An Oshawa dog trainer will spend the holiday weekend in jail after being charged with four counts of animal cruelty.
Craig Wright, the 42-year-old owner of FACW K-9 Training and Rehabilitation Centre Inc., was arrested Thursday at his Waterloo Street business.
“This is crazy. What is going on now? Animal cruelty? I didn’t do anything. We went through this already,” Wright yelled in a CityTV news video as he was handcuffed by Durham police officers.
Police allege Wright or his staff kicked dogs, hanged them from leashes and allowed them to fight.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also laid three charges against Wright: permitting distress of an animal, causing distress of an animal and failing to provide adequate standards of care.
There was no answer at FACW’s office Friday morning. A woman who answered the phone at a second number associated with the business refused to comment.
Wright was also charged earlier this week with obstructing police after allegedly telling two different stories about what happened to a missing border collie.
“We have lost a few dogs, yes we have,” Wright told a group of reporters before his arrest, “but we haven’t hurt any dogs.”
The missing collie, Chevy, belonged to Linda Fry and Bob Amey, who had only been in possession of the dog for a day when they say they entrusted it to Wright on May 8.
Chevy was a farm dog, not housebroken, and with a number of behavioural issues, but the couple “fell in love” with the dog and thought he could be the perfect playmate for Tori, their other collie.
But they knew Chevy first needed some obedience training.
They happened upon Wright and FACW accidentally while seeking a dog-training business across the street. Fry and Amey said didn’t take long for Wright to convince them to pay $900 for a month’s worth of training that promised to transform Chevy into the perfect house pet.
“I was a very trusting person,” Fry said. “He really came across as if he knew exactly what he was doing.”
The next day, Fry and Amey say they called Wright to say they would be picking up their dog to take him to see a veterinarian.
They claim Wright told them the dog ran away, gave them confusing answers as to where it happened and then stopped answering their calls.
Fry said she worries Chevy was sold to a puppy mill because he was purebred and not neutered. She said Wright had earlier argued for “keeping the dog intact.”
“We don’t know what he actually did with this dog,” she said. “Nobody does.”
Wright’s arrest has prompted other former customers to come forward with allegations about how their pets mysteriously disappeared in his care. They have posted photos of their missing pets in the Facebook group, Help Shut Down FACW K9 Training, and many describe Wright as a smooth-talking salesman who became evasive when they inquired about the whereabouts of their animals.
The OSPCA has removed any dogs that were in Wright’s care. He remains in jail pending a bail hearing next week.
Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact Det. Morrisette at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 3617. Anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or http://www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca/.
*The Toronto Star