CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A family is out nearly $14,000 all because of a service dog.
The parents bought the dog for their young daughter. But they didn't have it long before it started acting vicious, even lunging at the family's other dogs.
The family took the dog back to the trainer but says they were never given a refund. They were fed up and decided to Get McGinty.
As for the dog, wait until you hear what happened to him.
The Cummings' daughter has autism. The new service dog was supposed to help her navigate daily life.
"Anything that is a repetitive behavior or a stem activity, the dog will be trained to interrupt that by nudging on them and gets them to refocus their attention on the dog."
They turned to Ry-Con Service Dogs in Raleigh for a dog and paid $13,900 for a dog named Okami, a Briard, which is a breed of French sheepdog.
The Cummings said they were promised a well trained, certified service dog, specifically trained to help with autism. But shortly after picking Okami up, major problems surfaced the second they brought her home to Waxhaw.
"Charged in, jerked the leash from my husband's hand, and grabbed our dog, Dallas, by the throat."
The family said they have video that shows Okami being hard to control and lunging at another dog at PetSmart.
More video shows the dog not getting along with the other family dogs, something they say they were assured wouldn't be a problem.
Remember, Okami is supposed to be a service dog.
"Yes, a $14,000 trained service dog for a child that is supposed to attend school with her."
The Cummings were afraid to have Okami around people, so they called the owner, Mark Mathis, returned the dog, and asked for their $13,900 back. To date, no money has been returned.
Okaimi was sold to someone else with special needs within a month, and that family also reported aggression, saying in a complaint to the North Carolina Attorney General, the dog "attempted to bite three children in public access."
Attorney General Josh Stein said he has received 50 complaints about Ry-con and has opened an investigation into the business.
Remember those special certifications Ry-Con bragged about having for these service animals?
"They often times were not housebroken."
The Cummings filed a lawsuit against Ry-con, and Mathis, who didn't return our calls. He did an interview with a Raleigh TV station and has since closed his business.
"You can understand why they're upset?"
"Of course, they have every right to be."
If you're looking to purchase a service dog, the attorney general recommends a lot of research, investigate the credentials and certifications, and dig for references. If the dog isn't a good fit, walk away.
"But at the time, and while you are watching your child disintegrate under the weight of her disability, and you have someone dangling this massive amount of hope, the price tag almost seems irrelevant if everything out there shows it works, every testimonial, every certification they claim to have, if it claims to work, you'll move heaven and earth to make that happen."
So where is Okami now? She's with a trainer.
The second family couldn't risk having an aggressive service dog because of the liability, so a trainer took her, and that family told me they're out the money they paid for Okami, too.