2 of the 15 adult dogs are co-owned with a girl that mom trusted and showed with extensively no contract agreement - just verbal. The girl also was the handler for most of the dogs at the shows. I did not know mom co-owned any dogs until her death.. talk about a shock.
Long story short - the girl assumed (wrongly) that in the event of death of one of the co-owners full owner ship automatically goes to the other owners on the papers. She came and took the two dogs from the yard without letting me or mom's significant other know. Then she bred one of them who had had 8 of the puppies mentioned above 8 months ago. That in itself really ticked me off - mom never ever bred a dog the next heat after having puppies. It's just too hard on them.
This all came to a boiling point when she called me asking for the dogs papers so she would be able to register the litter of puppies. I told her I could not do that as I hadn't been able to bring myself to transfer ownership to myself yet. Just not something I was (am still not) emotionally ready to handle. I was promptly informed that since mom was gone now she didn't need me to sign and just wanted the papers. I of course said "no - not until I call AKC'.
So next day I called AKC and talked to a very helpful person.
Me "hello - long story short my mom passed away and she has 15 registered dogs that I need transfer to me - what are my steps"
AKC "fill out "Statement of Legal Rights" form on our website - have it notarized and send back to us. Then you can start transferring by filling out the back side of the registration papers"
Me "What about dogs she co-owned?"
AKC "Same process"
Me "Ok to clarify - I fill out, notarize, and send you this Statement of Legal Rights, I can then fill out the back of the registration papers and send in. This includes the co-owned dogs - I don't need the other owners signatures to just transfer mom's portion to me?"
AKC "That is correct"
So I do all of that - and call the other owner and let her know what I was doing. And also to work out something contractual with her. She then tells me she wants the dogs free and clear. Well oh hell no! To top it off she is now not telling me where she's keeping the dogs, and she won't bring them back to mom's house.
Bruce, mom's siggy for 15 yrs, is really ticked off. One thing I've learned is you never ever piss off a farmer with money! Bruce has hired a lawyer for me and I am now pursuing legal action to get my dogs back.
The really sad thing about this is I was more than willing to work out an agreement where the dogs lived with her, they were registered in both our names, and mom's kennel name on all puppies, in return they would only be bred x amount times and after that come back home to moms.
You may ask "what's the big deal - they are just dogs". Well to mom - they were not just dogs. They were her passion. Every single one she was there for the birth, she cared for every one of them. She was very selective in breeding so that she ended up with some of the most perfect Collies in both confirmation and personality. They were all pets first, show dogs second, and breeding dogs last.
I don't know what I'm going to do with all of them - some will definitely stay with Bruce on the farm. One I know for sure I'm selling as a show dog - he'd make a great 4-H project. Shade, I am going to show next year in mom's honor and take him as far as we can go. I may continue mom's path as breeding the best Collie's I can to improve the breed, I may just keep them all as pets, or I may sell them. No idea really - just that it feels like I'm splitting up a family and it all breaks my heart.
Oh and the puppies - I kept two that mom had wanted to keep and they are currently being shown by a great friend, Lorie. Hank and Ivy are doing really well. Another friend, Lilah, has another of the puppies - she got the pick of the litter, and she is doing excellent at the shows. She's our next champion. All the rest of them except one I sold as pets. If I win this legal battle I'm going to end up with more puppies.. oh boy...
Oh and the happy ending I promised. The last puppy I was not able to sell found his forever home yesterday with a great friend of mine and her two kids. This little boy is the PERFECT puppy - no honestly. Very quiet, not excitable, doesn't jump on people, just very nice. Amazing considering he has not had any socialization at all and he's already 8 months old. Thank you Jen, Mattie, and Killian!