Sheriff opens investigation into K9 training academy over dog abuse videos


The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation into a K9 academy after videos surfaced on social media showing alleged abuse of dogs.

Cypress Arrow K9 Academy in Lena, La is accused of abusing dogs at its facility, almost torturing them.

One video surfaced on Facebook on Aug. 10 showing a trainer attempting to teach a Cane Corso how to sit and heel, but throwing the dog to the ground to get her to listen.

In another video spanning nearly one minute and 30 seconds, two people are seen holding the ends of a rope around a dog’s neck while one person hit the dog several times.

Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood said he saw the videos Thursday morning and added the footage did not look good.

“It’s not a good-looking video,” he said. “It looks pretty horrific. I’m a dog lover. I have animals and there’s gotta be other ways to train. We are looking at both aspects of this. We should hopefully know in the next day or so we’ll make our play on what we’re going to do.”

Kayci Gonzales sent her one-year-old lab to Cypress Arrow. She said she got a message from someone telling her there was a video of her lab being abused.

“At first, I didn’t realize that it was a video of my dog,” she said. “I told her that I don’t want to see the video and that I’ll take her word for it. I won’t use that place again. But she said it was my dog. So I said OK, and she sent me the video and it was really sad to see someone do that to her because she’s so sweet. I got really mad because I trusted those people with my dog.”

Gonzales said Cypress Arrow was a highly-rated facility and Frey was highly recommended by people she knew. Gonzales said she had both of her dogs at the facility and picked them up on Aug. 11 after paying $3,000.

“I don’t even think I watched the whole video the first time,” Gonzales recalled. “I just called Tina the owner and told her that I had the video and to see what she would say to me. They’re (dogs) more than animals that we keep. When my kids are down, they go to our dogs and cuddle with them or get them ready to spend the night and stuff. They mean a lot to our family.”

Craig Tibbetts, a United States Police Canine Association National K9 trainer and owner of Tibbetts Canine Specialist, was startled by the videos.

“Those videos are disturbing,” Tibbetts said. “I did canine police dogs for 20-something years actively and I don’t think we’ve ever strung a dog up like that tying them down. The only time we ever would even come close to tying a dog like that is if the dog was trying to bite everybody and showing aggressiveness so we could try to work some sociability into the dog.”

Tibbetts said Gonzales’ dog didn’t understand what the exercise was and that was evident in the video.

“What I saw was a dog that was very submissive,” Tibbetts said. “To me, she didn’t understand what they were trying to show her or teach her. By forcing her to the ground ugly like that and then popping her up, to me it looked like the person didn’t know what they were doing. In the civilian aspect of it (dog training), I’ve been doing it for eight years. It wouldn’t even come to me in any type of training. There’s no direction I can think of to train a civilian dog like that.”

Unfiltered with Kiran did put in calls to Cypress Arrow & the owner. As of this report, all calls and texts have gone unanswered.

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