TAMPA, Fla, (WFLA) – A Sarasota man, who is an amputee, paid $10,000 for a service dog then, he learned his dog trainer was accused of falsifying vet records.
Now he has a sick puppy and no refund.
“I don’t know what to do,” said Donald Schultz.
Schultz was injured while working at a police department in New York.
“I had a simple broken ankle that turned into 26 infections, 26 operations, 10 1/2 days in a coma,” he said.
When he had surgery recently on the other leg recently and heard bad news and decided to get a service dog to help with everyday tasks.
Schultz turned found an ad online for Home Sweet Home Service and Therapy Dog Training, ran by Lori Homer, of Holiday.
He signed a contract for a service dog and named her Astra.
But things quickly went downhill. Appointments for visits with the dog were canceled, and he was told the dog was sick.
Recently, he said he asked for proof of the dog’s illness and says Homer gave him a copy of vet records for a visit on Nov. 11. Schultz called the vet to check it out and was shocked.
8 On Your Side’s Better Call Behnken also called the vet’s office and was told that the visit never happened.
Schultz canceled Astra’s training with Homer and took the dog. He wants a refund for the training.
“We took her from a bad situation,” he said.
Better Call Behnken went to Homer’s home and business address and she shut the door and wouldn’t talk.
Pasco County officials are investigating the issue on several fronts. Homer doesn’t have a Business Tax Receipt, which is required to conduct business legally in Pasco County. She was cited for that last week and give one week to correct the issue.
In addition, she was cited by Animal Control for failing to have a health certificate for Astra. Pasco County Code Enforcement also cited Homer for trash and debris on the property.
A spokesman for Pasco County government says county investigators were told by Homer that she would pay back Schultz. However, Schultz says she has since sent him a message saying she has changed her mind.
Meanwhile, county officials say they referred the situation to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
If you have something you think needs to be investigated, contact Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken at BetterCallBehnken@wfla.com or 1-855-BEHNKEN.
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