In her own words…..
No introduction is necessary….
My Dear Friends (and those I have lost over the years)
As you know I have long been an avid supporter of Rutland Manor Labradoodles in Australia and its breeder owner, Beverley Manners. My beautiful Yarra and Yindi have made the trip across the pond to me and I am grateful to have them. Yindi though is currently in boot camp for some behaviour issues, and will be followed for potential cardiac problems and other possible genetic issues by my veterinarians. I have come to learn that Knossos has thrown puppies with cardiac issues in the past. Knossos is Yindi’s father.
In a way it is the two of them, Yarra and Yindi who brought me to this point in my life where I can tell you I was wrong. Wrong, blindsided, bamboozled and as my Australian friends from my trips there would say “gobsmacked”!
Since late August 2009 until now, with two trips behind me and a new puppy, I can tell you without reservation, that I have seen the worst of the worst on sites such as Prisoners for Profit, Farms of Shame and this website. I admit without embarrassment that I looked at Rutland Manor and Beverley through rose colored glasses and was in total denial for a long time because I truly was a believer. If it is possible to be hypnotised without knowing it, when in her presence, in retrospect I wonder if that is what happened. But, I and only I am responsible for believing.
I know of people in Australia who are under constant threat to their property and their lives. Two of them had their homes broken into a couple of weeks ago. Some have been robbed, beaten and threatened. Former employees live in fear if they speak out publicly. Last Saturday, an 8 week old puppy was stolen from a well known and respected breeder in Australia under mysterious circumstances. This has all caused me untold grief and anger and I have simply withdrawn for the most part.
To the fabulous breeders in AU, UK, and the USA who have done significant testing on their studs and bitches from Rutland Manor, to sell healthy and happy pups, I salute you. To others who have not used these dogs but used others for whom accurate health and temperament testing, I salute you. To owners all over the world who have happy, confident, loving and healthy labradoodles from the RM lines, I salute you.
The purpose of my trip last fall to RM was that I was going to help what I thought was an elderly woman, in danger and the victim of attacks from the EPA, RSPCA and activists. During that stay, I was there with another lady from Texas who I had never met and she went for the same reason. We planned to get to the bottom of of all the accusations. When we arrived, we were immediately bombarded with emails, paperwork, reports on attacks and vicious lies and were glued to our computers and helped create a website to offset the lies, as we thought they were, at that time. We had almost no sleep, no nutrition unless we went to a fast food place. While we found the kennels to be very old and were not happy about that, our main job was writing and answering accusations. We had little to no interaction with the dogs. In retrospect, Beverley never visited or interacted with her dogs at all. She had a very small staff of two people who looked after them. We did interact with the three bitches and their total of 22 puppies on a daily basis. We cleaned the puppy nurseries and sorted everyone out in the evening and cuddled each and every puppy many, many times each night. I know now, that one of Yindi’s issues is fear based and that she had no human, early stimulation during her imprint weeks, from birth until about 6 weeks old.
We were told by Beverley that the RSPCA was going to raid RM and seize all her dogs and that she would never get them back and we feared that. She therefore arranged for a few people to come and take all the dogs from the property with the exception of the three bitches and their 3 week old puppies. Beverley had us convinced that someone would come and either steal or kill the puppies. So on a rainy night, the three of us moved whelping boxes, Mums and puppies into the house. We sat up in the lounge room dozing on and off and listening for expected intruders. I now believe that we were both Stockholmed. There was danger in that there was property damage, things moved around in the night and problems with a neighbour who ran us successfully off the road and into a ditch twice and another time, drove straight at me and I truly believe he would hit me and I dove to the ground for safety. Toward the end of our visit, we were so fearful, tired and overwhelmed, I called upon a friend in Sydney who advised me to call the US Consulate General. I did so and it was arranged with the local police that they would escort us safely off the Rutland Manor property.
I was ready to leave…I was traumatised and in disbelief of what was happening to me and my friend as we had bonded and stay close to this day. Our families back in the US were terrified for our safety. We still wonder how this happened and cant believe sometimes that it did happen. We returned shaken and questioning who and what was right at RM?
Unbelievably I returned two months later. Yindi had been born and I was eager to see her as a little pup and was told I would be mentored in “Early Cognitive Conditioning” so that I could teach it when I returned to the US. Since my first visit, being safely at home, I began to study the so called ‘hate’ sites, read archives and decided my other purpose was to investigate and interact with the dogs. It was that trip, made by myself, with my camera, with my questions in place, and alone that I literally saw the wickedness and untruthfulness of what was occurring there. I unclothed my mind and my feelings and looked independently for the first time at something I had been defending wholeheartedly , and in doing so had brought others to either “my” side, or against “me”.
The breeding dogs were all back at RM… and yes, the situation there was both ungodly and unsafe. I did not consider the dogs to be protected, loved, interacted with, cared for…in almost any way. Nor was there any”early stimulation” training offered or given. Puppies practically raising them selves, dogs fending for themselves, dirty kennels, roofless pens. I could barely stand to be there, but I recognised that it was, possibly, the most important visit at the most critical time in my life and RM’s in which I should of been there. Aside from the visual conditions, what is imprinted in my mind forever is the stench of the dogs I shaved to the skin, bringing off sheets of matted, urine and faeces soaked coats. I found that most of the dogs had grass seeds burrowed into their toes, bodies and in some cases the genitals of female dogs. I shaved male dogs with testicles matted to their legs. I did confront Beverley with my disbelief in these atrocities and she was quick to blame her staff, the lady who had many of the dogs when they were previously removed from the property. These dogs were not neglected for a couple of weeks but rather, they were not attended to for months. At one point, I insisted the vet be called to the property and her face showed the shock she felt seeing the dogs. One dog had to go to the clinic to be anaesthetised to remove the grass seed stickers from her inner ears and vulva. There was a new girl there training and the work we encountered was so overwhelming, she called her Mum to help. Many times the three of us hugged as we cried over the condition of the dogs. We three worked sunup to sundown cleaning ears, pulling stickers out of paws and skin, treating wounds and cleaning up the kennel grooming area, finding medications that were as old as 7 years! As tirelessly as we worked, we were only able to shave down about half a dozen dogs during the time I was there.
