APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – Complaints against an Apex nonprofit continue to stack up.
The attorney general has now received 50 complaints against Ry-Con Service Dogs.
CBS 17 in Raleigh has heard from families across the country who claim they were sold aggressive and untrained dogs, but for the first time former Ry-Con employees are sharing their stories.
Brien Berry took a video on his first and last day working as a trainer for Ry-Con Service Dogs.
“The thing that shocked me the most was like the kennel aggression,” said Berry. “In the mornings the protocol was to walk each dog individually and when you’re doing that the dogs in the kennel are trying to get at the dogs that you’re walking and just stuff that service dogs aren’t supposed to do.”
Berry has worked as a professional dog trainer for years and knew immediately that something wasn’t right at Ry-Con.
“If the dog can’t do simple things like sit, stay, walk and heel, how could you possibly expect it to do medical alerts or prevent a child from fleeing? That’s next level, Training a dog is a lot like building a house if your foundation is cracked then the rest of the house is gonna be messed up,” said Berry.
Kenyetta Redmond also worked at Ry-Con.
She says Mathis first hired her to clean the dog kennels in August 2018. Within a couple of months, she says Mathis promoted her to dog trainer.
Redmond admits she was unqualified.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing at all,” Redmond said.
Redmond says she witnessed a lot of disturbing things, but the worst part was Mathis’ training techniques.
“His method to gain a dog’s attention was to flip the dog, which means flip the dog on their back, he’ll put his knee on their throat and he’ll stretch their legs up behind their head and they would be crying,” Redmond recalled.
Redmond believes Mathis was abusive to the dogs.
“He would drag them, drag them on the concrete until their paw pads broke,” said Redmond. “Drag them on rocks, yank them on the floor. At the time it was very disturbing, but at the time we didn’t say anything because he was our boss. He was paying our bills.”
CBS 17’s Kelly Kennedy asked Redmond if she believed Mark Mathis was sending the dogs home with families knowing they weren’t trained to the standard that a service dog should be.
Yes, he knew,” said Redmond. “We told him. He didn’t want to hear it. He wanted to send dogs out as soon as possible, so he could get new pups.”
Once again, Kelly Kennedy went to Mathis’ home to give him a chance to share his side of the story. He did not answer his door or his phone.
Both Berry and Redmond hope that Mathis will never be allowed to train dogs again.
Redmond says she doesn’t even think Mathis should be allowed to have a pet. The attorney general’s investigation is ongoing.