Dog owners blame Northern California’s Auburn K9 dog trainer for pet deaths and disappearances

AUBURN, Calif. (KGO) – Two Northern California families are blaming a dog trainer with San Francisco ties for the disappearance and death of their dogs. The same dog trainer faces charges in Nevada County of neglecting animals and operating without a kennel license.

In Placer County, the sheriff’s department recommends filing similar charges there.

Megan Badger from Auburn introduces her 1-year-old son Knox.

She got nervous when her 4-year-old French bulldog became jealous of their then-newborn.

“He showed a little aggression so I immediately looked for training,” she said.

RELATED: Bill to protect canine families and pets from unqualified trainers passes assembly committee

Applegate’s Maureen Kelly says her two dogs, Quinn and Luna, grew up as best friends.

She wanted them to get a basic education.

“I just wanted basic obedience. I wanted them to sit, obey and come at my command,” she said.

Both Badger and Kelly sent their dogs to Auburn K9.

Both say they regret it.

Both want to know what Antoine DeShaun Moore, dog trainer and co-owner of Auburn K9, has been doing with their dogs.

RELATED: Families remember lost pets amid renewed calls to regulate dog training industry

“I feel helpless because I can’t physically get Antoine to talk and tell me something,” Badger said.

Kelly says Quinn and Luna were never the same after returning from Auburn K9.

Physically, she described them as “abused”.

“It was obvious they were being abused,” Kelly said. “They were thin. They were, they were losing weight. They were malnourished. They were dehydrated.”

She says both of them seemed edgy and always on edge after their return.

One day she says a delivery driver left her door ajar.

RELATED: Bay Area dog trainer convicted of 4 felonies of animal abuse

Based on paw prints she saw on the ground, she believes Luna and Quinn were confronted by a mountain lion.

“When they were found 12 days later … I’m so sorry,” Kelly said. “When they were found 12 days later by a hiker down here in the gorge, they were still together and she… and Luna was in one piece, but Quinn, she was in all sorts of different pieces.”

Quinn had been abused.

The family believes that the two were too weak to fight back.

In a phone interview, Moore told 7 On Your Side: “When the dogs left my care, they were perfectly fine. I don’t know how, as an animal trainer, I can leave a dog vulnerable to a mountain lion.”

RELATED: Dogs would get protections in California under new dog trainer bill

Badger may relate to Kelly’s story. She, too, felt unfairly treated by Moore. Badger hasn’t seen her dog, Winston, since April, when she dropped him off at Auburn K9.

One night she woke up to a text message from him about her four and a half year old French bulldog. She said it read something like this: “‘When I put his leash on, he pinched me and startled me, and he bit me and got away,'” Badger said.

It happened at McLaren Park in San Francisco, which is where Moore’s bio says he grew up.

Moore told 7 On Your Side: “It was an unfortunate situation. I just lost her dog. I didn’t want to lose her dog.”

“I think it’s just the unknown. I think if we could find it if we could question Antoine. If we were told ‘he died.’ I need that degree or ‘he sold it?'” Badger said.

No formal charges have been filed against Moore in Placer County, but he remains under investigation.

RELATED: Two dog deaths spark concern over lack of regulations for dog trainers

Angela Musallam is with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.

“He committed fraud. He led numerous victims to believe that he was training their dogs and he took their money. Thousands and thousands of dollars and their dogs have not been trained,” Musallam said.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Department has referred her case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

A decision on whether to proceed with the case is still pending.

Jason Doolittle from Auburn left his dog Liberty with Moore and Auburn K9.

The training did not go as planned and Moore agreed to extend the training for free.

One day, Moore contacted Doolittle with news that the Nevada County Animal Welfare Department was at his home, where he had taken Liberty.

Moore told 7 On Your Side, “One day I overslept and the dog peed in the box.”

But Doolittle says the Nevada County animal control officer put it differently.

“She told me the conditions were deplorable. She said our dog Libby was caked with feces and urine. She was in a small travel-size box in a garage with no ventilation, the doors were closed. The windows were closed. No air conditioning (ing),” Doolittle said.

Liberty is part of a lawsuit charging Moore with three counts of “unlawfully allowing the animal to be in a building without proper care and attention.”

A fourth offense alleges that he “operates or maintains a kennel without a proper kennel license”.

The prosecutor’s office says dogs have been confiscated by animal control from Moore’s home four times since December because of poor living conditions.

Moore says that’s not accurate, saying dogs were once confiscated from his home because of a storm that caused flooding.

A bill by Rep. Adrian Nazarian (D – Hollywood Hills) and inspired by 7 On Your Side’s coverage of dog trainers would require dog trainers to disclose their training methods, any licenses they hold or training they have received, and the disclosure relating to all ordering civil judgments and criminal convictions for cruelty to animals.

“What this bill will do is accountability and also the ability to take coaches to court,” MP Nazarian said.

Doolittle believes the bill will protect canine families in the future.

“We absolutely wouldn’t have used him if we knew there was no licensing, if we knew his dogs were confiscated because of the conditions,” he said.

Nazarian’s bill has already been approved by the Assembly and passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
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