Adhering To The Highest Journalistic Standards
CASE OF THE PURLOINED POODLE
Part 2 - Suspended, AKC Trial Board, Lie Detector, AKC Reverses
Intriguingly documented fraud and
forgery by AKC judge but instead, breeder-owner of Westminster Group Winner is
SUSPENDED, then AKC Trial Board reverses and...
February 2, 2005 | TheDogPress Club News
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
Click here if you missed Part
1 of The Purloined Poodle.
You need the background, characters, and facts first... We stipulate that the judge accused of defrauding the Laceys out of a very valuable champion Standard Poodle bitch declined comment although he
is a friend and has willingly talked to this reporter for 20 years.
Mrs. Lacey purchased
the bitch puppy from Dennis McCoy, a breeder-handler. He told her his females 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 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 Dennis $1,000 to come pick up the bitch because her
beloved male had just been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease and things looked
Joan wanted to fulfill her oral agreement to do the breeding with frozen semen
from "Snapper" the famous Ch. Eaton Affirmed, a dog gone twenty years ago. Joan paid
the bills, knowing everyone in Poodles regretted that no litter had been
produced from his frozen semen. They both agreed it would be a worthwhile and
exciting thing to do.
The first insemination was not successful.
On her next season, 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
Mr. and Mrs. Lacy, Dennis McCoy and Randy Garren. The handler had become a judge and the singlet puppy was to remain
with he and his partner 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.
As “Yes” 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 Avenue 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 she and her husband 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 Laceys paid all the vet bills and expenses. Joan estimates they had more
than $30,000 invested even before “Yes” finished her AKC
Championship. Not a problem.
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 owner-handle her at the upcoming National Specialty. Joan understands
that as a judge, he can show a dog he owns but not someone else's
He told Joan to "just sign
there" as 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, explained why, and they had been discussing her
specials career but that she knew nothing about this rumor!
The handler 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
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
yet another transfer to another owner
which Lacey says further affirms 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
Her questions resulted in what some would have predicted.
Joan Lacy was suspended pending a trial board wherein she would defend against the
Count 1 – she submitted an “AKC registration certificate … which contained a
false certification as to the signature of one of the owners. She is charged
with having forged her husband’s signature, a “crime” to which she readily
Count 2 – merely repeats the first charge but spells out the name and breed of
the bitch and states the certificate was signed without a Power Of Attorney
Count 3 – states she signed in blank, failing to properly complete the
certificate to show the names of the individuals to whom said dog was directly
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….
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
#1 Dennis McCoy who knew she forged her husband’s name (she had also done so previously in
McCoy who instructed her to
leave it blank so that he could fill in owners as he had done before, and
the judge who knowingly submitting a forged, open registration
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 again requests 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?
Cancel the Trial Board!
Release the “on hold” registration that really wasn’t on hold at all.
Ignore Count 3 because it implicates the judge.
(Possibly there is no rule against knowingly accepting and submitting an open
Threaten another suspension unless
Mr. and Mrs. Lacey cease and desist!
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.” That would be laughable
except it is not. Remember that both Joan and Joe have admitted
she signed his name with his permission.
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 has been denied up to this date.
Joan refused to plead guilty
and accept a lesser penalty. She didn’t cave in and go away. So AKC then reversed itself, removing the charges that it said were reason for
suspension and fines.
Read that again. 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 Mr. and Mrs. Lacey 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,
no doubt hoping this will all just go away.
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 a second time, they are threatened with suspension and fines if
The person she alleged stole the dog was awarded ownership and
allowed to transfer ownership to yet another well connected, very famous poodle
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, they will even pay expenses for the their accuser to come back at a
more convenient date to take the test. 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?
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 chooses to
defend at this time. The Laceys tell us they will force him to do so. He may
agree to the lie detector test. He may not, even though this reporter strongly
that it could clear up many questions in the “court” of public opinion.
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 Joe's signature
was not a forgery which you will recall, was one of the
charges on which Joan Lacey was brought before the AKC Trial Board. It gets
better: 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 (meaning just he and Joan). AKC refused.
Confusing? AKC's alleged handwriting expert says it is Joe Lacey's
The Lacey's and the professional handwriting expert
they hired say it is a forgery.
TheDogPress again states its willingness, indeed, our eagerness to publish any
rebuttal that either AKC or the judge would like to make. The facts as
presented have been
carefully reviewed by the Lacey's law firm before publication.
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