Founder Of Angel Service Dogs Defends Training
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (CBS4) Beth Caudle spent $20,000 on a dog named Frost to protect her highly allergic children avoid nuts.
Frost was trained by Angel Service Dogs, Inc. based in Monument, Colorado. The promise of the organization is that the dog could go anywhere the child could go and would alert if it detected peanut allergens. Caudle says Frost did not live up to the promise.
“She would growl at Reagan and that was scary for me to have a dog in my house that would growl at my little girl,” Caudle told CBS.
Caudle had Frost evaluated at the University of California Davis Veterinary School. The report diagnoses Frost with human-directed aggression and separation anxiety, and goes on to say “Frost should not be in your home, nor any other home, serving as an allergen detection service dog.”
“I have not seen those reports … first of all,” said Sherry Mers, executive director of Angel Service Dogs, Inc.
Mers spoke via Skype with the CBS station in Sacramento, California. She has not been willing to do an interview with CBS4 about the allegations lodged against her organization. In the Skype interview, she addressed Caudle’s concerns about Frost.
“Whatever happened once the dog was in their care … it was not showing those tendencies when it was in ours,” Mers said.
Kathlyn Ross is a former trainer for Angel Service Dogs, Inc. She says Frost showed aggressive behaviors even at the end of her training. Ross also provided CBS4 with video that shows Frost unable to detect allergens even as she was about to go home with the Caudle family.
“At the graduation, I saw Frost, in particular, going toward other dogs to bite,” Ross told CBS4.
The Caudles were able to return Frost to Angel Service Dogs, Inc. and they did get a new dog. Frost now lives with Kim Schwartz and her daughter, Liz, who suffers from anxiety disorder.
“She alerts Liz when she is about to have a panic attack, so Liz can put her coping skills into effect and as a result of that she can stop the panic attack,” Kim Schwartz said via Skype.
The Schwartz’s have had Frost for 10 months and say they have never seen her exhibit aggressive behavior.
“She has allowed me to do things I could never do before … like talk to you. I couldn’t talk to you if I didn’t have her on my lap,” Liz said via Skype with Frost sitting across her lap.
CBS4 talked to five families who say the dogs they bought from Angel Service Dogs, Inc. have not worked out as scent detection dogs. Those families say when they contacted Angel Service Dogs, Inc. for a refund or a new dog, they were not satisfied.
Mers says that service dogs need constant training and believes that families have not kept up that training once they got home.
“I know the dogs were trained to the standard that we agreed to in the contract. And that those dogs were finding the allergens when they were with us. And those people left happy with their dog at the level that it was at. And again we’ve offered to replace those dogs … but … we are where we are,” Mers said.
–Written for CBSDenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith