BURLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) – A now-former Burlington firefighter who also used to run a dog training facility appeared in court on Wednesday to face animal abuse charges after customers said their dogs were abused at “Falco K9” in South Boston.
Tyler Falconer, 30, faced a judge on charges he abused and neglected the animals that were in his care – three counts of animal cruelty by a custodian and three counts of improperly tethering or confining an animal.
According to court documents, Lindsay Foster’s dog “Watch” was one of three animals Falconer is accused of abusing. She said she brought her five-month-old dog to the facility to be house trained in February, only to discover her puppy became emaciated when she picked him up two weeks later.
“He could barely pick his head up because he was so hungry and so exhausted,” Foster told reporters.
She went on to report the situation to the Animal Rescue League and later came across other dog owners with similar complaints.
Several people who dropped their dogs off at the facility said they found their pets injured and emaciated afterwards, which led to the charges Falconer now faces.
“It’s not going to change the fact that [Watch] was starved, maimed and abused for two weeks and it’s not going to erase the suffering of all of the other dogs that he hurt,” Foster said.
According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, one of the dogs lost 20 pounds while another suffered a foot puncture wound that required medical attention.
Court paperwork revealed that investigators spoke with people who worked at Falco K9, who described deplorable conditions at the kennel.
“On multiple occasions I saw dogs in crates that were too small for them,” part of the statements read. “The basement flooded multiple times. Sometimes dogs were brought upstairs, sometimes they were left down there.”
“There was a case where a dog was impregnated on the daycare floor – owners were not notified, even after they reached out questioning what occurred,” another statement read.
“Thank you for all of the staff members who are coming forward with this information but where the hell have you been?” Foster said. “You could have prevented at least some of this.”
In a statement, District Attorney Kevin Hayden thanked the Animal Rescue League for its work, while stating the following:
“Dogs bring so much joy to the lives of the families who care for them and love them. They return that love, enormously. When necessary to board it’s vital for the families to know that their dogs are in a safe, healthy environment and are treated with kindness and care. That was clearly not the case here, as these disturbing facts make quite clear.”
The court entered a “not guilty” plea on Falconer’s behalf on Wednesday, with a judge releasing him on personal recognizance.
He was ordered to return to court on July 18 for a pre-trial hearing.
In a statement received by 7NEWS, Burlington Town Administrator Paul Sagarino said Falconer had also resigned from his position with the town’s fire department.
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