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UPDATE: Puppy died from starvation, dehydration; Johnson City training facility's owner, trainer released on bond

Becky Campbell • Updated May 14, 2019 at 8:53 AM

Update:

The dog trainer charged with aggravated animal cruelty turned himself in at the Washington County Detention Center late Monday, according to jail records. 

Andrew “Andy” Hunigan, 28, 1 Gatewood Drive, Johnson City, had possession of the dog when it died. He was booked into the jail around 10 p.m. Monday.

His boss, Randi LaFerney, 55, 405 Sugar Hollow Road, Piney Flats, was booked in on the same charge earlier in the day.

Both are free on  $10,000 bond each and they willbe arraigned later today.

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Reported Monday:

An 8-month-old Bull Terrier puppy died from starvation and dehydration, and there were no signs of strangulation, according to an arrest warrant charging a training facility owner with cruelty in the dog’s death.

Randi LaFerney, who owns K9 Off Leash Training East Tennessee, turned herself in at the Washington County Detention Center on Monday afternoon but was released on $10,000 bond, officials confirmed.

The trainer, Andrew “Andy” Hunigan, 28, 1 Gatewood Drive, Johnson City, had possession of the dog when it died. Hunigan was reportedly supposed to turn himself in as well, but had not shown up by late afternoon. Both Hunigan and LaFerney face one count of aggravated animal cruelty.

The dog reportedly lost half its body weight after being at the training facility for five weeks. Hunigan reportedly told the dog’s owners that he believed Dallas had strangled himself trying to escape his crate, and that it wasn’t the dog’s emaciated condition that led to its death.

The puppy was in Hunigan’s custody for what was supposed to be two weeks of obedience and housebreak training, Dallas ended up staying with him for six weeks because he told the owners the dog needed more time for housebreaking. Based on some findings of a necropsy, the dog was apparently deprived of food and water.

The warrant charging LaFerney, 55, 405 Sugar Hollow Road, Piney Flats, states the necropsy, performed at the University of Tennessee veterinary hospital, showed the pup had zero fat content and no signs of food in his intestinal tract.

That would indicate the dog had not had food pass through for 24 hours. Dallas did, however, have a small amount of food in his stomach, which the report said indicated the dog ate a short time before he died.

Animal training and boarding facilities are not governed by any state law, and there is no current potential legislation filed for this term of the General Assembly.

State Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, told the Press last week he believes what the state currently has on the books is sufficient, but regulating training facilities and kennels is something they will look at in the future.

“If we had additional laws, I don’t think it would’ve been helpful,” Lundberg said. “(LaFerney and Hunigan) clearly went past what we have already, which is why they’re charged with animal cruelty.”

Off Leash K9 Training LLC, East TN, is located at 3 Charter Court, Suite B, but dogs in training aren’t kept there. Off Leash’s training protocol calls for a dog to be assigned to a trainer for the training time and that dog lives with the trainer.

LaFerney is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge in Washington County  Sessions Court on Tuesday afternoon.

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