A village dog show has been permanently scrapped after FIGHTING broke out between competitors who acted like “football hooligans”.
The annual dog-grooming competition began as an event for families in sleepy Higham in Kent five years ago and has grown in popularity.
Organisers expecting a record 700 pooches for this year’s event found themselves overwhelmed by a crowd nearing 2,000.
The huge numbers put pressure on facilities at the village’s Memorial Hall playing fields and trouble erupted when visitors struggled to find room to park.
One motorist got so angry at queuing traffic he punched an 18-year-old volunteer and a cyclist also hit the lad because traffic was blocking up the street.
The bad feeling spilled over to dog owners who turned on event organisers complaining their pets had not won a rosette and demanded compensation.
Two women rivals started fighting and rubbish and verbal abuse was thrown at show organisers.
It was also claimed that football yobs turned up without dogs looking for a showdown with rival supporters.
Police were called to resolve the parking disputes and angry pet owners were sent home -without compensation.
Event founder Rachel Hodges, 49, said she was so saddened by the ugly scenes she was cancelling the event for good.
The former Crufts-winning owner said: “We’re not doing it next year.
“I had rubbish thrown at me and I had abuse thrown at me. Girls in the tent who were taking donations was reduced to tears.
“We had to separate two women who started scrapping. I couldn’t believe it. We are just a village dog show.
“My husband and niece were also verbally abused by people who were not winning in the show.
“They were like football hooligans. One of them turned up just to cause trouble. It was frightening.
“Somebody told me after the show that there actually were football fans coming across from London just on the off chance that fans from a rival team might be there.
“People were storming up to the volunteers and demanding they get #20 compensation because we had ruined their bank holiday.
“It was a free event and all proceeds went to charities. We were giving money to Help for Heroes for that poor soldier and people were demanding we give them compensation.
“If we did it again we’d probably need a security team and so we decided to just stop. I can’t put my family and friends at risk. It’s just sad that people want to do this.”
Parking and entry was free to the show on Bank Holiday Monday which featured Mugly the world’s ugliest dog.
Police said they attended the show but only had one call, complaining about the number of people parked near the venue making it difficult to drive through the village.