In this undated photo provided by Cassandra Carpenter, handler Cassandra Carpenter poses with Titus, a bullmastiff. Cassandra says Titus was bitten by a snake on his back left leg in March 2019 in North Carolina. Titus went through extensive treatment and recovery and still has a scar from the episode. He is entered in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. (Amber Jade via AP)

The Latest: Bullmastiff bitten by snake sharp at Westminster

February 11, 2020 - 2:33 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the Westminster Kennel Club dog show (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Snakebit no more!

Titus the bullmastiff has won best of breed at the Westminster dog show, and will advance to the working group stage at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

That capped a remarkable comeback for 3-year-old Titus, who was in danger of losing his back left leg last March. That's when something got a piece of gentle Titus in the North Carolina brush — co-owner Cassandra Carpenter thought it was a pygmy rattlesnake, veterinarian Jess Hunter said it could've been a copperhead.

Titus' leg turned red, purple and black and swelled nearly twice its size. But he's recovered, and topped 16 entries in the breed round.

Titus still has a large, dark scar and Carpenter said judges occasionally ask about it. After this showing, she'll certainly has quite a story to tell.

"This is my first breed win," she said. "It's amazing."

2 p.m.

While purebred dogs round the rings at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, animal-rights activists are also trying to make an impression.

A small group protested Tuesday outside the building where dogs from great Danes to cocker spaniels vied to be named best in their breeds and advance to the competition’s next round.

The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations that the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has organized at the show over the years.

The demonstrators say it’s callous to breed, buy or sell dogs when shelters are full of canines up for adoption.

“Anyone who visits your local shelter and faces the dogs who are desperately needing homes would understand why PETA is here every year,” said associate director Ashley Byrne.

The protesters also say purebred aficionados are too focused on dogs’ appearance, rather than their health. They point, for example, to breathing difficulties that can beset flat-faced breeds.

An inquiry was sent to a Westminster spokeswoman about the protest.

The American Kennel Club, a governing body for dog shows including Westminster, has said responsible breeders prioritize dogs’ health. The club defends dog breeding as a way to preserve dogs developed for certain functions and traits and to help people find the right dog for them.

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