RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KLFY) – A dog owner and her attorney are reacting to the arrests of two local dog trainers. The arrests come after animal advocates demanded justice, upon seeing videos of the trainers allegedly abusing dogs at Cypress Arrow K-9 Academy.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Tina Frey, 52, and Victoria Brimer, 21 Thursday morning. Both are charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. Frey owns the academy.
Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The owner of one of the dogs in the viral videos told KLFY News 10 that today is a win.
“I’m definitely joyful and more motivated to continue this process and this fight. We stopped on the way home from school and bought the dogs hamburgers and had a little victory celebration,” Kayci Gonzales said.
Gonzales, the owner of the chocolate lab seen in one of the viral videos, said that the trainer’s arrests are a step towards victory.
“I’m happy with it. I’m happy that they got arrested. I’m happy they have mugshots. I was able to tell my kids that justice is being served, and we’re on the right path and people are backing us,” she said.
Last Friday, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office searched the academy. Deputies seized security recordings and numerous items.
Gonzales’ attorney, Lauren Ventrella, said that right now, it’s not clear which acts the two women have been arrested for. She said, however, that their charges for aggravated cruelty to animals are not misdemeanors. They are felonies.
“What that means is that this is more than just tormenting, cruelly beating or unjustifiably injuring an animal. This is actually something concerning torture, maim, mutilation, unjustifiable pain and suffering for them,” Ventrella told News 10.
She says the case will now go to the district attorney’s office and then prosecution, which can be lengthy.
“So as that goes on, I urge the public to not forget about this case because we still need to remain vigilant. During that time, she is only arrested. She has not been convicted of these crimes. So the alleged perpetrators could still have animals in their care,” Ventrella said.
She added, however, that if the women are convicted, a judge can make an order so that they cannot have animals in their care for a set period of time.
“This is definitely not over, but it is definitely a positive step. We are very pleased,” she said.
The K-9 academy’s website and Facebook page have both been deleted. It’s unclear if the academy has dogs in their care right now.