THE HERENDEEN CASE continued from page one


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Ch. Thorsbys Hugely's Finest Fella O'BJ

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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” [1]. 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 [2] was eventually dropped because the plaintiffs’ attorneys were worn down by AKC’s frustrating evasions. International and AKC multi-group judge Fred Lanting, [3] 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.

Get more information and dig for gold below.

Herendeen Case - Background (Part 1)

Herendeen Case - AKC Judges' Privacy & Legal Rights (Part 2)

Herendeen Case - A Clear Message to AKC Judges (Part 3)

[1] AKC’s Proposed Judging Fee Fails – Again.

[2] The Purloined Poodle, The Scandal Behind WKC Group Winner

[3] The Evil Empire Strikes Down AKC and International Judge


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