CASE OF THE PURLOINED POODLE
Part 2 - Suspended, Trial Board, Lie Detector, AKC Reverses
The only way to prepare our readers for the controversial sequence of events, including AKC’s reversal of its own Trial Board, is to recap the unfolding story as told by Mrs. Lacey.
February 2, 2005 | TheDogPress Club News
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
We stipulate that the judge accused of defrauding the Laceys out of a very valuable champion Standard Poodle bitch declined comment although he has willingly talked to this reporter.
Mrs. Lacey purchased a bitch puppy from Dennis McCoy, a breeder-handler. He told her his bitches are always sold on co-ownership with a two-puppies-back contract. She became “Ch. Tresse” and is the dam of "YES". Tresse is shown at left.
Dennis had also shown Joan's male Poodle to his championship and over the ensuing nine years, they had become close friends, speaking almost every day. When the co-owned bitch was ready to breed, Joan paid her co-owner a thousand dollars to come pick up the bitch because her beloved male had just been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease and things looked pretty grim. (“Jack” is pictured here. He died in 2008)
Joan wanted to fulfill her oral agreement to do the breeding with frozen semen from famous Ch Eaton Affirmed. "Snapper" had been gone twenty years. Joan paid the bills, knowing everyone in Poodles regretted that no litter had been produced from his frozen semen. They all agreed it would be a worthwhile and exciting thing to do.
The first insemination was not successful. The bitch was mated again by uterine implant which Mrs. Lacey believed was a matter of vaginally inserting a “scope thing” up to the uterine opening.
The second insemination resulted in a litter of one, co-bred and co-owned by the Mr. and Mrs. Lacy, Dennis McCoy and Randy Garren. The handler had become a judge and the singlet puppy was to remain with them but would be shown by another handler at Mrs. Lacey’s expense. Her co-owners kept the puppy as their pet and did not charge for board or grooming, but the Laceys paid all the vet bills and expenses. Joan estimates they had more than $30,000 invested before “Yes” was finished.
As “Yes” developed and approached show age, her co-owner who was by then actively judging, told Joan he should sign off the puppy so she could be shown to her title by someone else. Joan's New York home is on Madison Ave. so Dennis asked her to bring the registration certificate to Westminster. Sitting together during BIS, he showed her where to sign the back of the certificate, assuring her he would complete the transfer leaving only the Laceys as owners of record.
Thus the black puppy bitch, Randenn Tristar Affirmation, finished her championship in record time with only the Laceys as owners.
The problem begins later when Dennis McCoy tells Joan he and his partner need to sign back on so that they will be listed as co-breeders when "Yes" is bred. He also says he may want to handle her at the upcoming National Specialty. Joan understands that as a judge, he can show a dog he owns but that he can't show someone else's dog.
He told Joan to just sign where she did before and he would fill in their names and take care of everything. She did. He did.
The daily phone calls continued over the next few months and he sent them a video so they could see how wonderfully well “Yes” was developing. The Laceys spend part of the year in NY so entering her at Westminster was repeatedly discussed. It is one of the few shows Joe and Joan attend.
It was in the early fall, after they had received the video of what the Laceys believed was still their bitch, when a rumor began to circulate that the bitch was going out with a handler, and that she was owned by that handler’s client! Joan called the handler, who was a close friend, to discuss the rumor. She pointed out that there were four owners and they had been discussing her specials career but she knew nothing about this rumor!
The handler then questioned her ownership in the dog. Incredulous, Joan called AKC and confirmed that the Lacey’s names had been taken off in June! She was stunned to realize that all the preceding months of planning and daily discussions about her special’s career were a farce!
Crying and unbelieving, she called Dennis McCoy and asked why he had done that? He replied simply, "Because she’s mine." Still numb, she called and spoke directly to AKC President Dennis Sprung. She told him the transfer was fraudulent and demanded a hold be put on the registration pending investigation.
Subsequent to that conversation, there was another transfer to another owner which Lacey says further affirms the allegations of fraud and conversion. When Joan discovered the additional transfer, she again called the judge and asked why he was doing this? He used the classic line “Because I Could.”
Joan says she again called AKC, demanding to know why they failed to hold the registration pending investigation? How could they let her co-owner make yet another transfer? Her questions resulted in what some would have predicted. Joan Lacy was suspended pending a trial board wherein she would defend against the following charges:
The December 2nd notification says the American Kennel Club will ask its Trial Board to impose the standard penalty of a five year suspension and $2000 fine and suggests she might get a lesser penalty if she skips the trial board….
The letter from AKC also stipulates that upon notification of the charges, AKC “will not afford registration to any litter or individual dog, or transfer ownership of any dog from a person from or after the date of notification….” and although it does not state that she is suspended, she can obviously not transfer or register anything before the yet-to-be scheduled trial board unless she pleads guilty and hopes for a lesser penalty.
Blackmail. Coercion. Call it what you will, it is illegal. Unless you are the American Kennel Club.
Mrs. Lacey readily admits to all three charges. Her attorneys requested a speedy trial board. AKC delayed setting a date. One can only imagine the debate that must have ensued at corporate headquarters - If Joan is guilty, so is the judge who
#1 knew she forged her husband’s name (she had also done so previously in his presence).
