Chicago Dog Trainer Cleared Of Animal Cruelty Charges

MooreShe calls herself the Dog Whisperer of Chicago.

Ami Moore, a dog trainer, was charged with animal cruelty earlier this year for her training methods and use of shock collars. Several pet owners claimed that they witnessed dogs yelping in pain from shock collars and even two of the pet owners testified at the trial.

Moore, the owner of Doggie Do Right dog training, denied using a shock collar on one dog, and admitted having two collars on another dog, but she said that it was at a level that simply tickled the dog.

Last week, all animal cruelty charges were dropped against Moore when a judge said the state attorney’s office failed to call an expert witness about shock collars and their effects on animals.

Moore stated, “As I have always maintained, I am totally innocent. Every charge was false.”

The controversy over Moore and her methods started earlier this year. Pet owners around the Chicago area saw Moore use shock collars on dogs including a Bichon Frise. Witnesses saw the dogs yelping in pain from the shock collars.

Complaints from pet owners alleged that Moore “tormented a Newfoundland dog by repeatedly administering ‘shocks’ via an electronic collar causing the dog to cry out in pain, pant in distress and scratch at the collar in an attempt to stop the shocking sensation,” and that she “tormented a Bichon/Poodle mix dog by fastening multiple electronic collars . . . and repeatedly administering ‘shocks’ to the dog.” There was even a complaint that Moore had put a shock collar around a puppy’s groin area.

Last year, Moore told a local newspaper that she had been training dogs professionally for 12 years and that before her own business, she was a trained at PetSmart. She said that she left PetSmart because she had an issue with their policy of using only positive-reinforcement techniques.

She stated, “It’s like the same problem with badly behaved children in restaurants. Everybody’s afraid to say, ‘No, you can’t do that’ because no one wants to be mean. So now we’ve got all these badly behaved kids and badly behaved dogs running around, and everyone wonders, How did this happen?”

Moore described one of her concepts, Alphatude, “It is the job of the human to lead, and thus put the dog in touch with his ‘inner wolf.’ Wolves in the wild are in harmony with themselves, their family members and their environment, and thus they are not neurotic, aren’t needlessly aggressive, don’t have separation anxiety, aren’t obese, aren’t hyperactive, and aren’t obsessive-compulsive. With the application of Alphatude, our own beloved dogs don’t need to be burdened with these afflictions anymore, either.”

Various dog trainers that focus on positive-reinforcement training said electronic collars are just a quick fix and don’t really teach or train a dog.

The spotlight on Moore has also brought a focus on the fact that no state in the US requires any kind of official certification for dog trainers. One trainer said, “You could hang up the phone right now, call yourself a trainer, and be in business tomorrow.”

Source: CBS2 Chicago, Chicago Reader

(Thanks Carolyn & Maggie)

29 Responses to “Chicago Dog Trainer Cleared Of Animal Cruelty Charges”

  1. Lynne says:

    Was this broad a white slaveowner is a past life? She thinks torture is okay if it serves a purpose? I’m surprised she isn’t part of the Bush administration.
    Anyone who takes an animal to her is either a fool or totally uninformed.

  2. Nora and Rufus says:

    If there have been numerous complaints, there must be a reason and substantial pain suffered by those dogs…… A shock collar around a puppies groin region?! The “trainer” ought to try that one on herself. Sounds like she is shock collar happy, like a trigger happy (dog killer) cop. And I am not speaking of the good cops or good dog trainers, as there are many.

  3. Stefani says:

    Were these owners informed that this technique would be used on their dogs? If so, shame on them. If not, I cannot believe she was not fined.

    As for the following statement:

    “The spotlight on Moore has also brought a focus on the fact that no state in the US requires any kind of official certification for dog trainers. One trainer said, “You could hang up the phone right now, call yourself a trainer, and be in business tomorrow.”

    While this is true, it is also true — in a VERY SCARY WAY — about veterinary technicians. In most states, there is NO requirement regarding who can be given the title “veterinary technician.” This means that most “veterinary technicians” practicing in this country have NO formal veterinary training at all — only whatever informal training the busy vet saw fit to give them. Yet these people are allowed to induce anesthesia, monitor anesthesia, draw blood, prepare and administer medications and injections, set IVs, and other things that — if done incorrectly — can KILL an animal.

