It was a case which involved a small dog, an even smaller dose of valium, but some apparently large egos.
The saga of the doped chihuahua ended yesterday with one of the country's leading dog owners suspended from Kennel Club events amid acrimonious talk of "vendettas" and bitter rivalries.
A disciplinary sub-committee of the Kennel Club upheld a doping charge against Carol Brampton - said to be as famous in the dog world as Imran Khan is in cricket - and accused her of behaving "discreditably".
The complaint had been been made by dog-owner Tracey Dyke, 37, who tearfully told the tribunal how her beloved Chizzy - full name Deltramer Secret Showburst - a 14-month-old chihuahua, had been so sedated with valium at a show that she seemed dead.
She said Ms Brampton, a rival competitor, had put the 0.5mg tablet of valium into Chizzy's mouth at the Northern Counties Chihuahua Club Championship Show on 1 October last year without her knowledge.
"She opened her mouth and put the tablet down it and rubbed her throat. Then she just smiled and wouldn't tell me what it was," said Ms Dyke, who added that the dog was soon knocked out. "It was as if she was dead. It's horrible to think of her like that."
But Ms Brampton, 46, of Faversham, Kent, said the accusation was brought only because there was a "vendetta" against her in the dog world because she was so successful at winning shows.
"Nobody is happy when I am winning anyway. They only clap when I lose," she told the hearing.
Ms Brampton, who has won dozens of titles since she began training dogs 28 years ago, denied giving Chizzy valium and insisted the tablet was merely a herbal remedy, given with Ms Dyke's permission.
Her representative at the hearing, John Robson, said: "This is nothing to do with Chizzy. It's a personal vendetta."
The committee upheld the charge against Ms Brampton and ruled she had "behaved discreditably or prejudicially to the interests of the canine world".
She was banned from taking part in or attending Kennel Club events for the next five years and ordered to pay costs of pounds 209.
After the hearing, Ms Dyke of Bromsgrove, Hereford and Worcester said she was delighted at the verdict. "This will rock the dog world. This sort of thing should not happen and drugs should not be used on dogs." She added: "If the vet had not seen Chizzy straight away, I dread to think what would have happened."
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