More owners speak out about animal abuse in Lena, RPSO investigates claims

RPSO continues to investigate the alleged animal abuse claims in Lena.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:33 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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LENA, La. (KALB) - On Wednesday, August 10, videos that appear to show dogs being abused at Cypress Arrow Kennel and K-9 Academy began circulating on social media. Those videos quickly spread across the country and calls began for the academy in Lena to be shut down.

Kayci Gonzales’ dog, Yassie, is in one of the videos, being pushed to the ground by a trainer at Cypress Arrow.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s unnecessary,” Gonzales told KALB. “She’s sweet, there’s no reason for any dog to be treated like that but especially not someone as mild as her.”

Gonzales went to law enforcement and said she hopes others with negative experiences at the K-9 Academy also come forward.

Randy and Dana Thomas did just that, coming forward to share their story. They purchased their Cane Corso Mia from Cypress Arrow. They said she was mild-mannered until she was sent to a month-long obedience training session at the K-9 Academy. When Mia got back from training, she became aggressive with the other family dogs, which led to the Thomas’ enrolling the dog in Cypress Arrow’s advanced obedience class. Instead of solving their problems, they said Mia came home worse than before, even biting family members.

“I believe that she was treated that way, beaten into submission over there (Cypress Arrow) because we never had those problems with her until she came back,” said Randy.

“The videos that are circulating made me think, you know what, this is exactly why she (Mia) is the way she is,” said Dana.

With even more issues with their dog, the Thomas’ reached out to Cypress Arrow’s owner, Tina Frey, again for help. They claim Frey told them the following:

“The advice I got was to go to Walmart, get a wiffle ball bat and beat her in the face,” said Dana. “I can’t do that, morally I can’t do that. I don’t want my dog to be fearful of me, I want her respect. I don’t want her to be fearful, we don’t beat dogs.”

“That’s what the owner of Cypress Arrow told us, get a bat and beat her in the face,” said Randy.

Despite her sometimes aggressive behavior, the Thomas’ have not given up on Mia.

“I have a lot of hope for her, and that’s why she is still here,” said Dana. “It’s not her fault.”

“She’s a good dog, down deep, she’s a really good dog,” said Randy. “We love our dogs, she’s part of the family, she’s a sweetheart.”

The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the animal abuse videos, but several people have alleged that Frey, the owner of Cypress Arrow, has ties to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Mark Wood told KALB that in 2019, Frey was brought on at the sheriff’s office as a non-paid reserve deputy, which is basically a volunteer for RPSO.

“The reason that she was here, from what I understand, is that she had a service of some dogs, like bloodhounds or whatever, that she could use for search and rescue,” said Sheriff Wood. “That was her assignment when she was here.”

Sheriff Wood said that when the agency was alerted about the animal abuse claims, Frey was suspended as a reserve deputy, with her credentials pulled. He also addressed rumors that Frey trained RPSO K9′s.

“She never has trained any of our dogs, we get most of our dogs from North Carolina, that’s where our dogs come from,” said Sheriff Wood. “We have never asked her, since I’ve been here I’ve never asked her, and as far as I know, she has never been asked to or trained any of our dogs.”

When asked about the status of RPSO’s investigation into Cypress Arrow, the sheriff said it might take some time to get all the answers.

“The video is very disturbing, horrific to a lot of people, but that can’t cloud our judgment. We have to investigate, we have to go where the evidence leads us, where the facts take us, we can’t just blow up and do things. So, I just want the public to know that we are on top of this, we are investigating it. Believe it or not, this is a special kind of case, and we have to get all our I’s dotted and T’s crossed. "

RPSO said the investigation is ongoing and is asking anyone with information regarding the alleged animal abuse at Cypress Arrow to contact them.

KALB has made multiple attempts to contact Cypress Arrow Kennel and K-9 Academy and Tina Frey, but have not gotten a response.

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