence, to be able to do almost the same thing they had been doing but completely within the rules. No longer would it be necessary to mess with the draw now that they had the authority to place non-hunting Judges where they needed them. This was specifically designed to handle problem individuals.

Rule 15 states that owners having multiple entries will have them drawn to separate casts, if at all possible. The significance of this rule is that it requires entry-takers to denote, in some fashion, entry slips of individuals who have more than one dog in the same category. There are several ways to do this, but only one - that I know of - that complies with the required impartial drawing of dogs.

The real issue at hand is marked entry slips and the opportunity for individuals to rig a draw for one reason or another. On one hand, you have two buddies who want to hunt together to put the odds in their favor. On the other hand, you have two friends who drive a long way to a hunt together and don’t want to draw out with each other. Or maybe you have a father-and-son team who have their own dogs in their own name and would rather not hunt against each other. All of the above are very real situations and fall under the same restriction, that being; they cannot intentionally be drawn together or separate. Read that last sentence again. It works both ways!

In conducting a draw, make sure all the slips are face down and that none of them have x’s or anything else on the back of the entry slip. Do not mark your multiple entries with an x on the back of the entry slip. The reason for this is two-fold. First, it looks bad and lends suspicion to your draw. Second, it is still easy to see that one of the two x’s gets on the “right” scorecard. Make sure that you announce the fact that the draw is taking place and that anyone who wishes to do so may witness the draw. In the event that you have multiple entries in a category from the same owner/co-owner, the best way to make sure they don’t draw together is to highlight the front of the sticky (entry form). After you conduct a random drawing from all entries lying face down and unmarked on the back, then flip them over and check to see if any of your multiple entries were drawn to the same cast. If they were drawn to the same cast, randomly swap an entry from another cast.

The problem is, you can’t let some (the ones with honest intent) ignore the draw rules without providing others (those with less than honest intent) the opportunity of doing the same thing. We have the rules in place to deal with problem individuals. Let’s use the rules within the system and not take matters into our own hands, even if it does seem like the right thing to do.

Club Membership Enforcement
Question: Can a club enforce membership dues? I know other organizations require that you be a member in order to enter your dog and run in their trial. Can we do this with our UKC events? What about the club membership base, can we enforce that these people pay their dues before they can participate in our events? Most of them do not care about being able to vote. As you can see we are having a problem getting people to pay, so any suggestions you may have would really be appreciated.
Thank you, Brenda

Answer: Very good questions, Brenda. I have a suggestion, but it’s probably not what you want to hear. First of all, your club can absolutely be strict about requiring dues from members. However, you can’t limit your UKC Licensed events to members-only. And even though clubs have the right to refuse entry to any owner or handler, it’s my opinion that to do so on the basis that they had not paid club dues might be a misuse of that authority.

All UKC Licensed hunts are open to all UKC registered dog owners. One thing that you could do is to provide some incentive for good, hardworking, paid up club members. What I might try if I was you is offering a significant discount to paid members for your club’s licensed events. For instance, you can list your entry fee in the Upcoming Events list as $20 and post a sign in your club that says club members in good standing hunt for $10. For those clubs hosting five or so hunts per year, that is a significant savings for members in good standing. Just an idea.

Misconduct Guidelines
It’s surprising to learn just how few people really are aware of how to handle the situation where you have a person on a cast who is threatening and intimidating others. What about the situation where you discover that a scorecard was falsified?

There is a specific procedure for dealing with problems of this nature, and if you are going to be involved in the competitive side of this sport, whether it be as a Master of Hounds, Bench Show Judge, club officer, or cast participant, you need to know the procedure for taking the steps necessary to make this game a better place to be.

“Formal Complaint” is a term widely known yet often misused. A formal complaint is a specific form that is included in every hunt packet that must be made available to any owner or handler of a dog entered in the event for the purpose of protesting the decision of a Master of Hounds regarding the Hunting Beagle Honor Rules. That’s it!

Formal complaint forms are not to be used for situations involving falsified scorecards or threatening/intimidating behavior. Nor are formal complaints to be used in conjunction with bench shows. Formal complaints are for Hunt rule interpretation problems, only and must be filed within 30 minutes of the deadline for returning scorecards. Otherwise, the complaint may not considered by the UKC.

The “Misconduct Form and Hearing Report” is a separate form, which accounts for why many people are not familiar with it. Let me say this, if you haven’t been on the receiving end of one, it’s a good thing! This is the form used to report problems of a more serious nature to the club or to United Kennel Club.

Before we touch on a couple of the more important aspects of it, please keep in mind that the rules for filing a Misconduct Form and the procedures for holding Misconduct Hearings can be found in their entirety beginning on page 20 of the Rulebook under the heading “Misconduct & Discipline.” If I can’t interest you in reading through it now, at least remember where to find this specific information for as long as you remain active in this sport, there is a very real chance that you will someday find yourself needing to reference this information.

A Misconduct Form and Hearing Report is also included in every hunt packet right along with the Formal Complaint Form. The misconduct rules state that any person who becomes aware of event-related misconduct during the hours of a UKC licensed event must notify a UKC official or club officer. Basically, a UKC official or club officer will see that the complainant receives a Report Form and any assistance necessary to complete it. The completed form is then sent to UKC. The club should not begin any hearing procedures until they have heard back in writing from UKC that it will be necessary to hold a hearing. When the misconduct is discovered after the hours of the event, the person who wishes to file a misconduct report can either contact UKC or their local club to obtain a form.

Once received at the office, UKC will do an investigation to determine whether the evidence surrounding the reported misconduct does indeed warrant a hearing. In the event that it does, the club will receive a letter instructing them to hold a hearing in accordance with the procedure for doing so outlined in the rulebook.

One thing to remember here - not many of us associated with these types of meetings are schooled or experienced in the art of conducting formal, court-room-like hearings. The obligation is to try to conduct a fair and impartial hearing in an effort to review the evidence and make a recommendation to UKC as to how to handle the alleged misconduct.

A discussion regarding the procedures for filing a misconduct report would not be complete without some theorizing on the responsibility that goes along with it. This procedure is each and every participant’s guarantee that the world of competition can be an even better place than it already is. Can you imagine that if everyone who went into a tirade on a cast was slammed with three years’ probation and a $100 fine, how quick we could put an end to the majority of this unsportsmanlike nonsense? It wouldn’t be long before some of the hunters who simply don’t want to risk the chance that they’ll draw one of these individuals would come on back out to your club’s events. But keep in mind it needs to be an offense serious enough to warrant a hearing. Threats are serious enough. Issues like cussing someone and general unsportsmanlike behavior are best handled at the club level by a refusal of entries at a set number of future events at that club.

This explanation was not written with the intent of encouraging a rush of Misconduct Reports. But, darn it, if someone is causing problems, do your part to stand up to it. I don’t mean to imply that these situations happen all the time, they don’t. But when they do, it’s very frustrating to learn that individuals either: a) didn’t want to get involved; or b) didn’t know how to get involved. After 9/11, did you feel a renewed allegiance to your country? What’s going to have to happen before you feel a renewed allegiance to your sport?