For months know we've been investigating the owner of a Colorado service dog company. Tina Rivero runs Noelle's Dogs Four Hope...it's alleged, her company sold seizure and peanut alert dogs to families across the U.S. without proper training. We were turned onto the story after an the Matlack family contacted us to complain about Rivero. The Oklahoma family received a service dog 'in training' from Rivero...but now worry the dog may never receive the training that was supposed to come with the dog. Mama Matlack (Becky) is worried sick. Her 3 1/2 year-old is serverly allergic to peanuts...the tiny girl (Jenny) is in desperate need of a peanut sniffing dog that can alert and protect her from peanuts...it's a life or death situation. So far...our investigation has turned up complaints in Colorado, California, and Nevada. The family from Nevada even sent its peanut sniffing service dog back to Rivero after it ate peanuts...putting their allergic child at risk. To this point...Rivero has stayed mum on the matter... refusing to comment specifically on any of the complaints. She told a reporter with our sister station in Denver that she's wrongly accused and ALL of her service dogs are properly trained...with the exception of those dogs that are still in training...like the Matlack's dog. Trust me...this story is far from over.
As it stands now...there's no one policing those who adopt, train, and sell service dogs. There are however non profits and other groups, like Assistance Dogs International, that specialize in training and placing assistance dogs.
Here's some things to keep in mind when searching for a service dog:
*What's the health of the dog? eyes checked...blood count...liver functioning correctly...bad hips?
*What are the trainer's credentials? What experience do they have training the dog?
*Track records of service dogs placed with families? Check with legit satisfied customers...
*Is there a support system in place for families?
*And read the contract carefully...that's a biggie!
Oh...and I also found this facebook page...where people for and against Rivero have been sounding off...
Now...I called Tina Rivero...but instead received messages from a lady named Tonia (I think she works for Rivero and her daugther has one of Rivero's dogs)...Not sure why Tina couldn't call me back herself...but oh well. Here's Tonia's (unedited) response to the Matlack family...
What I want to say : This is in relpy to a message from Noelle's Dogs Four Hope that Scott contacted them about a story with Becky Matlack involving the puppy-in- training, Penny.
Scott has contacted Noelle's Dogs Four Hope reporting to them that Becky Matlack is claiming she were promised things that she has not received from Noelle's Dog's Four Hope.
I would like you to note below is a list of the things that we are willing to provide to Scott and KFOR plus any other news station that request such information.
1. Penny, the puppy-in-training, is the property of Noelle's Dogs Four Hope along with proper documentation.
2. A statement declaring that the puppy-in-training should be surrendered immediatly.
3. A copy of Becky's payment records to Noelle's Dogs Four Hope and statement clarifying the amount overdue.
4. A copy of the contract between Becky and Noelle's Dogs Four Hope.
5. A statement of Becky's neglect of turning in your training logs for Penny along with supporting e mails.
6. A copy of all 50 plus e mails to and from Becky, since May of 2010.
Here's the thing...it's not just the Matlacks complaining about Rivero...we have like a dozen or so complaints...coincidence??
I'm Scott Hines...In Your Corner!