    In his 2006 press release, veterinarian John Robb of the now-defunct “Protect the Pets” website warned that:

    “. . . many states do not require veterinary technicians to be licensed. This results in poorly trained personnel . . . resulting in tragic injury or even death of our beloved pets.” He went on to add:

    “Anyone who currently takes their pet into a veterinary hospital with unlicensed technicians is putting their pet in peril . . . “I have witnessed first hand horrific examples . . . Soap solution was accidentally placed in
    the eyes of pets scheduled for surgery, resulting in the sloughing of the surface layers of their corneas. Or urine being mistaken for a drug and being injected into the intravenous line of a pet.”

    While this concern — and the others raised by Robb in his “Protect the Pets” campaign, in which he asked consumers and vets to join together to improve care of our pets — should have been well received by his colleagues as a welcome invitation to improve quality of care, instead, they turned on him. In his email to subscribers explaining why he had to shut down the site, he said that the “controversial nature of the cause and the negative response by the veterinary community has threatened my livelihood . . . ”

    I am not trying to hijack this thread or diminish the seriousness of a “dog trainer” being unqualified or cruel and abusive. I am merely saying that every single day we walk into veterinary offices all over this country, and turn our pets over to untrained, unqualified people — armed with needles and medicines — and place our pets very lives in their hands.

    We need to be asking for credentials of EVERYONE who purports to be a professional providing services to our pets.

    Stefani
    The Toonces Project
    http://www.TheTooncesProject.com
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  4. Chaoslillith says:

    Credentials in this country usually mean a lot of people set up “schools” to make money off of people interested in learning, they create random and expensive tests to jack up the cost of pursuing a career so people can feel a bit better about a piece of paper on the wall.

    I pursued massage therapy, went to school for it and then realized the licensing policies in this country are nothing but a money sink for those businesses such as schools, testing companies and “professional associations” to make money off of and they don’t make therapists any better. No matter if people are credentialed or not they can still be bad at their job, make mistakes etc. Don’t cause more young people to go into debt because they have to pay a school that crams students into 14 week courses and assembly lines the education. Trust me, it doesn’t help the profession all that much.

  5. Stefani says:

    Re:

    ” Trust me, it doesn’t help the profession all that much.”

    There is no valid parallel between the relative importance of formal schooling for massage therapists and that needed for the practice of medicine. I have allowed unlicensed people with no formal training to give me massages, as has almost everyone else I know. I would NEVER allow a person with no medical training to put me under anesthesia, give me shots, or cut into my body. DUH.

    How would you feel about having someone serve as your “nurse” when you are hospitalized — giving you medications that, given in the wrong amount, can kill — if they were just grabbed off the street the day before?

    This is what happens every day in vet hospitals.

    I beg to differ on the topic of credentials. It may be more critical in some professions than others, and certainly plenty of physicians with multiple degrees on their walls malpractice patients — it’s no guarantee of good care, but without medical training at all you are almost certain to get bad care. When you are in unskilled hands, it is likely harm will come to you when we are talking about medicine. The credentials are the only proof a consumer has that any training has been completed at all.

    Massage may be a different thing — maybe the worst you can do is put something out of wack or bruise a muscle. But in medicine — vet or human — formal schooling is needed because you are anesthetizing people/pets, cutting into their body, and injecting them with drugs. These things can very easily, irreparably, permanently, quickly, KILL you.

    Stefani

  6. Denise says:

    quote:
    “Last year, Moore told a local newspaper that she had been training dogs professionally for 12 years and that before her own business, she was a trained at PetSmart. She said that she left PetSmart because she had an issue with their policy of using only positive-reinforcement techniques.”

    she was trained at PetSmart, that’s all I need to see to tell me what her degree of skills are…that of being incompetent and abusive.

    wasn’t there a recent article about a PetSmart Hotel employee beating on dogs.

    when it comes to healthcare and medicine for ourselves, loved ones and animal companions we cannot hold back in our assertiveness demanding to know and see qualifications, credentials and training certifications.

  7. Gindy says:

    She’s an animal abuser who is getting off on this. She couldn’t follow the rules at Petsmart so she got out and billed herself as a trained professional. Shame on those who didn’t check her references out and I pity their animals as well.

