Feb 18, 2011 12:12 AM by Matt Stafford
The owner of a now-closed Colorado Springs business - that claimed to shelter dogs of soldiers while they're deployed -- has taken flack after one soldier didn't get his dog back. The dog was adopted out and eventually put to sleep.
The situation has gained attention online from across the country from people who want to know how this could happen.
Sergeant Chris Dillon says Scott Martin and Rocky Mountain Dog Trainers took in his American Bulldog, Ava, while he was deployed last year. In June Martin announced the same offer on News First 5 to other soldiers as part of a new program.
"This is man's best friend," Martin said in June. "Why go serve their country and then have to lose their dog as well."
However, Dillon did lose his dog.
"He (Martin) was like, 'Oh yeah, Ava's doing fine. We'll work on getting transportation for her to get her down there to you," describes Dillon in January after finding out Ava had been euthanized. "Three or four weeks went by and we didn't have any contact from him."
For balanced coverage we spoke with Martin. He says Dillon didn't call asking for his dog when he got back. Martin says they couldn't afford to keep Ava any longer. He maintains he adopted her out, and was sad to find out Ava was put to sleep.
"When did you hear that they had put Ava down?" News First 5 asked Martin.
"I believe it was January 17th," Martin responded.
In the meantime a group on Facebook had been looking for Ava, now they're focusing on the other dogs Martin had.
"We kind of turned it into a let's find them all and see if they've all been placed in good homes," Paula Boschung, the page administrator for the page Bring Ava Home!
Boschung says they've have found several in good homes, but also say three other dogs have died and they're still looking for more. They say they've asked Martin where the dogs are, but he hasn't helped.
Martin says he feels like the page has been a witch-hunt against him.
"I think some of the comments maybe have gone a little too far, people saying they wished he was dead," Boschung says, she adds that posts like that have been taken down.
Martin says he has no problem giving them the information they want, but he wants them to ask instead of demand like he feels they have been doing.
"If they ask, and they have a reason to be asking, which everybody does, I'll give them any information they want," Martin says.
"Do you have records on which dogs you had?" News First 5 asked Martin.
"We have all of our records." Martin said. NF5 asked for copies of client information that Martin said he would provide, but he never gave any after multiple requests.
"Why would he not want the opportunity to tell 539 people on Ava's page that I'm completely wrong," Boschung says.
Martin wants the page to stop, but Boschung says they won't until all of the dogs have been found.