LENA, LA. (CALB) – On Wednesday, August 10, videos began circulating on social media that appear to show dogs being abused at Cypress Arrow Kennel and K-9 Academy. Those videos quickly spread across the country, and calls began to close the academy in Lena.
Kayci Gonzales’ dog, Yassie, is pushed to the ground by a trainer at Cypress Arrow in one of the videos.
“It’s ridiculous, it’s not necessary,” Gonzales told KALB. “She’s sweet. There’s no reason for a dog to be treated that way, but especially not for someone as mild as she is.”
Gonzales went to police and said she hopes others with negative experiences at K-9 Academy will come forward as well.
Randy and Dana Thomas did just that and came forward to share their story. They bought their Cane Corso Mia from Cypress Arrow. They said she was gentle until she was sent to a month-long obedience training at K-9 Academy. When Mia returned from training, she became aggressive towards the other family dogs, which led to the Thomas enrolling the dog in Cypress Arrow’s advanced obedience class. Instead of solving their problems, they said that Mia came home worse than before, biting even relatives.
“I believe she was treated that way, beaten into submission there (Cypress Arrow) because we never had those issues with her until she came back,” Randy said.
“The videos circulating made me think, you know what, this is exactly why she (Mia) is the way she is,” Dana said.
With even more trouble with their dog, the Thomas’s again reached out to Cypress Arrow’s owner, Tina Frey, for help. They claim Frey told them the following:
“The advice I was given was to go to Walmart, get a wiffle ball bat and punch her in the face,” Dana said. “I can’t, morally I can’t. I don’t want my dog to be afraid of me, I want her respect. I don’t want her to be scared, we don’t hit dogs.”
“That’s what the owner of Cypress Arrow told us, grab a bat and punch her in the face,” Randy said.
Despite her sometimes aggressive behavior, the Thomas’ Mia have not given up.
“I have a lot of hope for her, which is why she’s still here,” Dana said. “It’s not her fault.”
“She’s a good dog, deep down, she’s a really good dog,” Randy said. “We love our dogs, she’s part of the family, she’s a sweetheart.”
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the animal cruelty videos, but several people claim that Frey, the owner of Cypress Arrow, has ties to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Mark Wood told KALB that Frey was appointed to the sheriff’s office in 2019 as an unpaid reserve deputy, who is basically a volunteer for RPSO.
“The reason she was here, as far as I understand, is that she had a service of some dogs, like bloodhounds or whatever, that she could use for search and rescue,” Sheriff Wood said. “That was her assignment when she was here.”
Sheriff Wood said that when the agency was alerted about the animal cruelty allegations, Frey was suspended as a reserve deputy, with diplomas revoked. He also addressed rumors that Frey has been training RPSO K9s.
“She never trained any of our dogs. We get most of our dogs from North Carolina, that’s where our dogs come from,” Sheriff Wood said. “We’ve never asked her. Since I’ve been here, I’ve never asked her, and to my knowledge, she’s never been asked or trained by any of our dogs.”
When asked about the status of RPSO’s investigation into Cypress Arrow, the sheriff said it could take some time to get all the answers.
“The video is very disturbing, horrifying to many people, but that should not cloud our judgment. We have to investigate, we have to go where the evidence takes us, where the facts take us, we can’t just blow up and do things. So I just want the public to know we’re on top of this, we’re investigating. Believe it or not, this is a special kind of case, and we need to get all our I’s and T’s crossed. “
RPSO said the investigation is ongoing and is asking anyone with information about the alleged animal cruelty at Cypress Arrow to contact them.
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