Knoxville woman shares similar allegations about Off Leash K9 Training Johnson City location

In Your Corner

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- One day after News Channel 11 revealed a dog died in the care of Off Leash K9 Training in Johnson City, another woman is speaking out about their “extreme training methods.” 

Amanda Asbury is the president and founder of East Tennessee Boxer & Bulldog Rescue in Knoxville, Tennessee, which she described as a nonprofit rehabilitation organization. 

In the Fall of 2015, Asbury said she paid Off Leash Owner Randi LaFerney $1,400 to board her 3-year-old boxer ‘Gunner’ for what was intended to be two weeks. 

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

But Asbury said two weeks turned to six.

“I wasn’t being given justifiable reasons as to why it was taking so long,” said Asbury. 

Finally, she said she put her foot down, demanding to pick up the dog and withholding an additional payment of $700 from LaFerney.

“I cannot ethically, knowingly, with my heart give money to someone who I know abused an animal,” said Asbury.

Asbury said, when she picked up Gunner, he had lost 25 pounds, about a third of his body weight. 

She said he was healthy when he arrived at Off Leash K9 Training. 

“It didn’t even look like the same dog. I mean I could see his hip bones, his ribs,” said Asbury. 

Asbury said she didn’t realize the facility’s training methods were so extreme. She claimed they withhold food for long periods and use shock collars with high intensity to get dogs to respond to training. 

For example, when she went to pick up Gunner, Asbury said he wasn’t responding to the trainer’s commands. That’s when she said she witnessed them use the collar with her own eyes. 

“At one point, they had shocked him so much that the capillaries in his eyes actually ruptured and started bleeding and at that point, I was done,” said Asbury. 

When she brought the dog home, she said problems persisted. 

“His spirit was gone. I mean, he just wasn’t the same dog,” said Asbury. “Every time he’d eat, he’d throw up.” 

Years later, Asbury is encouraging dog owners to ask more questions and be more skeptical of supposed professional dog trainers. 

She said there are no licensing or permitting requirements in Tennessee for dog training facilities. 

Francis Lloyd, Asbury’s attorney, confirmed Thursday that she did try to due LaFerney for damages following the incident. Lloyd said he advised her not to go through with it since the money she stood to gain would’ve likely been less than the expense of the lawsuit. 

LaFerney declined News Channel 11’s request for an interview Thursday because she’s in the process of getting an attorney. 

In a statement Wednesday, LaFerney said she is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation into aggravated animal cruelty at her facility. 

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