VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- A number of people contacted 13News Now after a dog that a family adopted from a rehabilitation center mauled a woman this week.
That center -- Forever Home Rehabilitation Center -- has its adoption facility in Virginia Beach and a training center in Norfolk.
13News Now began looking into the history of the operation and some of the people who are associated with it. In doing so, we spoke to former employee Karen Reams who said she worked for the rescue in 2016.
Reams claimed that despite the FHRC's stated mission to take aggressive dogs and rehabilitate them, that was not what happened during her time there.
“Dogs are coming in, and sometimes within as little as one week or two weeks, coming in with dangerous bite histories from the rescues, and being adopted right back out to the public,” said Reams.
13News Now tried to obtain documents that would support Reams’ claim, but the state doesn’t inspect how animals are trained. It inspects the physical conditions of shelters.
A 2015 inspection report showed Forever Home Rehabilitation Center had numerous violations. Several cages were deemed unsafe, and there was not adequate ventilation, resulting in an odor. An inspector also found a dog wasn't given proper emergency care, which resulted in its death.
Since the 2015 report, the center had undergone inspections and passed.
In terms of people closely associated with the shelter, online court records show that President Jamie Cochran had multiple charges filed against her for inadequate animal care in 2015. Manager Toni Enright also faced 25 charges of failing to provide proper care for animals.
One of the directors of Forever Home Rehabilitation Center offered an exclusive statement to 13News Now, specific to the death of the the woman whom the Pit Bull attacked this week:
"FHRC was cleared (this morning) of any and all contributory negligence in the death of Mrs. Patterson’s mother by the state vet and animal control. FHRC cannot make any public statement at this time as the Patterson Family is pursuing their rightful, legal solutions.”
In response to the director's claim that the state had cleared FHRC, State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Broaddus told 13News Now that his office had no tie to the situation:
"The State Veterinarian and the Va. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services are not involved in this tragic case and we offer our deepest condolences to the family. We have no authority here as the case is being handled by local law enforcement. We inspect such facilities for sanitation and adherence to the state’s animal laws. We are not involved with placement of individual animals. The State Veterinarian cannot clear anyone in this case or any other."
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