After dozens of dogs were seized from a Naugatuck training facility, the police citing disturbing allegations of abuse, community members have been reeling.
Barbara Bethmann, of New York, says she was shocked when she heard about the allegations surrounding Black Rock Canines, where she adopted her sweet German shepherd Mary Ann.
The dog was named after Bethmann’s mom who recently passed away.
“So I lost my mom to COVID in November and I was looking to save Christmas because I just didn’t have time to really prepare last year like I usually do and I figured what could be better than a little German shepherd puppy,” Bethmann said.
Bethmann saw an ad on Instagram from Black Rock Canines that they had dogs available for adoption.
“They really pride themselves on being very reputable and train police dogs and even for the government," she said.
Now, the breeding and training facility for potential military and police canines is now at the center of a massive criminal investigation. The owner, a New Canaan police officer currently on leave, and the general manager of Black Rock Canines are accused of abusing dogs. Investigators believe at least 10 dogs were killed by employees of the business and then buried on the property.
“My 11-year-old, when I told her what happened, she just ran to the dog right away and hugged her and loved her because we just can’t imagine that something like that would happen to such a special dog,” said Bethmann.
She said she hopes some of what she has read just isn’t real.
“I had been thinking about doing their 21-day 'board and train' there because they just seemed so reputable and everything, that I thought they would be the best trainer and I’m glad I didn’t do that now.” Bethmann said.
Bethmann plans on taking Mary Ann to the vet for an extra checkup, as she’s now questioning every detail of her experience with Black Rock Canines. She says it always was strange why it took time to get Mary Ann’s paperwork from the company after picking up the dog. She shared those emails with us.
“I just walked up and they handed me a dog,” she said.
Whatever the circumstances, she’s just so thankful Mary Ann made her way into her family’s life.
“Just upset and disappointed to think if I didn’t get her, to think that could have happened to her.”
Black Rock Canines owner Daniel Rivera has not yet entered a plea for charges against him. We’ve reached out to his lawyer.
The Naugatuck Police Department says all the canines that were seized are being held together at a shelter and officials are assessing their health and providing for their needs.
Police say the dogs are not available for adoption and won’t be anytime soon, so they ask you don’t call requesting these animals.