NEW YORK – Sadie the Scottish terrier won America’s top dog show Tuesday night, and that was pretty predictable. What happened moments before she took the title at Westminster was far more startling.
Two women walked into the center ring at Madison Square Garden and held up signs that said “Mutts Rule” and “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs’ Chances,” the latter a slogan popularized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The crowd of 15,000 gasped at the PETA-inspired protest, then booed the women and cheered as security ushered them away without incident. The interruption lasted about a minute and was not featured on the USA Network telecast. Moments later, the 4-year-old Sadie climbed the purple Best-in-Show podium.
Sadie was a big favorite coming into the show, which is for 2,500 purebred dogs. There have been previous protests at Westminster, but none nearly this dramatic. As a matter of course, the public-address announcer at the Garden reads an announcement urging people to visit shelters and adopt their dogs.
Sadie came to New York as America’s No. 1 show dog and earned her 112th best in show ribbon.
“She was perfect,” handler Gabriel Rangel said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Her tongue out and her tail wagging, Sadie was right in step with Rangel. She is owned by Amelia Musser of Mackinac Island, Mich., and sports the champion’s name of Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot.
Sadie became the eighth Scottie to win at Westminster, second to the 13 wins by wire fox terriers. She was the record 45th terrier to win in a show that began in 1877.
Sadie became the first Triple Crown winner of dogdom. She took the National Dog Show in suburban Philadelphia in November and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in California in December.