Woman gives emotional testimony while facing the trainer accused of killing her dog

If your dog needs training, you could do it yourself if you know how. Many people, though, elect to pay someone to train their dog for them. We often place our trust in these trainers, but what happens when something goes wrong? One California dog trainer is currently being charged with the death of a dog who was under his care – and the dog’s owner recently got a chance to share her testimony in an en emotional moment during the civil court case

Denise Swank hires a dog trainer

Denise Swank via ABC7 Source: Denise Swank via ABC7

It all started when Denise Swank paid dog trainer Garry Reynolds, of NorCal K9, $6,000 to train her German shepherd Gunnar. The dog was to be boarded by Reynolds until its training was complete. While they worried about Gunnar, Swank and her husband put their trust in the trainer and sent him off to be trained.

ABC7 Source: ABC7

The training itself was only supposed to take roughly four to five weeks, and included teaching Gunnar how to sit, stay, and heel on command. As the date approached for Gunnar to return, Swank said she was excited to see the results.

Unfortunately, Gunnar never finished his training.

Swank received some devastating news

CBS Sacramento Source: CBS Sacramento

Instead, just seventeen days into training, Gunnar died. It was days before his fourth birthday. According to a necropsy, the cause of death was listed as heat stroke. To say that Swank and her family were devastated is an understatement. As they tried to deal with the loss of their pet, they received his ashes in the mail.

Police received a written complaint about the facility that Reynolds ran

Napa Valley Register Source: Napa Valley Register

The Antioch Police Department received a written complaint about NorCal K9 following Gunnar’s death. This led to police officers searching the facility where the pets were kept. Now, Reynolds currently faces eight felony counts of animal cruelty. In addition to Gunnar’s death, seven other dogs on the property were also found to have insufficient water, food, and shelter.

Reynolds faced a civil trial

ABC7 Source: ABC7

Reynolds had sent photos of Gunnar to Swank before the dog’s death, showing that he was doing well. Swank did note that Gunnar did not appear happy in the photos, but she chalked it up to him being away from home for so long.

Appearing in court, Swank testified against Reynolds, who proclaimed his innocence in the dog’s death. She suspected that Reynolds had kicked Gunnar after she was informed her animal had also suffered from internal bleeding.

“It was my baby… We’d play ball. Go for walks. We would go to the lake,” Swank said in court.

Reynolds still faces criminal charges

Denise Swank via ABC7 Source: Denise Swank via ABC7

When the two met the month following Gunnar’s death, Swank said that Reynolds accused her of sending him an unhealthy dog. He also yelled at her. “Garry was yelling at me, ‘What happened? Animal control is calling me,'” she recalled.

The judge ended up awarding Swank $60,000 in the civil case. However, Reynolds still faces multiple criminal charges in the dog abuse case.

Hear more about the tragic story in the video below.

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Source: CBS Sacramento