Friday, May 27, 2011

Detectives Seek Help In Local Dog Abuse Case

DURHAM -- Nearly two years after her dog went missing from FACW K9 Training and Rehabilitation Centre, Janet Grandy is angered but not surprised by the animal cruelty charges the facility's owner is now facing. The Keswick resident recently told This Week that her dog went missing in August 2009 while in the care of Craig Wright.

Mr. Wright, 42, of Oshawa, is facing four criminal counts of cruelty to animals, on top of charges by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. All charges are unrelated to Ms. Grandy's story, and none of the charges have been proven in court. Mr. Wright was arrested on May 18 and remains in custody.

Police are now looking at a new aspect of the investigation, Sgt. Nancy van Rooy told This Week on Wednesday. "Now we've become aware that he may have had previous identities or aliases," she said. On the Facebook page 'Help Shut Down FACW K9 Training', a number of people allege Mr. Wright has gone by the name of Adam Stone in the past, and say they've experienced similar problems when he trained their dogs.

Ms. Grandy is one of several dog owners who have contacted This Week to tell their story since Mr. Wright's arrest. In the summer of 2009, Ms. Grandy's daughter contacted Mr. Wright after finding his advertisement on the website Kijiji, seeking help to control the barking of their shepherd mix, Jake, and Pomeranian, Kodiak. When the trainer attended Ms. Grandy's home to evaluate the dogs, "he seemed like a very pleasant man. He really does know how to present himself when he wants to." On July 28, Mr. Wright returned and took Jake, 12, and Kodiak, 4, back to his facility, along with $860 for his services, rather than Ms. Grandy dropping them off. Ms. Grandy never saw Kodiak again. "It's very frustrating because we have no closure,"she said. "I mean, my dogs are like my children."

Oshawa resident Jo-Ann Gilfoy also hired Mr. Wright and took her dog Bentley, a Shih tzu, to FACW in south Oshawa last January. She said a couple of times she went to the facility to visit Bentley, and wasn't allowed to see him. When she was allowed, she noticed Bentley's paws were raw from the ice and he seemed scared. Her mother's Shih tzu, Kelputz, also spent a couple of days there, but they quickly pulled him out after noticing the problems with Bentley. Bentley now wears a muzzle any time he goes for a walk and whenever a visitor enters the home. Kelputz was equally traumatized after two days of training, she said. "No man can ever go near him now,"Ms. Gilfoy said. The dogs had some behavioural issues before seeing Mr. Wright, but on a much lower scale, Ms. Gilfoy said. She was going through chemotherapy for cancer treatment when Bentley entered her life and he spent most of his time indoors with her and wasn't properly socialized. "He's bitten someone since he's come home,"she said."He has never bitten anyone prior."

She sought a lawyer to sue Mr. Wright soon after she realized the change in both dogs' behaviour and plans on proceeding. "I don't know what they did to my dog while he was down there,"she said."That's why it hurts so much." Ms. Grandy doesn't know what happened to her dogs either and has no idea where Kodiak ended up. On Aug. 16, 2009, she got a phone call from Mr. Wright saying he'd taken her dogs to the off-leash park at the Greenwood Conservation Area in Ajax and Kodiak took off and never returned. After Mr. Wright took her on a fruitless search for the dog, Ms. Grandy began a search of her own, making the drive from Keswick to Ajax each day. She started in Greenwood, but that was unsuccessful. "We walked miles,"she said."It was crazy."

Next, she visited the address Mr. Wright had originally given her for the training facility, but found only an apartment building and a superintendent who had never heard of the dog trainer. Since Mr. Wright had given her an Ajax address as well, she then assumed he was training his dogs from his home. She started posting missing dog flyers around the neighbourhood. She was soon sued by Mr. Wright for $25,000 for defamation of character. She counter-sued him for not reimbursing her after Kodiak went missing. In the end, she had to pay him $100 and he had to pay her $1,450. She's received $400 so far, she said. Ms. Grandy could see a change in Jake immediately after picking him up when she learned Kodiak had gone missing, but not the one she'd originally hoped for. "You could see a glaze over his eyes," she said. Jake hasn't stopped barking, but his owner refuses to get him help.

Anyone with information on Mr. Wright or his possible aliases is asked to call Detective Mark Morissette at 905-579-1520, ext. 3617.