Local couple says dogs came back from Upstate trainer severely starved and dehydrated

A Summerville couple was shocked this week when they picked their dogs up from a dog trainer. The dogs did not come back in the same condition as when they left.

Frank and Jessie are two year old dogs who were a little hyper and needed some training, so their owners sent them away to a dog trainer upstate for eight weeks. Frank and Jessie went from being healthy dogs, to severely starved and dehydrated. The vet is saying they hadn’t eaten in weeks.

One of the owners, Cristie Davis, says, “You just can’t imagine that somebody would walk past any kind of living creature and see that they’re suffering and not give them the basic things that they need to survive.”

Travis and Cristie Davis say they hired William Lyal Wilson to train their dogs after finding him on Craigslist.

Travis Davis says, “My wife walks them and she can’t control them because they’re so big and they are very hyper, so we were just hoping they would be able to obey basic commands.”

Cristie says, “The pictures that he had online were from another company that he had worked for. And they were of him training the dogs; of them sitting, laying, it looked legit.”

They say Wilson lives in the Upstate, in the town of Donalds. He came to Charleston to pick up the dogs, told the Davises they would be done in six weeks and he would send pictures throughout the process.

Travis says, “He was supposed to come down and teach us what we’re supposed to do to continue the training, and he texted me back saying, I’m sorry I had some issues come up and I haven’t had the time to socialize them, I need another two weeks.”

After two more weeks, he said the dogs still were not ready and the pictures never came through. After eight weeks total, the Davises demanded their dogs back, meeting Wilson at a gas station to pick them up.

Travis says, “As I got closer I saw, I started noticing their ribs, and I noticed their hips. It was very upsetting to see and if I started saying something to him I knew it was going to escalate quickly and I didn’t want that, so we decided to part ways.”

Each dog had lost over 10 pounds. The vet says they hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in weeks.

Travis says, “They drank water for about a day and a half, and finally after a day and a half they started eating.”

News 2 reached out to William Lyal Wilson over the phone. He confirmed that he had promised to train the Davises’ dogs and agreed to an interview, then hung up the phone and hasn’t answered any calls from News 2 since.

News 2 also spoke to the obedience school Wilson used to work for. They said he was fired two years ago and legally couldn’t say why, but said it was for “obvious reasons”.

Travis says, “My concern was, if he got two more weeks with them, I don’t think they’d be alive.”

He says he is speaking out to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.

Travis says, “All I want is this guy to never be able to do this ever again. I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I felt sending my dogs, who are our kids, to get mistreated. I basically paid someone to abuse my animals and that hurts a lot.”

The vet says Frank and Jessie should get back to their normal weights in about a month. There is no mandatory licensing or regulations for dog trainers in the state of South Carolina. So, the Charleston Animal Society and legitimate trainers recommend going to the facility to see it for yourself, check references, and look up reviews of the company online before hiring any dog trainer.

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