Yindi was too young to bring home or I would have put her in my pocketbook with my camera and rowed all the way across the pond.
At the time of the first visit Beverley talked about the arrangement she made with this lady and her husband to get the dogs to the United States as well as herself. She told me that with everything going against her, she was ashamed to be an Australian and considered immigrating to the US. These people were planning not only to sponsor her, but also build a ‘granny flat’ and see that she was cared for the rest of her life. That she should write a book, give grooming clinics all over the US and build “Rutland’s Legacy” to carry on her work. Little did we know that “Rutland’s Legacy” would never happen and these people were simply a bookmark to hold the dogs as there was a Supreme Court case in Australia to seize the dogs. What did we know, how did we know we were being duped? However, for the love of a dog we worked earnestly with Beverley to get her and the dogs moved to safety from the authorities in Australia who were, so to speak, making her life hell. Oh what little we both knew then!
During my stay at RM the second time, I had opportunities to encourage Beverley to take the offer of starting life over, a life of retirement, writing a book, playing with her dogs, living with the family who had offered space and time. The legacy would be very small, but the dogs would be safe. And, with advancing age, Beverley would herself (in a public letter) proclaim she would be able to quietly live the end of her years at least writing about her life with dogs. Talk and planning for that did not cease, and ultimately many of the dogs were shipped to Texas and are living a life we could only dream. In April, Beverley arrived in the US, visited here, stayed with me then headed for Texas where she was treated like royalty for 2 months. She was there supposedly to mentor these people and she did none of that. Ever! She spent every waking minute on her laptop or on her phone. She could stay up for days at a time and then sleep for a whole day. All in all, it was very bizarre.
Some of you will remember me heading for Texas with a friend, our four RM labradoodles to help with grooming, socialisation, whelping, allthat was required when these dogs arrived and litters born there. The dogs I was not able to shave in Australia arrived in America in the despicable condition that I had documented. The vet in Texas was shocked at the underweight, parasite and worm infested dogs who had no clue as to what human interaction was. While I was there for two weeks, there was also a pulling inward of Beverley from both the family and others who were there to help. There were times when she had no idea who Kelby was or who Pride was. By the time I arrived, I did not recognise the dogs I had left in Australia in early January. They were plumped up, well groomed and totally intergrated into their family. There were often as many as 17 Labradoodles sprawled around their home and they often said *they* were living in the dog’s kennel.
The situation basically fell apart on June 20th, to the point that Beverley asked to be driven to a hotel near the DFW airport as she planned to go back to California from where she would depart for Australia. She emailed me of her decision to leave of her own volition. Later, she publicly posted that the family had thrown her out, into a hotel in the middle of nowhere, a sick, old woman. The dogs remain safe, loved, cared for, and it is hoped will live out their lives there or in companion homes as is needed. Altogether there are over 22 Rutland Manor dogs in Texas. Unfortunately, the final group never got to the US and to this day we are all sick and saddened that they are still living in horrible circumstances and probably being bred over and over. There are new litters on the ground at this moment. You wont find that on Beverley’s website. For some reason, she is hiding that and there are no photos or information on her breeding dogs. I have seen orders from the authorities that she was breaking the law by overbreeding and by choosing to debark many of the dogs.
As I look at the photographs I took at RM, spoke to close friends and family about what had occurred, brought my Yindi into my life and then came face to face with her issues…I recognised that I had pulled the wool over my eyes, put my own head in the sand.
Below I have placed some of my own photographs of my second trip to RM. I have to believe that you will understand how difficult it was for me to turn my entire way of life regarding RM around and see things as they really were/are.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a “Dear John” letter to Beverley ending for once and forever my relationship with her and my support of her unethical breeding and care of the Labradoodles. This has been at the cots of both my health and my psyche. But now an important time to tell you that I apologise for my obsession …for my words of support…for the sadness this has and will bring to many. I know my reputation for caring about the Labradoodles will prevail and those who truly know what is in my heart.
Some would say..”What the eye sees the heart remembers”. I am in deep grief and intolerable sadness. I continue to vocally support the breeders of RM dogs and other lines here in America and other countries who have done so many diagnostic testings never done at RM.
I support the owners of wonderful happy and healthy RM Labradoodles and those, like me now, who own one who may have health or temperament….but who is my responsibility for life and a resonsibility I do not take lightly.
I was blinded by the love of my Yarra, what I thought had been suitable and complete research at the time, and the love and fun of bringing my girl to my home and heart. This is true of Yindi also. She is now mine to love and care for whatever is ahead. I amy not be able to respond to specific questions, there may be a time when I cannot respond whatsoever. That is the way the law works I am learning. Thankyou for understanding. All for the love of the Labradoodles
Kate Yarra & Yindi