Hickory Co. man says his puppy starved to death at Polk Co. training facility

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – A Hickory County man wants answers after he says his seven-month-old puppy starved to death while at a training facility in Polk County.

Bart Davis says his vet confirms the German shepherd Ava likely went for an extended period of time without food and water during her stay at Bolivar Complete K9.

“(She was) a beautiful dog that ends up coming home in a trash sack all in the hands of a professional trainer that you trust,” said Davis.

He says he and Ava were doing well at start of their training sessions with Josh Murray.

“When we were together and I was with Ava and he was there he would tell us what to do. We did it. It worked he did a nice job. That’s why he drew me in because he was doing a nice job,” explained Davis.

It’s why he says he decided to board her for a few weeks. He wanted to give Murray more time to work with Ava.

“I text him and I said I would love to come see Ava and see how she’s doing. Two hours later he calls me and said Ava had passed away,” explained Davis.

He says he immediately went to Murray’s facility to get his dog.

“I open the door. I can smell her. Her hair was falling off. I take her out. I didn’t say a word to him. I took her straight to Dr. Hood for a necropsy because something’s wrong.”

Countryside Veterinary Small Animal Clinic performed the examination.

“If a dog is emaciated, from what the vet said, he wasn’t feeding her,” said Davis.

Davis filed a complaint with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies are investigating claims of animal abuse. Davis says deputies tell him the laws are limited.

Davis says others have dealt with this.

“Just in two days I’ve talked to three people that had the same type of situation or know somebody who has. No one knows it. My hope is that this stops. No one should have to go through that,” he said.

Josh Murray didn’t reply to our request for an on camera interview but did send this statement via email:

“We are deeply saddened by the situation and the passing of the dog. We can assure you there were no ill intentions or intent for this unfortunate situation to occur and that we feel for both the dog and the owner. All animals in our care are given constant access to food and water and are monitored hourly. We want nothing but the best for the animals we care for and love them like our own. We have not yet heard from the owner through this situation and would be glad to resolve this unfortunate circumstance.”

“I want him shut down. I don’t want him even selling dog food,” said Davis.

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