RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Certified dog trainers are speaking out about alleged dog abuse at a dog training academy in Rapides Parish.
As we first reported, videos allegedly taken inside the academy are sparking outrage and a criminal investigation. Trainers are hoping this incident will spark change in the dog training community.
As many have described the videos as barbaric and cruel and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office investigates possible animal abuse, certified dog trainers from across the country say the videos highlight a huge problem in the industry.
“First and foremost, it is blatant animal abuse. There is no room in any context for that use of force with any breed,” Darcy Nunno, owner and head trainer at Compassionate Canine Training Services in Colorado Springs, said.
When asked what the line was between training and abuse, these dog trainers agree physical harm won’t happen.
“I think at the end of the day, we never need to put our hands on a dog. Period,” Michelle MeGill, a certified dog trainer at Victoria Stillwell Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said.
“Appropriate training should never look like abuse. It should be pretty black or white. It is or is not,” Nunno added.
Both agree the dog trainer at Cypress Arrow K-9 Academy’s techniques are abuse. They said they hope these videos highlight a huge problem in the U.S.
“America currently does not have a unifying licensing or certifying process for dog trainers or animal behavior professionals,” Nunno told News 10.
The trainers say you don’t need any kind of certification to open your own training business.
“There are no regulations in this field. You could wake up tomorrow and say, ‘I’m a dog trainer,’ and go out and start training dogs,” Karen Chapdelaine, certified dog trainer and owner of an academy in New Hampshire, said.
“So any Tom, Dick, and Harry can say, ‘Hi, yes. I love dogs, and now I’m a dog trainer.’ But that doesn’t mean that you’re educated on the most updated science of dog behavior, which is what we need more of,” MeGill added.
These professionals say when you’re searching for a dog trainer for your pet, make sure they are certified by a reputable agency. They say reputable agencies include International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, or IIABC, and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, or CCPDT. IAABC also has a behavior consultant search feature on their website.
News 10 tried searching for Cypress Arrow K-9 Academy’s website to see if their trainers are certified or are a certified academy, however, their website and Facebook page have both been deleted.
In new developments on the investigation, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office searched Cypress Arrow K-9 Academy on Friday. Deputies seized security recordings and numerous items.
Sheriff Mark Wood says the case is on the top of their agenda. He promises this is not going to be swept under the rug and will be handled in a very serious manner.