PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – A K9 trainer in Parker who claims to have served two decades in the military has no military records at all. Six Mercer enlisted the help of Elite K9 Dynamics this summer.
She suffers from narcolepsy and a rare joint syndrome. Together they make even the simplest tasks more difficult.
“When I am in a wheelchair, eventually I’m going to need for her to press the button for the door and pick things up off the ground,” Mercer said of her husky, Presley. She is working to train as a service dog.
“I am on a group called narcolepsy support group, and I saw his name pop up as a service dog trainer,” she said.
That name was Justin Paisley, owner of Elite K9 Dynamics in Parker.
Online reviews were positive and according to their website they specialize in “positive reinforcement training” and are “veteran owned and operated”
“He had just tons and tons of certifications that he brought with him and all of this military training he said he had. He was training the military K9’s, police dogs, and he was a member of the military police,” she said.
Mercer signed up, paying $600 for six sessions.
As her time ended, she raised concerns about the lack of specialty training.
“I would explain to him kind of what I needed from her and that I had started some of the training. He just never came through with it,” Mercer said.
She says Paisley told her it would take more time so she signed up for six more sessions. Half way through she noticed a change, but not the kind she was looking for.
“Presley jumped right out of the car and she saw him right away and she jumped right back in the car with her tail tucked and she’s never done that before… ever,” she said.
After cutting ties with Paisley, she learned he might not be who he claimed.
A retired 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps who worked as a “military police officer with the specialty of 5812, which is a K9 handler” he wrote online.
Paisley has also made several posts on social media about the difficulty attending memorials saying, “I lost many fellow comrades in combat.”
Using a birth date we found on public records associated with his name and business, we asked for service records — both the National Archives and the Department of the Navy say they do not exist.
“Did you ever question that any of it was false?” CBS4 reporter Karen Morfitt asked Mercer.
“Yeah, you know there were some questions,” she responded.
A background check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation show run-ins with police almost every year since 1991 until 2003 at which time the Department of Corrections says he was in prison.
The dog training organizations he claims to have certification from say they had no record of a Justin Paisley.
Multiple calls, emails and a visit to the address listed on his state business license went unanswered.
Mercer is out hundreds of dollars and having to retrain Presley. Her story is a lesson for others.
“People aren’t going to be getting, you know, what they are paying for and their dogs may be abused and they are going to have to undo a lot of things that he’s done to them.”
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.