The owners of an Ashland kennel were horrified when they found a video of one employee allegedly kicking and slamming a chocolate Labrador retriever to the ground after the 2-year-old dog refused to come inside.
“As lifelong dog lovers and animal advocates we cannot tolerate any incident like this and our policy is to report to the proper authorities and to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” wrote Kim Cadiff and her husband, William Craig, the owners of Camp Canine, in a statement on their Facebook page.
Michael Edison, 23, of Marlborough, was arrested and charged with one count of animal cruelty.
Edison has worked at the dog day care and spa for about a year and a half and had no other recorded cases of abuse, Ashland police said.
At his arraignment in Framingham District Court on Monday, Edison pleaded not guilty.
He posted $1,000 cash bail and is to return to court June 12 for a pretrial conference, according to the clerk’s office.
In the video, captured on a camera installed so owners can watch their dogs while they are away, Edison is allegedly seen chasing the dog into the facility.
He seemed “visibly frustrated” as he kicked the dog, named Dexter, multiple times, said Ashland police Lieutenant Richard Briggs.
Cadiff said she came into the kennel early Thursday morning and saw that Edison was “enraged.”
“He was screaming, ‘I hate that dog, I hate Dexter,’ ” said Cadiff in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Edison also appears to slam the dog’s head on the ground in the recording, said Briggs. The video is not being released.
“He told owners the dog had attacked him,” Briggs said in a telephone interview. “But it’s clear in this video the dog was submissive.”
Cadiff and Craig just bought the kennel four weeks ago. Cadiff said she kept Edison on staff because he was highly recommended by the original owners. He has since been fired.
“We have established a zero tolerance policy with regards to how we care for the dogs in our care,” said Cadiff and Craig in the statement.
Dexter, who is ordinarily very energetic, was shaken by the incident, said Cadiff. Shortly after the confrontation with Edison, she said, she took the dog out to play and noticed he was bleeding.
“I knew something was up,” said Cadiff. “It was too quiet in the kennel, the dogs are usually so noisy and excited.”
Cadiff said Dexter’s owners took the news well and immediately took the dog to a veterinarian.
He is doing well and being given free treatment because of the alleged abuse, said Cadiff.
“I was sobbing on the phone to them,” said Cadiff. “I felt so bad, but they were kind. I’m glad Dexter is OK.”
Cadiff said she and her husband plan to review all video recordings to ensure there were no other cases of abuse.
“We take this extremely seriously and will continue to monitor the operation and ensure that your dogs are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” the couple said in the statement.