Family members recall dropped animals amid renewed calls for regulation of pet coaching industry

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KGO) — Two-and-a-50 percent years in the past, the families of Thor and Huckleberry sent their canine to the care of Benjamin Friedenberg of Soquel. The family members haven’t viewed their puppies because, and Friendenberg isn’t really expressing what took place to them. It is really the most recent in a prolonged line of troubling tales about the unregulated pet training market.

Friedenberg is at this time serving a prison sentence of 6 years for 4 counts of grand theft and two other costs connected to this and other conditions involving consumer fraud. There are at the moment no minimum amount demands for anybody to simply call themselves a canine coach. Assemblyperson Rebecca Bauer-Kahan experienced pledged to reintroduce legislation that would modify that, but so much the legislator, who signifies considerably of the Tri-Valley, suggests she hasn’t produced a last decision.

Looking at online video of her German Shepherd Thor continue to brings a smile to the confront of Lauren Myers of Watsonville.

She sent the pet you see below to Benjamin Friedenberg for education.

Thor was a ball of electrical power. Myers had hopes Friedenberg could assist calm Thor down. “In a month he would come back to us. He would have all the essential obedience abilities,” Myers claimed.

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She also hoped Thor would provide as a remedy dog for a single of her little ones who has particular wants.

Unfortunately, prosecutors say Friendenberg under no circumstances returned Thor to the household.

He informed them Thor would need further teaching and he was not progressing.

Friendenberg despatched the family periodic videos of Thor’s training. He advised the family he had taken Thor to Oregon to prepare with other puppies.

The just one month planned education extended to 3 months. Myers reported Friedenberg referred to as her as he was driving Thor again from Oregon. Then the phone calls instantly stopped.

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Myers’s household turned suspicious and requested police to check out on Thor’s welfare.

In the program of their investigation, deputies say they figured out that Friedenberg also took this Cataloula Leopard puppy named Huckleberry into his treatment and also did not return him.

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

Friedenberg is also accused in other client fraud situations that didn’t involve animals.

“So, he was a rip-off artist,” reported Keehn.

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Friedenberg pleaded no contest to six of the costs.

Animal legal rights activist Judie Mancuso of Social Compassion in Legislation claims we will need legislation now to have some oversight of the doggy education field.

“They ought to be licensed. There need to be some bar established for who these people today are. Are they qualified effectively or not?” mentioned Mancuso.

7 On Your Side brought this to the interest of Tri-Valley Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan in 2020. She released legislation appropriate prior to the pandemic that would have mandated oversight by animal handle officers of pet trainers.

This is what she mentioned then: “I want to thank Michael Finney and 7 On Your Facet for bringing this problem to us. It truly is a vital difficulty for the defense of animals in California.”

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She explained the bill had to be pulled thanks to the COVID emergency. She has until finally Friday to post it once again to the legislative counsel for evaluation.

She has nonetheless to make a last decision.

In the meantime the family members of Huckleberry and Thor are remaining not knowing what happened to their beloved kinds.

We asked Meyers how hopeful she felt about at any time observing Thor again.

“Perfectly. It truly is ah, sorry, I believe they are very minimum. I will not seriously know if we will at any time get him back. I can hope,” she claimed.

If you have any info about Thor or Huckleberry, share it with us and we will get the information to the family members and authorities. We’ll stay on top rated of this and enable you know if Bauer-Kahan decides to introduce her reform invoice.

Get a search at a lot more stories and films by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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