Authorities have re-opened a previously closed investigation into a pet training facility in Washington State.
The initial investigation came in response to a video of a trainer hitting a dog with a plastic bat.
The video circulating on Facebook shows a trainer hitting a dog with a plastic bat over and over. It is sparking outrage.
Snohomish County Animal Services say in June, an anonymous person sent them the video recorded at the Academy of Canine Behavior, so an animal control officer went to investigate unannounced.
“There was some behavior that we were concerned about,” County Auditor Carolyn Weikel said.
Officials say the officer interviewed the trainer, staff, and a manager, who said the dog in the video was getting alpha training for being really aggressive.
“It may not look appropriate, but it is not harmful to the animal and it is used in very rare occasions for training dogs that are very aggressive,” Weikel said.
Animal services decided the trainer’s behavior in the video didn’t rise to the level of animal cruelty.
The case was closed.
“The tool they were using was a wiffle bat that had been modified to cause a snap, I would say, but no harm to the animal,” Weikel said. “It’s more loud than anything.”
But now, officials say they’re investigating new complaints about the dog school from former workers.
Officials aren’t sure if the new allegations are tied to the video.
“We have received one or two other calls from individuals saying they had witnessed other events at that location, and we will be investigating those as well in the future,” Weikel said.
The Academy of Canine Behavior sent CNN a statement saying in part, “The Academy of Canine Behavior’s owners do not condone the treatment of animals in our care as shown in a 2-year old video recently released by a disgruntled former employee. The employees shown and heard in this video are no longer in our employ or have been reassigned.”
Officials have not cited the company with any violations.
The company says its trainers are supervised at all times and approved through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Evaluator Program.