A Virginia dog trainer is at the center of an alleged scam that's left victims from coast to coast. He's accused of charging thousands of dollars for diabetic alert dogs that were never properly trained.
The company called "Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers," claims to be a 501(c)(3) non-profit run by a self-proclaimed veteran. The website boasts client testimonials, with heartwarming photos and videos
On Tuesday, the Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said the operation is a scam and is suing the so-called non-profit, as well as its owner Charles Warren.
When properly trained, a dog can smell when a diabetic person's blood sugar is dangerously low. And while they're supposed to save lives, Virginia's Attorney General says these dogs are nothing more than pets.
"You save up thousands of dollars. In some cases these dogs cost tens of thousands of dollars, only to get back a puppy that's untrained and can't really help your child at all," said A.G. Mark Herring.
Fifty plaintiffs from across the country allege they paid a small fortune for a diabetic service dog that couldn't perform. AG Herring is alleging a laundry list of violations of the consumer protection act, claiming it hasn't registered as a charity in years and that the owner isn't even a real veteran.
He's now helping people seek reimbursement for the thousands of dollars that families paid for the pups.
The company released this statement:
We have not yet seen the Attorney General’s lawsuit, but we deny any allegation of wrongdoing and we absolutely deny that we have ever set out to mislead, cheat or defraud our many happy clients. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers has a long history of serving people with invisible disabilities, including many people with Type I Diabetes. This long history of service includes being a recipient of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s “Spotlight" Award in 2017.
We have been working with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office to address any areas of concern they may have. In many areas, we had already changed our procedures long before their investigation began. The Attorney General’s Office, however, made it clear that they only wanted the complete destruction of SDWR and Dan Warren. Over the last 8 months, Mr. Warren has suffered a series of debilitating brain injuries. His doctors indicated that the severe stress he was under certainly contributed to these brain injuries. This stress included the Attorney General’s investigation. Dan is working hard at rehab. The Attorney General’s Office has been aware of his condition for many months. I am personally very disappointed that an agency as important and powerful as the Attorney General’s Office would allow itself to wage such a personal campaign against a company that has done so much good and to take such an action while knowing the delicate medical condition of Mr. Warren and the possible effects this action could have.
We will review the lawsuit when we receive it, and we promise to fight these ridiculous allegations at every step. We ask that all of our loyal clients who are all fighting their own battles against invisible disabilities know that we continue to work with them and support their efforts in training and improving the performance of their support dogs.