April 11, 2017

Grievances – Discipline

The USBCHA Standards of Conduct can be found in Part V of the USBCHA Rules 

Grievance Discipline Summaries and Warnings

The sanctions imposed by the USBCHA Board of Directors will be posted here for a period of time as determined by the Board. Grievances substantiated or otherwise, often result in “Cautions,” which will also be noted here:



SUSPENSION:  Paul Hackett is suspended from membership and participation in USBCHA sanctioned events for a period of one year (Dec. 18, 2018 to Dec. 17, 2019) for violation of Rule V.F.2 (f) and (m).

Warning:  Unsportsmanlike Conduct – verbal abuse of trial personnel (use of profanity); subsequent violation to result in suspension.


Warning: Unsportsmanlike Conduct – verbal abuse of trial personnel and handler


Suspension: verbal confrontation with a Judge

Warning: Unsportsmanlike Conduct — repeated use of profanity in front of spectators and other handlers.




A complaint was filed regarding postings on social media that were critical of a judge’s call in an open trial. While the post did not identify the judge or handler, the proximity of the post to the trial and the details made it easy to identify the judge. While the USBCHA has and will sanction members for comments on social media, it does so only in egregious circumstances. The USBCHA cannot be put in the position of reviewing social media posts that inferentially criticize a judge’s decision or a handlers run. In this case, the Board of Directors did find that the post evidence very poor judgment but did not rise to the level of unsportsmanlike conduct warranting formal discipline. The Board, however, encourage members to use their judgment when posting on social media and cautions against critical comments about judges and other members.

A complaint was filed against a judge alleging that the judge improperly criticized a handler just prior to the handlers’ open run, and did so in an angry and argumentative tone. The criticism was a result of questions raised at the handlers’ meeting. The Board of Directors did not find that the conduct in this particular situation merited discipline. Nonetheless, the Board concluded that the judge’s conduct was inappropriate and cautions judges that the rules prohibit a judge from intimidating or attempting to intimidate a handler. Judges are reminded that the rules require judges to “conduct themselves in a manner fitting and proper to one afforded the honor of officiating a USBCHA approved or sponsored trial.


The USBCHA Board cautions handlers to be aware of their conduct and treatment of their dogs at HA events.   The determination of when a correction in a working situation stops being appropriate and becomes “abusive” is certainly not clear and open to different interpretations. Public perception of unacceptably harsh handling will cause harm to both local trial efforts and the sport as a whole. We believe members should also be encouraged to police our own ranks. It is incumbent on all of us to insure animal abuse does not occur at our events. If improper treatment is observed, members should address it immediately, report it to trial management and if the issue is not resolved, proceed to filing a complaint.