#2 what are the implications if indeed, Dennis McCoy instructed her to leave it blank so that he could fill in owners as he had done before, and
#3 is the judge in trouble here for knowingly submitting a forged, open registration certificate?
In the meantime, the attorneys for the newly defined “defendant” continue to demand documents to which they are entitled under the law. The documents are promised but not sent. * See end of report for update. Finally a trial board date is set for the day after Westminster.
The Lacey's law firm request documents vital to the defendant's defense. Requests for documents escalate into demands. It becomes obvious to all that the defendants are not going away.
Then the story headlined in TheDogPress.com - If you are the AKC what do you do?
The fax notification was sent to the Lacey’s attorneys on January 18th. The letter stated in part “The AKC is removing the referral...” Meaning the temporary hold on the registration papers. It further states “The AKC is withdrawing the charges currently pending against Ms. Lacey...” but goes on to stipulate that AKC reserves the right to file charges against both “Mr. and Mrs. Lacey regarding the submission of a false complaint concerning the certification of the signature...”
Incredibly, the letter further states “An expert retained by AKC has determined that the signature of Joe Lacey on the questioned registration document is in fact the signature of Joe Lacey.”
Remember that both Joan and Joe have admitted she forged his signature. And that was one of the original crimes with which she was charged. The Laceys are invited to provide any comments regarding the expert’s findings or their actions.
Of course you are having a problem understanding. Any logical person is lost by this point. I’ll try again: According to Joan, a very valuable bitch was transferred out of their name without their knowledge or consent. She notified AKC that they had been defrauded and in the course of the conversation, admitted that she had signed for her husband who was out of town. Her husband faxed AKC a letter in which he pointed out he had done nothing wrong but was being penalized and deprived of his property.
The Laceys retained a prominent New York City law firm * from which important evidence was denied up to this date. (see below**) Joan refused to plead guilty and accept a lesser penalty. She didn’t cave in and go away.
AKC then reversed itself, removing the charges that it said were reason for suspension and fines. The American Kennel Club says her confessed forgery is not a forgery!!! They say a handwriting “expert” said the open registration is signed by Joe Lacey.
On that contrived basis, AKC summarily cancels the trial board thus thwarting the attorney’s continued demands for the evidence. It releases the papers on the bitch. Pushing for Joan Lacey to just shut up, AKC threatens both Laceys with a new trial board and new charges if they fail to cease and desist!
Incredible. Despite specific demands, to date, the Attorneys have not been supplied with the name or qualifications of the “expert” upon whom now rests the newest allegations by AKC and under the auspices of which, they have reversed their former charges. AKC is withholding all information and documentation upon which it based any and all of its findings.
The Lacey’s have followed the rules, even those established by the AKC which are not always the Rule Of Law. They have been maligned without recourse to defense or an opportunity to confront their accuser. Actually, they don’t know who that accuser is!
Joan says they are the victims, not the criminals. Lacking a trial board, they stand forever accused of various “crimes” against which they have been denied defense. For the second time, they are threatened with suspension and fines if they persist. The person who she alleged stole the dog was awarded ownership and allowed to transfer ownership to yet another well connected, very famous poodle person.
The Lacey’s prominent New York lawyers are not going away. Neither are the Laceys. Anxious to clear their name, thwarted by AKC in every attempt to do so, determined to settle the matter without allowing the fallout to jeopardize innocent parties involved with the judge, the Lacey’s now offer a solution.
They are willing to take a lie detector test during Westminster, and if necessary, pay expenses for the judge to come back at a more convenient date to take the test. The test would be conducted under carefully supervised conditions. While lie detector evidence may not be admissible in court, the outcome will be significant which is why the Laceys are publicly making the offer at this time. Will the judge agree? Will the Laceys take the test with or without the judge?
The Case Of The Purloined Poodle raises questions regarding AKC process and has far-ranging effects on the entire fancy. It goes far beyond the “he said-she said” co-ownership dispute, which is why we are reporting it.
We regret that the judge has so far withheld comment but we take care to point out that does not mean he is guilty of anything. Only that he does not choose to defend at this time. The Laceys tell us they will force him to defend. He may agree to the lie detector test. He may not, even though this reporter told him that it could clear up many questions in the “court” of public opinion. Stay tuned. There are sure to be more developments!
The Laceys retained a handwriting expert to professionally validate that Joan Lacey did in fact “forge” her husband’s name. The significance is undeniable. AKC cancelled the trial board on the grounds that its expert said the signature was not a forgery which you will recall, Joan admitted to and was one of the grounds for taking her before an AKC Trial Board. Joe Lacey notified AKC that it was not his signature but offered to sign if AKC would put all original owners back on the bitch.
Confusing? AKC's alleged handwriting expert says it is Joe Lacey's signature.
The Lacey's professional handwriting expert says it is a forgery.
The offer to the judge to take the lie detector test is still on the table. TheDogPress again states its willingness, indeed, our eagerness to publish any rebuttal that either AKC or the judge would like to make.
We should also state that this story and the facts as we know them has been carefully reviewed by the Lacey's law firm before publication.
Part 2 - Purloined Poodle - Suspended, Trial Board (you're here)
Part 3 - Purloined Poodle - Victim or Villain