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Dog trainer closes Black Creek business after video alleges abuse

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 9:22 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 9:30 PM CST
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BLACK CREEK, Wis. (WBAY) - A dog trainer in Black Creek has closed his business after a disturbing video was released alleging abuse.

It’s been circulating on social media and on Tuesday the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office confirmed there is an active investigation into the incident.

The video shows the owner of In Touch Dog Training, Allen Burnsworth with a pup called Odie, who appears to be cowering and terrified while given commands.

“The initial reaction obviously is extreme anger,” said Luke Janssen, Odie’s owner.

Since Action 2 News decided not to show much of the video, Janssen described the incident.

“I don’t know if he snapped or what, but Allen picks up Odie by the leash and essentially hangs him for a period of of time and also from that position slams him to the ground for sure one occasion, maybe multiple,” he said.

The incident took place in November.

The video was recorded off a security camera by a former employee, who tells us, she resigned over what she saw.

“If someone saw something like that happening to my dog I would want to know,” said Shaunna Herrick who also met with investigators from the sheriff’s department.

She added, “I wanted to be able to go to the police with something. I needed something to say, it’s not just here say, it’s actually what is happening.”

Online, a Google listing for the business now says “permanently closed.”

Action 2 News also spoke Burnsworth on the phone.

He did confirm that he’s winding down operations and has already removed signage.

Burnsworth also emailed Action 2 News a consultation form where Janssen admits Odie has nipped people in the past and needs help in handling aggression.

“The clip that is out there is 55 seconds or 54 seconds -- however long it is, less than a minute -- of dealing with an aggressive dog that was attempting to bite, and attempted to bite several of the trainers, and and they asked me to step in try to help,” said Burnsworth.

Once the investigation is over, Burnsworth is confident of being cleared.

“We’re being railroaded by social media. It’s crazy. We have received death threats,” he said.

As for Odie, he’s been seen by a veterinarian and appears to be doing okay.

Janssen said, “I wanted to put it out there and generate some interest because I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else’s pets and obviously no other innocent dogs are harmed.”

The website for In Touch Dog Training also claims to be a partner of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The team’s president Rob Zerjav says that’s not the case and a cease-and-desist order will be going to Burnsworth to remove that reference.

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