Dog trainer arrested in neglect case

On Friday News 2 brought you the story of a Summerville couple who sent their dogs to a trainer in the upstate for eight weeks, when the dogs returned they were severely dehydrated and starved. The dogs left home healthy, but returned looking much different, their spines, hip bones, and ribs very prominent after losing more than 10 pounds each. The man they say did this to their dogs is now facing charges.

One of the dogs’ owners, Travis Davis, says, “I’m very happy that he’s off the street and wasn’t able to do this anymore.”

25-year-old William Lyal Wilson was arrested for ill treatment of animals by the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office. Travis and Cristie Davis say they found Wilson on Craigslist claiming to be a qualified dog trainer, but when they demanded their dogs back after eight weeks, the dogs went from healthy to skin and bones. The Charleston Animal Society’s Director of Anti-Cruelty, Aldwin Roman,  says he is pleased to see criminal charges in this case.

Roman says, “Sometimes we see animal cruelty and there’s just no prosecution that’s put into the investigation, so I have to commend the law enforcement for actually tracking this guy down, finding him, and putting charges on him. That’s great.”

He says seeing neglect in dog training, daycare, and boarding is not uncommon because there are no mandatory licenses or regulations.

Roman says, “I know dogs and humans aren’t the same, but if you take your child to a daycare, there are standards. There are state standards and if you violate those, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble. People assume there’s the same thing for their pets, because to a lot of people their pets are their children, so it really is a rude awakening for people to find out there is no way to get justice for their pet.”

News 2 went to check up on the dogs Frank and Jessie on Monday. They are already to starting to look better since Friday.

Davis says, “They’ve been eating a lot, they’ve definitely put on some weight. They seem very happy and are ready to get out with the other dogs.”

The Davises want people to use their story as a cautionary tale.

Cristie Davis says, “Definitely look into people a little more. It’s unfortunate we’re in a world where we can’t trust people based on their word and give people a chance anymore, but look into things.”

Many of News 2’s viewers are sympathetic to the story and have reached out offering dog training by certified dog trainers across the country. The Davises say they are appreciative of all the support, but they are going to take some time and let the dogs recover before hiring another dog trainer.

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