APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — For the past month CBS 17 has been looking into Apex non-profit Ry-Con Service Dogs.
Dozens of families and former employees have come forward to share their stories about the now-shuttered company.
Some families told CBS 17 they returned their dog because it was untrained and aggressive, but other families are still trying to turn their Ry-Con dogs into the service dogs they were promised.
For the past three months, Shane Gentry has been working to transform a Ry-Con dog into a service dog for an autistic child.
“When I had heard this story there is no doubt in my mind that we were gonna do everything we could to fix this and get it right,” Gentry said.
The family wanted to remain anonymous, but they say they got their dog from Ry-Con and just like many other families; the dog was not what they had hoped for.
“What they were sold did not get delivered,” Gentry said.
Gentry owns “Sally Said So Professional Dog Training” and he’s been training dogs for a decade.
He has experience training service dogs and specializes in behavior modification.
“We kind of had to just basically start at zero and retrain the dog,” Gentry explained.
Gentry says the dog’s behavior has already improved drastically and he’s hopeful that the dog will be up to par within the next few months.
“If a child with autism has a moment or a behavioral outburst or heightened anxiety your dog can feel the tension in the air, the dog has to be properly desensitized to where they don’t react to those triggers,” Gentry said.
Gentry does not believe the Briard breed is the right breed to be a service dog for autistic children.
“I don’t want anybody out there that has a Briard to feel like they’ve got a terrible dog,” said Gentry. “It is absolutely not my first choice for a service dog role. First major point dogs are bred for specific things. A Briard is a herding dog. Dogs that have those types of bloodlines are generally not as people pleasing.”
According to Ry-Con contracts, owner Mark Mathis charged $2,400 for a puppy and more than $10,000 for training.
Gentry thinks Mathis charged too much.
“I think what that particular service was, no absolutely not. I don’t even charge a third of that to do the exact same thing and your dog doesn’t go to a facility, we come to your home,” Gentry said.
The North Carolina Attorney General has received 50 complaints against Ry-Con. The investigation is ongoing.