A Kansas man says his dog left an Emporia training program emaciated and sick.
Following a six-week program at Flint Hills Kennels, Keith Starling picked up his once healthy dog Jake. He was shocked to find he had lost 25 pounds and was bleeding from his legs and paws.
"He was very frail," he said. "I could feel every rib. I could feel his spine. I could feel his hipbone."
Starling has taken him to the vet several times since then, where he was prescribed multiple medications and special shampoo. He’s trying to rehydrate him and help him regain weight.
Starling said his once peppy dog has done nothing but lay around and rest since he got home.
"His temperament is definitely different since we picked him up," Starling said.
Starling said he was impressed with the credentials of Cory Doudican, the owner of Flint Hills Kennels. According to his website, he has years of experience training police and hunting dogs.
Starling said every update Doudican sent via text indicated Jake was doing well. He was stunned to find Jake in such poor condition.
"I didn't even get a sorry," he said. "It was more of a, ‘I'm sorry you feel this way.’ It was kind of a slap in the face."
After posting his story to social media, Starling discovered he may not be the only one. Others with complaints about the kennel came forward, telling KCTV5 News their dogs also experienced weight loss, personality changes or serious illness.
Doudican did provide a refund for Starling and paid for part of the vet bills, but Starling said he didn’t want to keep quiet about what happened.
"Unfortunately, he ran into someone that believes the money isn't of relevance to the situation," he said. "I'd like an explanation as to why. I'd like him to show his place and his facility and open his doors up if he's so confident about it."
Doudican declined to interview and would not allow KCTV5 to visit the training facility. He denied the allegations and said they were "without merit."
He also told KCTV5 an investigator with the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health did an inspection while Jake was there and did not discover anything.
The department confirmed to KCTV5 News the facility has undergone routine inspections since it opened in 2014 and passed all of them.
Since word of this story got out, multiple clients of Flint Hills Kennels have contacted us, saying they have had nothing but positive experiences there.
Starling has filed an official complaint and says he remains focused on helping his dog get better.
"I'm not angry at any one person, but if I would've come back three weeks later and my dog would have passed away or been severely ill, I probably would be in a whole different mindset,” he said.
If you want to file a complaint against an animal facility in Kansas, you can do that on the Kansas Department of Agriculture's website. But if you suspect animal abuse, it's recommended to get law enforcement involved.
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