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Part 3 - Joan Lacey - Victim Or Villain? Will She Pursue Justice? Show Again?


It isn’t really “over” but insofar as offering hope to others that AKC would do the right thing, it probably belongs in the history book. The next few months will decide if there’s to be another chapter or if the issue is dead. Maybe the American Kennel Club did do the right thing.


March 28, 2005 | TheDogPress Club News

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief


Perhaps, in outlasting the Laceys’ strong principals and a powerful law firm, AKC was taking the long view and handled the hot potato just right, hoping you would never know the sordid story.


If we believe the intriguing but unsubstantiated legal history of AKC, the Laceys were just another chapter in an epic story of doing whatever is necessary to protect the sport. Hey, that’s AKC’s Mission{1} and they do a superb job of carrying it out. Here’s where the story is now, and you can sort it out.


Joan and husband Joe are currently “taking a break” following the failure of the AKC judge to agree to a lie detector test at their expense and his convenience during Westminster.


Certainly it takes time to ponder the latest development. AKC’s reversal of its original findings is puzzling at best. You will recall that one of the cited reasons for suspension was Joan’s admitted forgery. She had signed for Joe who was out of town.


The other offense was giving an "open" registration to the judge. Sellers are required to fill out the new owner information but the inarguable fact is that the judge knew that yet he accepted the registration that way. Telling her to “just sign the bottom”, he assured her he would fill in all their names he had previously done. Joan says Dennis had done exactly that when he and his partner signed off so the bitch could be pro handled to her title. No big deal. This time the Laceys were only putting the judge and his partner back on as co-owners so the handler/co-breeder/judge could show her at the National and be co-breeder of her future litter.


Joan never suspected he had removed her and Joe as owners before he sent the papers in to AKC. She and Dennis continued to talk almost daily on the phone, and he even sent them video of the bitch’s progress as they discussed whether to breed her before or after Dennis showed her at PCA. Joan never suspected anything until she heard that a different owner would be specialing her bitch!


That is when Joan called AKC and what then transpired brings us to the present. The lawyers demanded substantiation for AKC’s belated decision that Joan was not guilty of forgery. AKC said their “handwriting expert” had determined that the signature was not a forgery. Still following this reasoning? Hang on, it gets more convoluted. On that basis, without offering one shred of substantiation for reversing the suspension, AKC dropped the charges and cancelled the Trial Board which the Laceys had steadfastly demanded.


In so doing, AKC then threatened her with possible suspension for bringing false charges against the judge...


Think about that. It’s like the D.A. drops all charges but warns the defendant to shut up and drop it or there will be new charges. Most people would have given up at that point. Joe and Joan Lacey did not. Their attorneys continued to demand proof of the non-forgery, knowing that no handwriting expert could have made that determination without requiring Joe Lacey sign in his presence. And then there were those other charges. Why did they suddenly evaporate at the last minute before the trial board? AKC finally responded by sending the name and qualifications of a handwriting expert but Joan says the way quite pointedly, nothing to say that he had looked at the signature in question. So if you were the Laceys, what would you do at that point?


You could continue to fund what was destined to be a long drawn-out battle for justice. You could prove your point on a stage you never intended to stand on again. You could allow disillusionment to consume you. You could become obsessed with making those involved pay for their wrong-doing. Or you could postpone the whole ugly subject and enjoy the many opportunities presented to you in your own field.


Joan is shooting a TV pilot, a movie (playing herself) and has been offered another TV show. Her literary agent expects a book deal to go through for June and a movie looms on the horizon. The movie has nothing to do with dogs, remember she enjoys a successful career in fashion. But will her two poodles be featured? What do you think?


This is Joe’s busiest time of year and Joan is weary of being distressed over a “dog show” situation. Understandable because she said from the very beginning that she would never, ever show another dog. Joan Lacey was a character study for this reporter because she stood to gain nothing except the satisfaction of seeing a wrong rectified. She believed that a just resolution would prevent a similar situation from happening to others who might not be as capable of fighting back.


Her motivation wasn’t revenge because from the first phone call to top AKC management (people she knows) she explained that she had never signed off and all she wanted was all four of their names back on the papers. Instead, AKC allowed yet another ownership transfer to quickly take place! Joan never intended to press charges, sue or go public. She has studiously protected those who were innocently or otherwise involved. But that second transfer after she demanded the papers be frozen pending investigation, changed Joan from confused, hurt, and feeling betrayed, to angry and determined to stop the fraud.


It has aptly been termed “paper laundering” and even if the second ownership transfer slipped by AKC, one would think the motivation and timing would demand investigation.


Like many people, Joan actually believed that “the truth will come out” and “justice will prevail.”


Perhaps it will but if she might ever have changed her mind about staying in the sport, there is absolutely no way it could happen now. Nothing can undo the opinion she has of the dog show world and AKC friendships notwithstanding, of the AKC “higher ups.” She is convinced that the ruse was carried out in order to sell the dog she and her husband created (remember the expensive miracle of the frozen semen) and invested a small fortune in having trained, conditioned, and shown to her Championship. She says what so many of us are saying lately, “… money, greed, and fame are what cause problems in our society and that is what this is ALL about, especially the MONEY part.”


Given the story, that is up to the show world to decide. Or just wait and watch. (see Part 1)


Joan is excited over the marvelous things happening in her life but as we talked about the AKC-Judge subject, she became alternately pensive or angry. One would think that a person who has so much in her “other” life wouldn’t bother with something as inconsequential as the end of a few years of fun in the show world. Still, losing faith and friends is a hard blow to anyone. Her pain was obvious as she recounted the emotional damage to herself and others. It was a long conversation, it was from her heart, and while some of us like to think we might have done otherwise, this reporter can understand why Joan Lacey “lost” her case.


TheDogPress will dutifully report any new developments in the Purloined Poodle Case. Did Joan stir up trouble in order to be the center of attention? Was her life so devoid of fun that she spends a fortune “buying” fun in the dog show world? Will she worry about all of this as she’s talking with producers, agents, and writers? Was “Yes” cut down? Is she pregnant? Will her puppies fetch a bigger price because of her fame or because of their quality? Will she be brought back out by a new-new owner?


What is the Statute Of Limitation? You can bet the Laceys know the answer to that one….


Will Joan turn back to a negative factor in her life or will she go on to fame and fun? The Joan we know may very well do both! We’ll let you know.


Ref {1} AKC's Mission Statement 2005

Part 1 - The real story behind the story of Joan Lacey and the Purloined Poodle

Part 2 - Purloined Poodle - Suspended, Trial Board

Part 3 - Purloined Poodle - Victim or Villain (you're here)

Part 4 - Purloined Poodle - 2009 Westminster Group win



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