Family members recall lost pets amid renewed phone calls for regulation of dog education business

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KGO) — Two-and-a-50 percent several years in the past, the families of Thor and Huckleberry sent their dogs to the treatment of Benjamin Friedenberg of Soquel. The family members haven’t observed their pet dogs given that, and Friendenberg is just not stating what occurred to them. It truly is the most up-to-date in a very long line of troubling stories relating to the unregulated doggy schooling market.

Friedenberg is at present serving a prison sentence of 6 decades for four counts of grand theft and two other prices related to this and other situations involving shopper fraud. There are at the moment no least specifications for anyone to contact them selves a puppy coach. Assemblyperson Rebecca Bauer-Kahan experienced pledged to reintroduce legislation that would change that, but so far the legislator, who signifies significantly of the Tri-Valley, states she hasn’t manufactured a closing conclusion.

Observing video clip of her German Shepherd Thor even now brings a smile to the confront of Lauren Myers of Watsonville.

She despatched the dog you see right here to Benjamin Friedenberg for training.

Thor was a ball of strength. Myers had hopes Friedenberg could enable tranquil Thor down. “In a month he would appear back again to us. He would have all the primary obedience techniques,” Myers reported.

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She also hoped Thor would provide as a remedy canine for one particular of her youngsters who has particular desires.

However, prosecutors say Friendenberg never returned Thor to the household.

He informed them Thor would want additional teaching and he was not progressing.

Friendenberg sent the loved ones periodic movies of Thor’s coaching. He explained to the relatives he experienced taken Thor to Oregon to train with other canines.

The just one month planned schooling extended to a few months. Myers stated Friedenberg known as her as he was driving Thor back from Oregon. Then the phone calls all of a sudden stopped.

Linked: Dog frauds boost as men and women appear for animals for companionship

Myers’s household grew to become suspicious and questioned law enforcement to verify on Thor’s welfare.

In the study course of their investigation, deputies say they uncovered that Friedenberg also took this Cataloula Leopard pet dog named Huckleberry into his care and also did not return him.

“So in numerous situations, he is effectively accused of fraud, embezzlement, and theft of an animal,” claimed Ashley Keehn of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Section.

Friedenberg is also accused in other purchaser fraud cases that didn’t contain animals.

“So, he was a scam artist,” explained Keehn.

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Friedenberg pleaded no contest to 6 of the rates.

Animal legal rights activist Judie Mancuso of Social Compassion in Laws claims we require laws now to have some oversight of the dog coaching business.

“They should really be licensed. There really should be some bar established for who these individuals are. Are they experienced correctly or not?” explained Mancuso.

7 On Your Facet introduced this to the notice of Tri-Valley Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan in 2020. She released laws ideal prior to the pandemic that would have mandated oversight by animal regulate officers of pet trainers.

This is what she said then: “I want to thank Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side for bringing this situation to us. It is really a essential challenge for the defense of animals in California.”

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She explained the invoice had to be pulled owing to the COVID emergency. She has until Friday to post it yet again to the legislative counsel for overview.

She has still to make a ultimate decision.

Meanwhile the families of Huckleberry and Thor are still left not recognizing what transpired to their liked ones.

We requested Meyers how hopeful she felt about ever observing Thor all over again.

“Perfectly. It’s ah, sorry, I think they are quite negligible. I do not truly know if we will at any time get him back again. I can hope,” she mentioned.

If you have any information and facts about Thor or Huckleberry, share it with us and we are going to get the details to the families and authorities. We are going to continue to be on major of this and permit you know if Bauer-Kahan decides to introduce her reform bill.

Get a glimpse at extra tales and video clips by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Facet.

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