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What Would You Do? A Learning Experience — hopefully

What Would You Do? A Learning Experience — hopefully

What Would You Do? A Learning Experience — hopefully by D. Jay Hyman


(Names are fictional to protect the actual identities.)

  • Co-Owner “Barbie” who bred the bitch (“Penny”) and made a gift (prior to an agreement being signed) of a co-ownership interest to Co-Owner “Becky,” with whom the bitch went to live, to be cared for, and to be shown;
  • PHA Handler “Lola” (Who had an assistant “Debra”);
  • The Show-Giving Club (“Club”) that held a two-day weekend show;
  • The local “Show Veterinarian”;
  • The local “Police” who were consulted both before and after the INCIDENT;
  • The omnipresent “AKC”;
  • And finally, the most important show for these dogs to be held on October 10, 2021: “Montgomery.”


Barbie, a long-standing Breeder and Exhibitor, bred “Penny” whom she considered a beautiful bitch, and decided to comply with a longtime friend’s (Becky) request to let her co-own, show, and house the bitch, “Penny.” An agreement was made, but BEFORE it was signed, “Penny” was registered at AKC in both names. Any of us can write the next statement… there was a misunderstanding and “Barbie” unsuccessfully asked for “Becky” to return “Penny.” “Becky” not only declines, but says she will not do anything, and she ceases all communications in early 2020. It is now early June of 2021.

The Premium List for the “Club’s” weekend shows stated on Page 4: “Exhibitors should follow their veterinarian’s recommendation to assure their dogs are free of internal and external parasites, any communicable diseases and have
appropriate vaccinations.”

“Barbie” keeps track of all the shots given to all of her dogs, and was concerned that it appeared the shots were not up to date. “Penny,” had not been winning, and “Barbie” was concerned about the condition of “Penny.” She decided to go to the “Club’s” two-day show to see the condition of “Penny” and perhaps take her back. At the show, the temperature was 93-degrees. The dogs were in an open metal topped truck with no apparent water and no air conditioning. On the first day of the show, “Barbie” went to the local police and asked if they would help her take “Penny” back or if they would consider it a theft if she did. The local police said a co-owner cannot steal what she owns and expressed no interest in helping her take back “Penny.” She was free to do what she wanted.

On the second day, after showing and losing both days, “Barbie” thought “Penny” looked underweight, lethargic, and unhappy. In the parking lot, “Barbie” approached “Debra,” showed her the Registration Certificate with “Barbie’s” name on it, and announced, “She is my dog, and I am taking her home.” “Barbie” did just that. The “Club” President, and the “AKC” Rep, were told the bitch had been “stolen” by “Barbie.” The Police were called, and on visiting the site, determined that it was not a theft/stealing, and they had no interest.

The next day, “Barbie” took “Penny” to her veterinarian, who upon examination, ascertained that “Penny” had hookworms, was underweight by five pounds, had not had a valid rabies inoculation for several months, and gave her a rating of 4 out of 9 for condition.


The “Club” held a bench committee hearing that “Barbie” and her husband, and “Lola” and her assistant “Debra” (but not Becky), attended. The “Club” had the report that “Penny” had been without rabies protection, and the “Show Veterinarian” had advised that if she had a dog at a show without rabies protection, she would have it removed from the show. The “Club” emphasized that “Barbie” had not asked for the “Show Vet,” the “AKC” Rep or the Handler, and that “Barbie” had acted on her own. The “Club” decided that the “Club” did not have to advise other entrants that there had been a dog there without a valid rabies inoculation and, therefore, should have their dogs checked. The Bench Committee decided that “Barbie” was guilty of “disrupting a dog show” and suspended her, sending the finding to the Staff of the “AKC” to determine the length of the suspension, amount of fine, and anything else that went with it. Any suspension would affect “Barbie,” her husband (even though he was not charged), her dogs currently being campaigned, and four other dogs she co-owned. If the suspension was longer than 30 days, “Barbie” and her group would not be eligible to attend the Montgomery show in October 2021. “Barbie” felt that she had done the right thing for “Penny,” the “Club,” and the “AKC” by removing a potentially dangerous dog from the show grounds where it endangered all animals and people in attendance. Had anyone contracted rabies, they potentially had a claim against the “Club” and “AKC.” “Barbie,” in fact, offered to ameliorate the situation by accepting a reprimand and a fine of $100. Most handlers carry each of their exhibits’ Certificate of Rabies Vaccination with them in case a state official demands it. Most owners make sure that at least their rabies shots are current, and keep their dogs’ worming schedule current for the health of their dogs and others at shows.


The AKC decided, in its wisdom, that “Barbie” should be suspended for 30 days and fined $500, (paid immediately), hurting “Barbie’s” reputation and concluding that, perhaps, she should have been more restrained. However, most importantly, she and her group will be able to attend the Montgomery show.


What would you do in this situation?

Was the Bench Committee correct in finding “Barbie” guilty of interfering with a show?

Should the “Club,” or “AKC,” decide that “Becky” and “Lola” did anything wrong in showing a dog that had no valid Rabies vaccination?

And should there be a punishment of “Becky” or the Handlers for showing a dog without a rabies vaccination?