Ministry Complaint Leads to Jail Time for Bogus Dog Trainer

Ministry Complaint Leads to Jail Time for Bogus Dog Trainer

Postby CLS » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:05 pm

In response to a consumer complaint, an investigation by the Ministry of Consumer Services has resulted in the prosecution of, and imposition of fines, a restitution order, and jail time for, a Hamilton woman who falsely claimed to be a service dog trainer. As reported on the Ministry's website (http://news.ontario.ca/mcs/en/2010/01/hamilton-woman-posing-as-service-dog-trainer-sentenced-to-15-days-in-jail-and-24-months-probation.html:

"Hamilton Woman Posing As Service Dog Trainer Sentenced to 15 Days In Jail And 24 Months Probation

January 27, 2010 3:00 PM

Offender also ordered to pay restitution and other charges totalling $10,000

As a result of an investigation by Ontario's Ministry of Consumer Services, Hamilton Provincial Offences Court has convicted Jacqueline Wilson of K9 Kingdom Service Dogs, a company not registered to do business in Ontario, on two counts of engaging in an unfair practice and one count of failing to provide a contract that meets the requirements of Ontario's consumer protection legislation.

In April 2007, a Hamilton-area consumer contracted Ms. Wilson to train her dog as a service dog. Ms. Wilson promised to train the dog to help look after the consumer's son, who has severe brain damage and has gone through two years of extensive rehabilitation. The consumer was looking for a way to help her son gain some independence. Ms. Wilson claimed to be a qualified service dog trainer with over 20 years of experience. Ms. Wilson also offered to assist with local fundraising initiatives to offset the cost of training the dog, although the consumer still paid $6,000 to Ms. Wilson. It was agreed that the dog would be fully trained and returned to the consumer by January 2008.

The consumer's dog was not returned to her until the Hamilton Police Service intervened in May 2008. The dog had not been trained or adequately cared for and had not acquired any skills to assist the consumer's disabled son. By that time, however, Ms. Wilson had obtained nearly $9,000 through fundraising initiatives. The consumer filed a complaint with the Ministry of Consumer Services' Consumer Protection Branch.

On January 7, 2010, Ms. Wilson failed to appear for her trial in Hamilton Provincial Offences Court before Justice of the Peace Lillian Ross. The trial proceeded in absentia. It was established during the trial that Ms. Wilson had no experience or qualifications to provide the services she claimed to be able to provide.

Court sentenced Ms. Wilson in absentia to 15 days in jail followed by 24 months probation. Ms. Wilson was also ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution and fined a further $5,000 on other charges and ordered to refrain from engaging in any business involving animals.

On January 19, 2010, Ms. Wilson was arrested by the Hamilton Police Service and is currently serving the sentence issued on January 7, 2010. "

It is encouraging to see the Ministry taking strong action to protect the rights of innocent consumers.

Kathryn M. Bullon
Associate Legal Education Coordinator,
Community Law School
CLS
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