By Aaron Kunkler / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
A video showing a dog trainer hitting a dog with a plastic bat has gone viral leading to a local Bothell school receiving hundreds of threats.
A video was posted to Facebook in recent days showing a trainer at the Bothell Academy of Canine Behavior walking a dog around a room on a leash while giving it commands to lay down. The trainer is seen holding a plastic bat. At one point the dog bumps into the trainer who hits the dog with the bat. After this the dog veers towards the person filming and the trainer proceeds to hit the dog around the face and head several times. The dog begins snarling and barking while the person filming it laughs.
â€śOh heâ€™s so mad at you, heâ€™s such a bad dog,â€ť the person filming appears to say.
Following this, the dog appears physically unharmed and continues to follow the woman around and responds to commands to lay down.
A spokesperson for Snohomish County said the countyâ€™s Animal Services was looking into the incident. Animal Services had not returned multiple requests for comment as of the time of publication and this report will be updated when more information becomes available.
The video has prompted a massive backlash against the facility on their Facebook page, which has since been taken down. The kennelâ€™s owners Jack and Colleen McDaniel said they have received hundreds of threats over email, phone and Facebook as of July 24. Many of these have been death threats and one man had called more than 40 times in a single day.
â€śWeâ€™re gonna burn your house down, weâ€™re going to kill your kids,â€ť Colleen McDaniel said, characterizing some of the threats.
The kennel, which has been in business since 1981, released a public statement saying they donâ€™t condone the behavior shown in the video. The McDaniels said the video is two years old and was released by a former employee who they described as disgruntled. The McDaniels said the employee filming was fired around a year-and-a-half ago. The trainer seen with the bat currently does not work for the kennel, they said.
However, one of the people who posted a copy of the video on Facebook, Fran Primrose, claimed she had taken her dog in for a consultation recently and the trainer in the video was still working there. Primrose said in the same Facebook post that she was not the person who had taken the video, but was only re-uploading it.
The video surfaced a few weeks ago, which was the first time the McDaniels said they had learned of the incident. They said similar plastic bats are used as sound cues to distract dogs who are misbehaving, but that they do not use the bats to hit the dogs. They gave an example of if a dog is misbehaving the bat can be used to hit a wall to get the dogâ€™s attention.
The McDaniels said the bats have had their ends removed and do not cause physical harm. The bat in the video appears to have had its end removed. However, the McDaniels said they donâ€™t condone the hitting of dogs with the bats as a training technique.
â€śIt isnâ€™t standard procedure,â€ť Colleen McDaniel said.
The kennel owners claim the dog seen in the video was brought in by its owner who was considering euthanizing the dog due to aggressive behavior. They said that the dog was ultimately trained to not be aggressive and returned to its owner, though the Reporter was unable to verify this claim as of the time of publication.
When dogs are aggressive they have to be trained to not attack people, Colleen McDaniel said. Often times when dogs attack humans they are put down.
â€śOur job here is to minimize the number of dogs that have to die,â€ť she said. â€śâ€¦Weâ€™re good, and we really are good and weâ€™re fair to the dogs.â€ť
The Bothell police tweeted:
We have received multiple requests to investigate a K9 training business for allegations of cruelty. Thank you all for reporting this to get the information to the proper authorities. This business however is in unincorporated Snohomish County and an investigation is underway. pic.twitter.com/HE75s02RI2
â€” Bothell Police (@BothellPolice) July 24, 2018