A man who owned a dog boarding and training facility in Woodstock has been sentenced to 180 days in jail, but will only serve 90 days total, after being charged with starving seven dogs in his care.
Ryan M. Thomas, 39, of the 1100 block of Rail Drive in Woodstock, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, animal torture and six counts of cruelty to animals.
McHenry County Animal Control officers and McHenry County sheriff’s deputies investigated a complaint in December 2019 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 listed 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 at the time.
“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.
“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.
The post, which received over 2,000 shares, includes a before and after photo of one of the woman’s puppies showing significant weight loss.
Naperville resident Sean Arnold also shared 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.
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 also shared similar accounts about their dogs being abused by Thomas.
A grand jury indictment said Thomas caused serious injury to a dog by failing to feed her for at least five days and subjecting her to live in inhumane conditions.
Thomas allegedly starved six additional dogs who were in his care, the indictment said.
Court records show Thomas entered into a negotiated plea deal with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office in May.
Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of animal torture, a Class 3 felony, in exchange for the rest of his charges being dismissed.
McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge approved the plea deal and sentenced Thomas to 180 days in jail, with day-for-day credit to apply, meaning only 90 days would need to be served.
Even though Thomas was sentenced in May, Coppedge allowed him to not begin serving his jail sentence until August 1.
Thomas surrendered to the McHenry County Jail on Monday to serve his sentence, records show.
Thomas was ordered to pay over $8,000 in restitution to animal control as part of his sentence.
The man was also ordered to perform 100 hours of public service and be on probation for two years.
Thomas is set to be released from jail on October 28.