Tri-Cities dog training company charged with animal cruelty after dog dies in care


OF ITS TRAINERS NOW FACE ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES AFTER A DOG REPORTEDLY DIED IN THEIR CARE. GOOD EVENING, I’M JOSH SMITH. AND I’M SARA DIAMOND. NEWS CHANNEL 11 LEARNED “RANDI LAFERNEY,” THE OWNER OF “OFF LEASH K-9 TRAINING” AND TRAINER “ANDREW HUNIGAN” ARE CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ANIMAL CRUELTY. WASHINGTON COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL TOLD US THE 8-MONTH-OLD MINIATURE BULL TERRIER WAS TAKEN TO THE FACILITY IN MARCH. WE ALERTED VIEWERS TO CHARGES AND NEW DETAILS IN THE CASE IN A BREAKING NEWS TEXT ALERT AND ON WJHL DOT COM. WE WANT TO WARN YOU — SOME OF THE PICTURES YOU WILL SEE IN A MOMENT ARE GRAPHIC AND MAY BE UPSETTING. JACKIE DEFUSCO JOINS US LIVE IN JOHNSON CITY – WORKING TO GET ANSWERS FOR A GRIEVING FAMILY. JOSH, SARA THE DOG OWNERS ATTORNEY SAYS HIS CLIENTS WERE TOLD VISITING THEIR DOG WOULD INTERRUPT HIS TRAINING. HE SAYS THEY WERE NEVER INFORMED OF ANY HEALTH PROBLEMS UNTIL THE DAY THEY WERE TOLD THEIR DOG PASSED AWAY. AS YOU MENTIONED–THER E ARE SOME DISTURBING IMAGES IN THIS STORY BUT WE THOUGHT IT WAS CRITICAL TO SHOW THEM. WHEN HIS OWNER LEFT HIM AT OFF LEASH K-9 TRANIING IN JOHNSON CITY TO BE BOARDED THIS 8-MONTH OLD MINATURE BULL TERRIER WEIGHED ABOUT 32 POUNDS… “WE HAVE VETERANARY RECORDS THAT SHOW THE DOG HAD BEEN VERY WELL TAKEN CARE OF AND HAD A REGULAR VETERINARIAN CARING FOR THAT DOG BEFORE IT WENT INTO THE TRAINING FACILITY.” BUT ABOUT 6 WEEKS LATER… THAT SAME DOG WAS REPORTED DEAD…WEIGHING JUST 16 POUNDS. “THERE ARE MULTIPLE REASONS THAT ANIMALS CAN LOSE WEIGHT BUT THIS IS AN EXTREME CASE.” “THAT IS BY FAR TO ME THE SKINNIEST DOG THAT I’VE SEEN.” THAT’S HOW WASHINGTON COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN THE CASE. AMID THEIR ONGOING INVESTIGATION–THE OWNER OF THE FACILITY AND THE DOG’S TRAINER ARE NOW FACING CHARGES OF AGGRAVATED ANIMAL CRUELTY. “IT APPEARS THAT THE DOGS DEATH COULD’VE BEEN PREVENTED AND SHOULD’VE BEEN PREVENTED.” RANDI LAFERNEY–THE OWNER OF THE FACILITY–TOLD THE FAMILY THAT THE DOG DIED AFTER GETTING CAUGHT IN A WIRE KENNEL. “THEY WERE TOLD THAT MORNING BY THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY THAT THE DOG HAD STRANGLED ITSELF AT SOME POINT IN THE NIGHT AFTER THE TRAINER ANDY HAD WALKED THE DOG.” THE DOG OWNERS WANTED TO SEE THE BODY. AT FIRST–THE OWNER OF THE FACILITY ALLEGEDLY PLANNED TO HAVE IT CREMATED “WHEN ASKED TO MEET UP WITH THE DOGS BODY SO THAT THEY CAN RECIEVE THEIR DOG, SHE CLAIMED SHE WAS ON THE WAY TO THE CREMATORY FACILITY.” THE DOGS BODY HAS SINCE BEEN SENT TO THE UNIVERISTY OF TENNESSEE TO DETERMINE ITS CAUSE OF DEATH. IN A STATEMENT–THE FACILITY’S OWNER SAYS THEY TOO ARE SADDENED BY THIS INCIDENT AND THAT THEY’RE FULLY COOPERATING WITH INVESTIGATORS. THE OWNER OF OFF LEASH K9 TRAINING TELLS ME ALL OF THEIR EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF THIS DOG, HAVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. WASHINGTON COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL SAYS THIS IS THE ONLY COMPLAINT THEY HAVE ON RECORD REGARDING THIS FACILITY. LIVE IN JOHNSON CITY, JACKIE DEFUSCO, NEWS CHANNEL 11, IN YOUR CORNER JACKIE, THANKS. A COURT DATE HAS NOT YET BEEN SET FOR THE CASE.

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