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Woodstock dog trainer arrested after allegedly starving, abusing dogs

Ryan M. Thomas, 37, of Woodstock.

A 37-year-old man, who owns a boarding and training facility in Woodstock, was arrested after being accused of starving and abusing dogs at his facility, according to police and several owners of the abused dogs.

Ryan M. Thomas, 37, of Woodstock, was charged with animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor.

McHenry County Animal Control officers and McHenry County sheriff’s deputies investigated a complaint Tuesday at Thomas’ dog training facility in the 9200 block of Country Club Road in unincorporated Woodstock.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said that Thomas, who lists himself as the owner of Practical K-9 Dog Training on LinkedIn, was arrested as a result of the investigation.

Seven dogs and two cats were removed from the property for violations of caregiver duties, the McHenry County Health Department said Friday.

“Animal owners/caregivers are required to provide a sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome, food and water, adequate shelter and protection from the weather, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, and humane care and treatment,” the McHenry County Health Department said in a statement.

A German Shepherd dog appears malnourished in an undated photo posted by Regina Pishchanskaya on Facebook.

“Ryan Thomas with Practical K9 has starved my puppy to nearly death and stolen two of my puppies,” Regina Pishchanskaya posted on Facebook along with several photos.

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The post, which has received 2,000 shares so far, features a before and after photo of one of the woman’s puppies showing significant weight loss.

Naperville resident Sean Arnold also posted on Facebook with his experience of sending his dog to Thomas’ training facility in Woodstock.

“I noticed she had a choke collar, her regular collar, and a shock collar on (I knew about that per the training) and they were all deathly tight… I started petting her, and literally felt all bone,” Arnold said in a June Facebook post.

Arnold added that his puppy was bony, neglected, dehydrated, malnourished and had sores on her body after being at the facility for four weeks.

Several other people on Facebook also posted similar accounts about their dogs being abused by Thomas.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office declined to release any additional information, citing an ongoing investigation, and deferring comment to McHenry County Animal Control and Adoption Center.

Thomas was released from the McHenry County Jail after posting bail Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in court on December 23 and additional charges are still possible.


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