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A Louisiana mother and daughter were arrested and charged after allegedly abusing dogs at their training facility.
Cypress Arrow Kennel & K9 Academy owner Tina Frey, 52, and her daughter Victoria Brimer, 21, are facing two counts of aggravated animal cruelty, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The two were arrested after officials were warned about a social media video in which Frey hit a Cane Corso dog on the head with a riding crop. Detectives then opened an investigation and confirmed the validity of the video.
Police were thus able to establish “sufficient probable cause to support the original complaint,” according to the sheriff’s office.
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Both suspects have been released on $10,000 bail.
The sheriff’s office said the investigation remains “very active and ongoing” and the mother and daughter may face additional charges.
“I want to thank the public for their support as we conduct a full and thorough investigation into these allegations,” Sheriff Mark Wood said in the Facebook post. “
“I would also like to commend our Animal Protection Department and our detectives for investigating this incident and staying on track, following the evidence where it leads and not bowing to pressure of a quick arrest,” he continued. “We always take these animal complaints seriously because we do all crimes, but we also need to investigate and make sure the alleged crime is in accordance with the law.”
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Frey’s attorney Brad Drell insists his client is innocent, saying in a statement to People magazine, “I want to state unequivocally that Tina Frey has never injured or hurt a dog. She is a respected dog trainer and is qualified to train other trainers.”
Drell said Frey is an “expert” at handling the Cane Corso breed.
“Weighing over 100 pounds, they can be very dangerous to humans if not trained,” he said, pointing to recent incidents where the breed has attacked people.
The lawyer, who dealt with the video depicting the alleged abuse, said the clip of Frey “with a squirt [a short whip] on “the dog named Fenixx” creates a false impression that dogs are injured.
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“While the video is distressing for many to watch, it should be understood that Fenixx attempted to chew through a leash at the time, which could have caused Fenixx to bite Ms. Frey or her daughter,” he said.
The video shows two women each holding a leash and pulling in opposite directions as a woman, whom Dreel identifies as Frey, whips at the animal.
He said Frey used a quirt to prevent the dog from biting through the leash, noting that the video shows Frey and Fenixx’s owner using the quirt on himself and “not experiencing any pain.”
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“While the quirt makes some noise, it’s flexible and not painful,” Drell said. While I understand that many people feel, and some very strongly, that using the quirt is not what they would do to correct a dog, using the quirt is not inhumane under the law. Fenixx was not hurt in any way, as can be seen in the video.”