Saturday, 18 September 2021
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In letter, trainer admits she lied about Mayo’s dog, asks for forgiveness

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The woman charged with concealing the dead body of Jerod Mayo’s dog, Knox, is admitting she lied multiple times in the days and weeks following the dog’s death, according to a letter sent to Eyewitness News.

Amelia Ferreira, 41, faces charges of obstruction and filing a false police report after investigators say she told officers she lost the dog in Wrentham when in reality she had concealed the dog’s decaying body inside a trash bag at her Cranston home. 

“Having had the time to think about everything with a clear head, I realize how much of a coward I am for not being honest,” Ferreira wrote in a letter shared with Eyewitness News. She declined to be interviewed in person or over the phone. 

In her letter, Ferreira said she kept the truth about Knox a secret, even from her family members, including her mother, who she describes as being sick and disabled.

Ferreira said she wanted to make a public statement following a protest outside her home, saying her mother and nieces don’t deserve to be punished or hurt because of what she did. 

In late June, Jerod Mayo’s family began a social media campaign to find their beloved 5-year-old Bulldog named Knox. The Mayos had contacted Off Leash K9 Training’s Providence branch and had been connected with Ferreira, according to the Mayo family. The dog boarded with Ferreira while she trained it; the Mayos said in a news conference they were trying to re-housebreak the dog after the birth of their youngest child. 

In her letter, Ferreira said June 23 “began like any other day.” She said the dogs she was training and her personal pets were resting in their kennels when she left her Cranston home between 1 and 1:30 p.m.  She said she returned around four hours later, and at roughly 7 p.m., Ferreira said she brought Knox his dinner, but the dog “seemed to be asleep.”

“When I didn’t receive my typical greeting I became concerned,” she wrote. “It wasn’t until I removed him from the crate that I realized he wasn’t breathing.”

Ferreira goes on to say, “I sat there on the floor, holding Knox in my lap, crying for what seemed like hours. I was scared to death and had no clue what to do. Not only had I never experienced a situation like this, it certainly wasn’t something that Off Leash K9 prepared me for.”

In her letter, Ferreira does not detail what she did next, and mentions nothing about seeking medical treatment for the dog. The Rhode Island SPCA and Cranston Police say Ferreira put the dog’s body into a trash bag the following day, and left the trash bag in her back yard. 

According to a police report obtained by Eyewitness News, Ferreira told officers “Knox was laying on his side and that she kept him in the crate until the next morning.” The report goes on to say she “placed Knox behind her shed and concealed his body which was in a bag with a long box. She stated that she remained in that area until a week ago when she decided to bring his body into the house. Ms. Ferreira advised that she then placed his body (which was still in the same bag) in a closet in the hallway.”

The RISPCA said the dog was severely decomposed when they found his body earlier this month. A necropsy of the dog was inconclusive because of the advanced stage of decay, according to police, who said Ferreira will not face any further charges, including those of animal cruelty.

Ferreira said her initial claim that she lost the dog in Wrentham was a way to ensure she was solely held responsible while providing a reason to the Mayo family that their dog was gone. 

“If I had been truthful I couldn’t provide them with an explanation,” she wrote, adding, “I wasn’t only acting like a coward, I was being selfish, lying was easier, telling them the truth would have been hard.”

On July 7, Ferreira changed her story, telling Cranston police she didn’t lose the dog, but that it disappeared from its crate. 

Ferreira said she changed her story because she was pulled over by a Cranston officer who told her her rear brake light was out. Ferreira said she had forgotten her license, and when the officer ran her license number, he informed her she had a suspended license, something she said she wasn’t aware of, according to the letter. 

Ferreira said after that, the officer asked her to walk to his cruiser and sit in the back seat so he could show her the record on his computer, but she said he then began to question her about Knox’s disappearance. Ferreira doesn’t identify the officer, but claims he told her to change her story about the dog or else he’d have her car towed. 

“The following day, I happened to be out in the back yard when my husband came outside with one of his own dogs,” Ferreira wrote. “After seeing the condition of his dog I made the decision to follow through and tell yet another lie. So, on Monday July 9, 2018 I went to Cranston PD, giving a statement which led to his arrest. I lied about his involvement pertaining to Knox, I did not lie about the condition of his dogs or about the domestic violence.”

According to a police report, Ferreira intended to incriminate her husband, Darrel, who lives in the basement of their Smith Street home. Darrel Ferreira’s five Maltese dogs were seized, and he was charged with domestic simple assault and animal cruelty. 

When asked about Ferreira’s claims against the officer, Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael Winquist offered this statement: 

“The case is pending in the courts, therefore in accordance with our standard protocol, I will not further comment on the case including any allegations she has made in her letter. If Ms. Ferreira believes she has been treated in an unprofessional manner by any member of the Cranston Police Department, she is free to file a complaint with the department’s Office of Professional Standards, which would be fully investigated relative to any violations of rules and regulations.”

Ferreira does not detail in her letter why she eventually went to the RISPCA on August 5 to tell them where the dog’s body was, but she maintains that she did not cause the dog’s death. 

“I don’t know how or why Knox died and it eats at me every day that his family is still left not knowing what caused his death,” she wrote. ” I didn’t make the right decisions but what I am 100% sure of is that I absolutely DID NOT hurt Knox nor did I do anything to him that caused his death.”

Off Leash K9 Training, for which Ferreira was formerly an independent contractor, has not returned repeated requests for comment made through social media, phone calls and emails. The Providence branch of the company has disabled its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

In a previous statement to Eyewitness News, Off Leash K9 Training said:

“We are continuing to cooperate with local police as their investigation continues and are grateful for the police’s diligent efforts in pursuing this matter. Knox was not enrolled in our training program when he went missing. His training program ended in April and his family subsequently entered into a separate agreement with our former independent contractor, without our knowledge or permission in violation of our policies and standards. It is our greatest hope that Knox can be reunited with his family and we thank the community for their assistance in trying to locate Knox.”

The Mayo family disputes the idea that they had entered into a separate agreement with Ferreira. 

At the end of her letter, Ferreira writes, “I will never be able to apologize enough to make things right but I hope that maybe one day they are able to forgive me.”

“Working with dogs and their people was the best thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “I was truly happy to work everyday not only with the dogs but also with their humans. Many of whom I would consider a friend.”


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