A Vancouver dog trainer has lost the right to keep his four dogs after videos showing his punching one and slamming it into the concrete.
In an Oct. 11 appeal ruling from the British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board, the organization said Glen Affenzeller, known as Glen Zeller, would not regain his four dogs following their removal after an incident on Aug. 1.
According to board documents, the decision was based on a video where Zeller “picked up a dog by the head, slammed it onto the concrete and punched it closed fisted multiple times.”
A statement from the BC SPCA’s chief prevention officer Marcie Moriarty said “it was clear that some of these dogs suffered mental or emotional injury and distress … (and) have been experiencing chronic ongoing pain and discomfort in addition to blatant neglect and untreated medical conditions”.
Zeller is a dog trainer in Vancouver who operates DogTalk. His website describes it as a “unique service that works with dogs and their owners to help them effectively communicate and resolve training challenges and behaviour issues.”
Zeller’s business include using four of his own dogs to “aid in the teaching and influence of clients’ and rescue dogs.”
The SPCA took away the dogs after an Aug. 1 incident where Zeller hit the dogs. Zeller said he was walking six dogs, including his own, when they found two dogs barking aggressively behind a fence.
He said that one of his dogs, Dawson, on his other dog’s, Carebear’s, ear. Zeller said he punched Dawson four times as a “necessary” emergency response.
He told the board he was teaching the dogs to respect their masters.
Zeller called 11 character witnesses who seemed happy about how their dogs were trained, but the board said they offered “no meaningful evidence about the state of his residence or property.”
The SPCA has received a number of complaints about Zeller over the years, including a pit bull type dog having its face shoved into the ground and spat at after it had dragged another dog, a dog being grabbed by the lip and a and a dog being thrown to the ground and punched four or five times in the face.
Medical evidence showed Zeller’s dogs were anxious, fearful and one’s bed was dirty and urine-soaked.
The board found Zeller did not appear concerned about his training methods, and believed them to be appropriate and successful.
He denied “striking, kicking or lifting dogs off the ground.”
The board found “his views are in stark contrast to the expert witnesses who concluded the videotaped behaviour was abusive and the result foreseeable,” and that his behaviour distressed the dogs.
The dogs will remain in the SPCA’s care.