K9 off-leash training tactics questioned in other states

The Off Leash K9 formation tactic has been questioned in other states.

The national franchise’s Johnson City location is being investigated for aggravated animal cruelty after a dog allegedly died in their care.

Local Off Leash owner Randi LaFerney said all locations are independently owned and operated.

LaFerney said she does not own the other locations that dog owners and investigators told News Channel 11 on Friday.

Danelle Haag’s Great Dane Bruno was boarded at Off Leash K9 Training in Sarasota, Florida in July 2018.

Haag said her dog weighed 140 pounds, but only weighed 117 pounds when she picked him up from the trainer two weeks later.

“The vet said a few more days and he may not have come home. I think we were very close to losing it,” Haag said.

Haag said the coach sent him photos during boarding. Four days before the pickup, she noticed he looked leaner than usual, but said the trainer wasn’t transparent about how much weight he had lost.

“I mean he just looked bad. He had wounds on his elbows. You could see every rib of his body. He was completely beside himself,” Haag said.

Haag thinks Bruno got sores because he was in a cage that was too small for him.

She also worries that the facility used excessive shock training and starvation to get her dog to obey commands.

Haag said Bruno collapsed from exhaustion the day she drove him home.

She said she contacted Off Leash about her concerns, but they fell on deaf ears. “I felt like they were protecting themselves and refusing to accept any responsibility,” Haag said.

In a statement, Dan Wallen of the Sarasota plant said:

“Our goal is for every client and every dog ​​to have a great experience with our training services. In the unusual event that a customer is unhappy, we try to see what we can do to improve the experience. In our view, Mrs. Haag gives one side of a story. For example, she texted us to tell us how happy she was with the training after it was completed and how her dog was doing. It wasn’t until later that she decided she wasn’t happy and suddenly demanded a refund. Of course, we keep records of communications with customers. I guess she didn’t provide you with those positive messages after the training.

When asked to provide past communications, Wallen said they didn’t want to revisit the matter because legal counsel was involved.

Haag said she contacted police about the incident, originally intending to sue for damages. She said she decided against it because her lawyer advised her that the money she could make was not worth the costs of the trial.

Haag’s alleged problems with the Off Leash franchise are not without precedent.

That same summer, a trainer hired by Off Leash K9 Training in Providence, Rhode Island was investigated after a dog she boarded was found dead, decomposing in her closet.

“Circumstantially, we believed something had happened to this dog trying to be concealed,” said Earl Newman, a special agent with the Human Law Enforcement Division of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention. of Cruelty to Animals.

Newman said the trainer has never been charged with animal cruelty.

He said they were never able to determine the dog’s cause of death due to the advanced decomposition of the body. He said the dog had probably been dead for two months by the time they found his remains.

He said the trainer was charged with a false report for allegedly misleading Massachusetts law enforcement officials about the whereabouts of the dog.

Newman said cases like this point to a bigger problem in the dog training industry. “At least in Rhode Island, no professional qualification is required. Anyone can basically say they’re a coach, so it’s very difficult to keep them at a certain level,” Newman said.

Newman said he believed the employee responsible for caring for the dog was still training in the area.

The Off Leash K9 Training Center in Providence, Rhode Island, declined News Channel 11’s request for comment.

Will Freeman, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, said he does not license, inspect or regulate dog training facilities in the state.

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