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THE HERENDEEN CASE
Background Info: AKC Denies Judge, then suspends
Behind the impenetrable wall that surrounds the AKC, there are formidable forces that can destroy judging careers with a word here, a roll of the eyes there.
March 8, 2011 | TheDogPress.com
Those who are high enough on the hierarchy ladder to peek over the wall have seen it happen, but most lack either the courage or wherewithal to challenge the American Kennel Club. That fact alone stands as an effective defense for the AKC.
There are however, some brave challengers. Charles P. Herendeen's father “Chuck” Herendeen went on to become an all-breed licensed handler, then an AKC judge, and crowned his 30 year career by joining the rarified ranks of AKC All-Breed Judges. Chuck Herendeen also sued the AKC so history may repeat through the strong genes of the Herendeen men.
As a third generation AKC dog man, Charles P. Herendeen III ("Skip") may be forced to file suit against the American Kennel Club. Approved as an AKC licensed handler in 1974, Skip Herendeen III applied to judge in 1997. Over the years, he was approved for BIS, Miscellaneous, Junior Showmanship, all Hound breeds, the Hound Group, and the majority of Sporting breeds. By May of 2010 Skip felt it was time to apply for the balance of the Sporting Group and that is where this story begins. But first, some background.
About That Bribe Attemp: March 2006 - Skip Herendeen refused a substantial bribe involving cash and judging assignments in exchange for rigging the Group and Best In Show at a Texas show. Offended by the attempted bribe and concerned for the sport, Herendeen number three immediately brought it to the attention of the AKC Rep, Sue Vroom. The end result was that handler Davin McAteer and AKC judge Doug Shipley were removed from the sport by lifetime suspensions. End of story? No.
Herendeen refused to give AKC a subsequent tape recording in which Shipley and McAteer said they had done a similar deal with his father. His deceased father could not defend himself against that remark and AKC’s demand seemed pointless. The information he had already provided had been sufficient to cause Shipley and McAteer to confess to the attempted bribe and affirm that Skip had rejected them. Nonetheless, Darrel Hayes and AKC’s General Counsel continued to demand the tape so, after erasing his father’s name, he gave them a copy. In retrospect, Skip believes determination to protect his father’s good name somehow outweighed his protection of AKC’s good name.
After his appeal reduced the lifetime suspension to 5 years and was finally published in the AKC Gazette, TheDogPress asked for comment from Dennis Sprung, AKC President, or Darrel Hayes, VP Dog Show Operations or John Wade, Judging Operations but no one would discuss the matter nor state exactly what Herendeen was charged with.
The October suspension of judge Jacqueline Stacey, appealed down to just a reprimand, was much more detailed as to the "crime" committed. Jackie (wife of Terry Stacey, former director of AKC Inspections & Investigations) was criticized for having awarded BIS to a dog she bred, the relationship advertised. Advertising on the great little Affen was changed and many thought it was a tempest in a teapot but in any case, the APPEALS COMMITTEE report more clearly states the offense for which she received the reprimand and $100 fine. Both cases can be reviewed in the Five Years portion of suspentions but you may want to continue reading the Herendeen case and then come back to visit the Suspended page, etc.
Skip Herendeen grew up respecting the American Kennel Club and all that it stood for. Tremendous love for dogs and the sport was “in his genes” but he admits that there have been occasions when he challenged AKC’s authority. He cites as an example when (then) AKC Rep Peter Gaeta interrupted his judging of Afghan Hounds and essentially told him he had no right to be judging the breed. Insulted by the public affront, Herendeen told Gaeta his actions and comments were inappropriate and invited the AKC Rep to leave his ring, saying he would discuss it with him later. In point of fact, Herendeen had mentored under Sunny Shay and handled Afghans for legends like Kay Finch. The dog he put Breed went on to win the Group and also become the #1 Afghan that year. Skip admits that standing up to an AKC Rep, even on behalf of AKC protocol, isn’t good for one’s career. Peter Gaeta later became Director of Judging Operations.
