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Families file lawsuit against service dog trainer

  • Associated Press
  • June 12, 2014 - 10:55 AM

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Some families are accusing a Wisconsin nonprofit that trains service dogs of charging them $10,000 for dogs that are not properly trained.

A lawsuit against Compassionate Paws has been filed in Waushara County on behalf of seven families, according to The Reporter Media (http://fondul.ac/1qAeO4l ). Compassionate Paws, of Pine River, offers service dogs trained for children with special needs.

The lawsuit accuses Compassionate Paws owner Vicki Pingel and her mother, Harriet Berg of breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation, conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud and fraudulent representation.

The families all claim the dogs were not house-trained and lacked service skills and basic obedience. The lawsuit was filed in September.

The newspaper was unable to reach Compassionate Paws for comment. Pingel told The Associated Press Thursday she couldn't comment and referred questions to her attorney, John Schomisch. He did not immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment.

According to the suit, Dwight and Jessica Flaherty purchased "Scout" from Compassionate Paws in April 2012 and returned him because he was so poorly trained he could not pass Public Access Certification. The complaint said Scout urinated and defecated in their home, repeatedly bolted from their vehicle and refused to enter a crate. They did not receive a refund.

Four parties in Minnesota, Racine and Hartland, have also filed complaints against Compassionate Paws with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The complaints remain under investigation.

© 2014 Star Tribune