A Johnson City vet said she treated a dog who suffered from shock collar injuries while on board at the Off Leash K9 training facility.
Dr Dana Still, who practices at the Veterinary Medical Center, said it was the summer of 2016 when Blue’s owner brought him in with concerns about his eyes. Blue, a Great Dane, was about 11 months old at the time and had been in the facility for about three weeks.
Still said Blue’s eyes were bright red and itchy and he was suffering from conjunctivitis. She discovered more details when she removed her necklace.
“The coach picked up Blue from our clinic for a week,” Still said. “The owner was also there and he was aware of the dog’s previous condition. I made it a point to speak with the trainer in the lobby.
Still provided News Channel 11 with more details on the results of Blue’s time with the trainer.
“Her neck was so edematous and swollen above (her collar) that I took off her normal collar and you could tell where that shock collar had sunk into her neck, leaving little claw marks,” he said. Still said. I said to the owner, “This is from the shock collar,” it was so tight around her neck and, I guess, left there the entire time, that it damaged her skin and eyes.
She said Blue also suffered from anxiety after the incident, to the point that he suffered from severe diarrhea every time he went to the vet.
“I told him (to the trainer) that there was no excuse he had been in this state and that he was not the same happy dog he had been in the past.” , Still said. “The coach got absolutely no response and took Blue out the door.”
Always added that Blue had been coming to his office since he was a puppy and was always friendly with the staff.
“He was a different dog, it took a while for her to relax again and be her old self, which is sad because everyone noticed the huge difference,” she said.
Almost three years after Blue left the facility, another dog, an 8 month old miniature bull terrier named Dallas, starved to death at the facility.
The dog’s death led to the arrest of Randi LaFerney, the owner of the facility, and a trainer, Andrew Hunigan. The couple face animal cruelty charges.
LaFerney released a statement earlier today on the animal abuse charges, stating: “The first time I laid eyes on Dallas other than his puppy consultation in December was on May 2 after receiving a heartbreaking call that he was dead. ”
Read the full statement here.
Shock collars are sometimes used in training to get a dog’s attention, but Still said they need to be used with care.
“If you use a shock collar, put it on yourself and see what level you set it on,” she said. “If you’re going to put it on a 10 and put it around a dog’s neck, see how much you shock him.”
(This story has been edited to reflect comments from Always Responding to Trainer)