Is Herendeen paranoid or can AKC individuals, like anyone else, hold a grudge? Many judges have been “put in their place” by the powers that rule our sport. 99% take a kick in the ribs like a helpless puppy and for the same reason. AKC is the hand that feeds the sport and a smart dog doesn’t bite that hand; in fact, some lick it regularly and are rewarded with treats and favors.
Having submitted his application, Herendeen then answers a barrage of questions going back more than three decades. Not satisfied with photos and other documents submitted, AKC demands military records to prove Skip Herendeen served as a Sentry Dog Handler in the Army. He seeks assistance from his Congressman in order to obtain the records in the few days AKC allotted him to respond. Herendeen says AKC went back to his very first application in 1997 to find any "inaccuracies" and even went so far as to call All-Breed judge Joe Gregory to see if he had actually apprenticed under him as a teenager nearly 40 years ago!
Worry and frustration has adversely affected his health but confident that he has cleared all the hurdles, Herendeen patiently waits. But then as fate would have it, he inadvertently crosses swords with AKC again!
It is early June when a private email he sent to Col. Joe Purkhiser, Dog Judges Assoc. of America (DJAA) President surfaces in the hands of Darrel Hayes, VP of Dog Show Judges Operations. In that email to a friend, Herendeen comments that he doesn’t agree with the AKC’s proposed “Judges Fees” . That should not have been a big deal; the fancy so adamantly opposed the “judges tax” that AKC withdrew it.
When Darrel Hayes quotes from that personal email to Purkhiser, Herendeen is stunned and being Skip, he has the audacity to ask how Hayes got the email. He comes up against that infamous wall in which the VP of the department that oversees judges (and rules on his application) states he has “no intention or obligation” to provide him with any information as to how he got the email.
Herendeen contacts Purkhiser who denies sending the email to Hayes. There’s much, much more to this but suffice to say, Herendeen made the mistake of pursuing the email issue and feels that hurt him far more than having disagreed with AKC’s proposed fees.
August 31, 2010, Charles Herendeen III is notified that instead of receiving the balance of the group for which he applied, his application has been suspended and Director Hayes has recommended that the Board suspend him from judging! If that seems like a leap of logic, one must remember that he had annoyed the wrong people and then instead of rolling over, he asked questions and expected answers.
The AKC Board meets in October and gives him a LIFETIME judging suspension! Herendeen insists the AKC Board has never provided any evidence or documentation for denying his application. As for suspension of his judging privileges, AKC says only that there were “inconsistencies” in his application. John Wade, AKC Judging Operations, said on March 8th that he can say no more. Herendeen insists he cooperated with AKC in every way, answered every question, jumped through every hoop.
January 11, 2011. Herendeen finally appears before the Appeals Board and his sentence is reduced from lifetime to five years which still ends a judge’s career. He immediately filed to appeal the suspension but AKC insisted it should be postponed until after Westminster. He agreed, respecting the fact that the board was very busy and any hint of bad publicity just before its showcase show would be most inconvenient.
So today Skip Herendeen stands before the Not-For-Profit wall which has shielded the AKC for well over a century. He is not alone. The case of the Purloined Poodle  was eventually dropped because the plaintiffs’ attorneys were worn down by AKC’s frustrating evasions. International and AKC multi-group judge Fred Lanting,  received a lifetime judging suspension for at worst, a small rule infraction. Another “gotcha” opportunity to get rid of an annoyance? Fred appealed without legal representation. His “lifetime” suspension was upheld by the court of no appeals – AKC.
Now, after a change in legal counsel, the Herendeen case is moving forward and TheDogPress will keep you factually informed. Unwilling to accept the brush-off followed by the traditional stonewalling for which AKC is famous; Herendeen has retained the prestigious and powerful firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath. While the wheels of justice do grind slowly, everyone in the sport must hope that the new firm can quickly bring this matter to a close. That will depend on AKC.
If you judge or plan to apply, the Herendeen case will be interesting. Skip Herendeen intends to pursue his career and over 80 years of tradition. He is neither vindictive nor mercenary. Herendeen just loves dogs, the sport, and the people who share his dedication to both. We are going INSIDE this story and will take you with us in the next edition.
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