A Bothell, Washington dog training school is (once again) under investigation after disturbing video was posted to Facebook showing a trainer beating a dog with a plastic bat while the person behind the camera giggled.
For the first 40-seconds of video, Academy of Canine Behavior “senior trainer” Carie Taylor is seen leading a dog calmly around the training center on leash, asking him to perform basic cues while she carried a plastic ball bat in her right hand.
Suddenly, at about the 41-second mark, the dog apparently stepped too close to Taylor, who immediately whacked the startled dog with the bat, saying “get off me.”
Seconds later, the dog appears to show interest in the person holding the video camera. Taylor says “no,” and begins a shocking display of brutally beating the dog as he yelps, barks, cowers, and tries to get away.
The person recording the video can be heard giggling in the background.
Please be warned, this video is difficult to watch:
Following the video release, on Tuesday The Academy of Canine Behavior issued an apology and says Snohomish County Animal Control investigated and cleared the school of wrongdoing:
“The Academy of Canine Behavior’s owners do not condone the treatment of animals in our care as shown in a two-year old video recently released by a disgruntled former employee.
The employees shown and heard in this video are no longer in our employ or have been reassigned.
Snohomish County Animal Control investigated the situation in July 2018. No citations or warnings were issued. This was the first time AOCB had been made aware of the video, and disciplinary actions were taken against the Trainers.”
The AoCB has since deactivated their Facebook page.
However, recent customers of the training school refute the center’s claims, saying the trainer seen in the video was still working there as recently as this week.
Potential client, Fran Primrose, posted the following statement to Facebook, “This facility charges top dollar for board & trains – and I had a consult just this week with the trainer featured in this video scaring and hitting a dog with a plastic bat but decided against the facility due to their dirty overcrowded kennels. When this video later came to light I was appalled and grateful I didn’t leave my dog there.”
Last month, Snohomish County Animal Control officials received the above video anonymously and conducted an unannounced visit and investigation at the center.
“There was some behavior we were concerned about,” Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel told KOMO. Officials said the officer interviewed the trainer, staff and a manager, who said the dog in the video was getting, “alpha training” for aggression.
Animal control determined that the training methods used did not rise to the level of cruelty and no charges were filed. “This particular dog was strong-minded. He was aggressive,” said Weikel. “It may not look appropriate, but it is not harmful to the animal and it is used in very rare occasions for training dogs that are very aggressive.”
She added, “the tool they were using was a Wiffle bat that had been modified to cause a snap, you would say, but no harm to the animal. It’s more loud that anything.”
Although no charges were brought against the Academy last month, recent complaints against the school from former employees has prompted additional investigation by Snohomish County Animal Control.
Others have stepped forward on social media, revealing personal accounts and photos of disturbing conditions and treatment of animals in the training school’s care.
Officials are now beginning investigations by starting with new complaints and allegations that have been made. We will update this article when new information is available.
In the meantime, remember to carefully and thoroughly vet potential trainers, boarding facilities, and animal caregivers before untrusting them with the care of your furriest family members.