Controversy Mars French Bulldog Group Win at Westminster

Bru showing at Wesminster

Bru showing at Wesminster, with handler Perry Payson

Bru (Ch Robobull Fabelhaft I’m on Fire) broke records by winning a non sporting group first at Monday night’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show, but it’s one of his co owners who is currently making headlines.

Bru’s win has been tarnished by revelations that his co owner, Marion Hulick, was involved in the notorious “Horse Murder” scandal of the Nineties.

From the New York Post

She’s known to Westminster Dog Show fans for her prized French bulldog — and to the equine set for her heinous role in the slaying of a valuable horse for insurance money.

Marion Hulick, 75, proudly watched as her adorable canine, I’m On Fire, made history at the Madison Square Garden dog competition Monday night, becoming the first of his breed to score top honors in the Non-Sporting Group.

But some onlookers said they were sickened after realizing that Hulick is the former horse trainer who helped a low-life, animal hit man kill one of her charges in the Putnam Country town of Brewster 20 years ago at the behest of her boss, cellphone heir George Lindemann Jr.

“I guarantee that if Michael Vick walked into the Westminster Dog Show, he would be chased out. And yet, there’s somebody famous for killing horses and everybody is smiling and clapping,” said a former local groom, referring to NFL star Vick, who did time for running a dogfighting club.

Witnesses at Hulick’s trial said she met with the killer, Tommy Burns, offering him a $35,000 cut of the $250,000insurance money to kill the show animal, Charisma, on Dec. 15, 1990. She led Burns to the horse’s stall, one witness recalled.

Burns then attached a metal clip to the horse’s ear and another to his hindquarters and plugged a wire from them to an outlet, electrocuting him.

Hulick landed a 21-month sentence for her role. She served six months in federal prison. Burns and Lindemann also were convicted and served time.

Last night at the dog show, she called the whole ordeal “a mistake of a young person I was working for.”

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On various French Bulldog discussion lists, friends and acquaintances of Marion’s have come forward to defend her as a good woman who did a bad thing, but regrets it. Marion’s own words paint the picture of a woman who was forced into an activity against her will. Court transcripts, however, paint a more chilling picture.

Ward told him to call “Cellular Farms,” the horse farm of the Lindemann family, and to speak to Marion Hulick, Lindemann’s horse trainer and a co-defen- dant in this action. Two sequential calls were then made by Burns to Hulick at Cellular Farms.

Hulick told Burns that “they had a horse which needed to be killed at their farm.” One of Ward’s employees drove Burns to Cellular Farms at around 4:00 p.m. where he was taken directly to Hulick’s apartment. In the apart- ment, Burns met Gerald Shepard, an acquaintance who was inquiring about a position at Cellular Farms. Out- side of Shepard’s hearing, Hulick told Burns that the killing had to be completed that day because “George” wanted it done while he was in Asia and because Charisma was scheduled to travel to Florida the next day. Hulick told Burns that the amount of the insurance policy was $250,000 and Burns demanded ten percent of the proceeds in ex- change for the killing. Hulick responded that “George” would pay whatever it took.

Burns, Hulick and Shepard then drove to a remote area of the farm so that Hulick could point out a back road by which Burns could enter the premises that night. The three then went to the stable area. To indicate which horse was to be killed, Hulick entered the stall of only one horse, whose name plate read “Charisma.” Prior to Burns’ departure, Hulick assured him that she would see to it that the staff was out that night and that she would lock up the dogs so that his presence would not be de- tected.

There’s a big difference between being forced, unwilling, into a crime you have no taste for, and voluntarily offering to lock up the dogs so that no one hears the screams of a horse being electrocuted.

The black mark that this paints across our breed, and across the well deserved glory of Bru’s win, has been damaging to the reputations of not just the parties involved, but to our breed as a whole.

I can’t see it blowing over any time soon.