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

In Your Corner

WARNING- There are photos posted at the bottom of this story that may be upsetting to some viewers. 

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A local dog owner is searching for answers after their dog died in the care of a Johnson City training facility.

Randi LaFerney, the owner of Off Leash K9 Training, and trainer Andrew Hunigan are facing aggravated animal cruelty charges after a dog reportedly died while being boarded at the facility. 

Director of the Washington County, Tennessee Animal Shelter Tammy Davis said they were notified about the death on Thursday, May 2nd. 

“From the pictures we have acquired, it appears the dog’s death could have been and should have been prevented,” Davis said. 

According to the Washington County Animal Control investigation, the 8-month-old miniature bull terrier was taken to Off Leash on March 18th.

It was initially scheduled for a two-week stay.

At the time, the dog weighed about 32 pounds, according to animal control. 

At the request of the company, the owners extended the stay of the dog for its obedience training.

The dog was there for about 6 weeks in total. 

According to Bob King, the dog owner‘s attorney, the family was told they couldn’t visit the dog during his stay because they said it would interrupt his training.

King said the family was never informed of any health problems until Wednesday, May 1st. 

According to Davis, that’s when the family was told the dog had died.

The family told investigators that LaFerney planned to cremate the body until they requested otherwise.

The owners picked up the body on May 2nd.

When they picked up the miniature bull terrier, the dog’s body weighed about 16 pounds.

That’s when the family called the Washington County Animal Shelter and animal control asking for help. 

According to Davis, the dog had regular vet appointments and there was no reason to believe the dog was unhealthy going into the facility.

Davis said the facility owner told them the dog became lodged in its kennel and died from injuries.

Davis said each dog going into this facility is assigned to one trainer. The trainer involved with the miniature bull terrier has worked there for several years, according to LaFerney.

Davis said there are no previous complaints or investigations in animal control records against the facility.

The dog’s body has been sent to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy

When we reached out to Off Leash K9 Training, LaFerney sent us the following statement:

“We are all saddened by Dallas’s death.  The incident in question is being reviewed and investigated by the appropriate parties, and we are cooperating fully with the investigation.”

No court date for LaFerney or the trainer has been set yet.

We want to warn you the photos below may be graphic to some viewers. As reported above, when the miniature bull terrier was picked up, the dog’s body, as shown below, only weighed 16 pounds.

Stay with News Channel 11 as we continue to follow this developing story. 

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