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Dog show organisers have been branded ‘selfish’ and ‘stupid’ for going ahead with their event this weekend despite warnings over the extreme heat that is baking Britain.

The Bournemouth Championship Dog Show faced a backlash from members of the public on social media for continuing with the competition despite temperatures hitting the mid-30s and other shows in the Dorset area cancelling their dog elements.

The Met Office issued an amber warning for this weekend, but the Bournemouth Canine Association decided to proceed with their annual event, insisting that they had a ‘lovely cooling breeze and plenty of shaded areas’ as well as providing cool water baths for dogs to paddle in.

Two other local shows planned for this weekend were scrapped and animal welfare charity the RSPCA urged organisers to consider rearranging or cancelling.

Concerned people took to social media to comment, with Sheena Ogilvy saying: “The RSPCA are advising dog shows are cancelled. Why are you taking the risk?”

Jean Spencer said: “Years ago I nearly lost my champion dog at a Welsh KC Championship Show from heat exhaustion, never again would I take a dog out in extreme heat for a piece of cardboard.”

Amanda Lawrence said: “Dogs can still suffer from heatstroke even in the shade. It’s up to the individual if they take their dog but putting your dog at risk for your own vanity and ego of possibly winning a showing class is just pure stupidity and selfishness. The responsible thing would be to postpone the event but £££s as always take precedence. Shameful!”

But dog owners planning to attend the event defended the decision, saying they make sure their pups are kept cool and that they have more common sense than regular pet owners.

Fi Bowdler said: “I will ensure my girlie is kept cool with a cool coat, coolmat and frozen water bottles in her crate, I will also make sure she has plenty available to drink. Most people who show have far more common sense that your regular pet owner in the heat so please don’t slate us for doing something that we and our dogs enjoy.”

Sophie Hughes said: “The dogs are monitored very carefully and are just fine. People know how to keep their dogs cool. I’ve never known a dog get heat stroke at a dog show. Heat stroke normally happens when you exercise the dogs in the heat, at dogs shows they are mostly chilling out in their crates.”

Esme Wheeler, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “We’re concerned to hear of dog shows taking place during the heatwave and would urge organisers to prioritise the welfare of dogs and consider rearranging or cancelling. The hot weather has gone from glorious to extreme, and we can’t stress enough how vital it is that pet owners take the situation seriously.

“That means limiting or skipping walks, only taking very essential car journeys, leaving water available at all times, and preparing damp, cold towels and mats, and frozen treats. We’re still getting reports of dogs being left in cars, and seeing a lot of dogs being taken to busy outdoor events like festivals, shows and fetes, and to the beach.

“Don’t be that person who is dragging their panting dog along the pavement or plodding around a show. Please leave them at home in the cool where they’ll be safe. Knowing how to try and prevent heatstroke, and also how to spot the signs of heatstroke in pets could be a matter of life and death.”