NEW YORK (AP) — The Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show has become the latest event to be postponed or canceled in New York City as the number of coronavirus cases rises.
The club’s board announced on Wednesday that it was postponing its 2022 event, scheduled for late January, to later in the year. A new date has not been given.
“The health and safety of all attendees at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is paramount,” the group said in a statement. “We appreciate the continued interest and support from the community as we postpone the show to a time when we can safely come together.”
First held in 1877, the dog show attracts thousands of competitors from across the United States and is normally held in February, with semi-finals and finals in Madison Square Garden. Last year it was moved in June and staged outdoors at the Lyndhurst estate in the upstate New York suburb of Tarrytown. Spectators were not allowed and human participants had to be vaccinated or newly tested.
A Pekingese named Wasabi won best in show, beating a Whippet, French Bulldog, Old English Sheepdog, German Shorthaired Pointer, Samoyed and West Highland White Terrier.
With COVID-19 cases now exploding across the US, the postponement comes less than two weeks after more than 8,500 dogs, owners and handlers converged for another top US dog show, the National Championship from the American Kennel Club in Orlando, Florida.