and damages in Eckhart case
New York, NY – The American Kennel Club (AKC) has been granted a permanent injunction and damages totaling nearly $9,000 in its civil suit against Derbe and Lorrie Eckhart of Upper Milford Township, PA. The injunction bars the Eckharts from using the AKC name in connection with their dog breeding operation and the damages include expenses associated with investigating the case and contacting affected customers.
Judge Thomas Wallitsch of Lehigh County, PA issued the ruling after hearing testimony from a number of AKC witnesses as well as the Eckharts. Issued on July 29, 2004, the judge’s opinion stated: “Derbe and Lorrie Eckhart, individually and collectively, made fraudulent misrepresentations with regard to their status with the AKC,” and that “entry of a permanent injunction will serve the public interest in that it will protect the rights of innocent third party-purchasers of dogs.”
“This ruling upholds the AKC Rules and Regulations that have been put in place to ensure the integrity of our registry,” said Dennis B. Sprung, AKC President and CEO. “This case demonstrates the excellent work of our Compliance and Legal departments, who have come together to present a compelling case whose outcome will ultimately protect those seeking AKC-registered dogs, as well as the reputation and interests of our organization.”
Derbe Eckhart was suspended by the AKC for an indefinite period in January, 1989 for violation of AKC Rules and Regulations for record keeping and identification of dogs. In 1994 the AKC received word that he was convicted of animal neglect and that he was circumventing his suspension. At that time he was suspended of AKC privileges until 2019.
In 2002, the AKC was informed that Eckhart was falsely representing himself in order to obtain registrations for his dogs. An inspector investigated the situation and determined that he was registering dogs, fraudulently, under the name Skip Eckhart. As a result, all dogs and litters from Mr. Eckhart's operation that were registered from 1994 were canceled. The individuals who owned those dogs received letters from the AKC explaining the situation. In August 2002, the AKC Board of Directors approved a “hardship policy” which allowed reinstatement of affected dogs whose parentage was not in question and were not owned or co-owned by the Eckharts.In September 2002, the AKC filed a civil suit against the Eckharts and was granted a temporary injunction pending this trial.