Anchorage woman paid company thousands for ‘failed’ service dog
It’s easy to spot Hachi at Anchorage’s University Lake dog park.
“You can see the poodle pounce,” said owner Jessica Moye, as Hachi excitedly bounced from one end of the open area to the other, interacting with any dog that would pay attention to him.
Moye says the dog park is his happy place.
“I've read that [for] dogs that have the equivalent of PTSD, often this is their therapy, being around other dogs, so maybe that's what he's experiencing.”
She says it’s the only place she sees his playful side. At home, it’s another story-- he's a completely different dog.
“He’s very timid, very nervous, always very anxious,” said Moye, describing the dog that’s terrified of new people and places, not at all like the dog she thought she had bought.
“I love him, he’s an amazing pet, but he’s not a service dog,” Moye said.
Moye lives with diagnosed type one diabetes. She wears a device on her arm that alerts her if her blood sugar gets too high or too low, but the beeping doesn’t always wake her up.
“There’s no one to catch it if I go low in the middle of the night and I don’t wake up,” the single mother explained.
That was supposed to be Hachi’s job. Moye says she agreed to pay Diabetic Alert Dogs of America $15,000 for a dog trained to alert her to drastic changes in her blood sugar levels. Hachi was supposed to go everywhere with her and sense the danger even faster than the device she uses.
Instead, she says the dog has taken off running inside a Red Robin restaurant after being spooked by a child holding a balloon, refuses to get into the car on his own and gives false alerts when her blood sugar is normal.
Moye says she realized there was a problem almost immediately.
“The first day I tried to put his vest on, he ran and hid from me,” said Moye.
She says the company who delivered Hachi told her that meant he just "really liked his new home".
After a couple months, Moye says it was clear Hachi wasn’t a service dog, so he became a pet and the company agreed to let her keep him, and train a new dog for her.
But 10 months later, that dog was delivered to another Anchorage family.
Moye says that’s when she demanded her money back. She had only paid $11,000 before noticing the problems.
In a recording of a phone conversation between Moye and who she says is the company’s director of business operations, Edwin Peeples, the man on the other end of the phone can be heard telling Moye she can have the refund but must sign a non-disclosure clause.
Instead of signing the document, Moye launched a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau, which she says had previously given the company an A+ rating.
Now, WUSA, which aired an investigation into the company earlier this month, reports the BBB has revoked the stellar rating.
Moye says she won’t trust another company to get her a service dog ever again and hopes to one day work with a trainer personally.
“I could have died lots and lots of times during this period where I was supposed to have a service dog that would save my life,” said Moye.
KTVA has reached out to Diabetic Alert Dogs of America but has not heard back.
Copyright 2017 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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