  8. Carol Johnson says:

    What a sad comment on the human race. I do not need a judge to tell me what is cruel and what is not…and this woman is an abuser. I can not fathom why anyone would use her.

    AND…what about the DA that failed to call a witness?

  9. Stefani says:

    re: “what about the DA that failed to call a witness?”

    That is a good point. Having the charges dropped is NOT the same thing as being FOUND INNOCENT. And she acts like she was exonerated, which she was not.

    BTW, I wager that “shock collars” lead to a fearful dog with a profound mistrust of, and negative reaction to humans. I would imagine that leads to even more potentially dangerous aggression problems.

    Stefani

  10. becky says:

    as an RVT, i have seen first hand the off the street trained techs. it is shocking. i have helped many clinics around my area “raise their medical standards” and it is very frustrating. physically, anyone can stick a needle into an animal, etc. however, most if not all, do not understand the medicine behind anything they are doing. i am constantly shocked. and let me tell you, most DVMs are so entrenched in their payrolls that they will let this go on without a thought. i have to forcefully bring things to their attention as to what is happening and what is not. there is a HUGE difference in the training of even a CVA and an RVT and honestly, most people do not even acknowledge that never mind someone who has no formal training at all.
    i just wanted to thank Stefani for trying to bring things like this to light. trainers are often times, just as scary. especially boarded training facilities. if they are associated with a vet clinic at all they often times simply request antibiotics as a quick fix and do not follow medical advice when asked to send dogs home because that would result in loss of profit.

  11. Holly says:

    I am also an RVT (Animal Health Tech where I come from). I am also a Homeopath now because I just can’t/won’t work in a clinic that believes good health comes from drugs and needles and commercial pet food. My comment is this; don’t leave your pets unattended at a vet clinic PERIOD. I have witnessed “good vets” ignore pain medicine for a dog with a SHATTERED pelvis because he could not reach the owner to pay the bill. I risked my job and could have potentially been jailed because I took it upon myself to give this dog morphine. I will NEVER leave my pet, or children alone in the hands of someone I don’t personally know. If my vet won’t let me stay with my dog the entire time she walks in the clinic, then I find a new vet. Fortunately the vet I have now is totally fine with that. There are no secrets behind closed doors. Likewise, when I was looking at trainers years ago for my GSD, one “trainer” wanted to test my dog. I asked if I could watch and she said no because she did not want to give away her “training secrets”. Ya right. I hung up in a hurry. If you/we cannot stand up for our pets, then who else will? We have allowed our society to accept these harsh training methods as “necessary”. We must change that perception. It is really unfortunate that this person got off scott free but I believe in Karma and I am hoping that this bad publicity will open peoples eyes and in time she will be out of business. I only pray that not too many more dogs suffer in her hands. Shame on people for being so reckless with thier animals lives….

  12. kaefamily says:

    I neither agree with her or Cesar Millan’s methodology of dog training. None of them advocates citronella spray (as opposed to shock collar) along with positive training. Even cold water spraying from a bottle or rattling a can of pennies along with positive training would enforce good behaviors.

  13. Holly says:

    I’m sorry but pennies in a can and/or a spray bottle can create serious neurosis. It is not positive training. Read Jellybean vs Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for explanation by CW Meisterfeld. I used his methods to undo neurosis in my GSD that those methods created. Violence begets violence.

  14. shibadiva says:

    I hope her customers vote on her methods by walking.

  15. kaefamily says:

    Holly,
    I don’t know how the pennies in a can or water from spray bottle is used to create neurosis in a pet. But I have personally used the latter and hand clapping to train our pup to stop barking on verbal commands. When he did I would reward him with home made chicken treats. It worked. No abuses :-) Perhaps, the success of a training is dependent on the trainer skills, knowledge, experience, compassion AND the issues the pets have.

  16. stefani says:

    Thank you Becky and Holly for standing up for your patients, having pride in yourselves, and swimming against the tide to try to make sure there is quality in your profession. I am proud of you and think you are heros and I hope people like you can improve the practice of veterinary medicine for all of our pets.

    Keep the faith, someday, we will make a difference.

    Stefani

  17. ami moore says:

    hello,

    I am ami moore. The story that the Chicago Reader ran were full of lies, slander and pure fabircation. The group that started what I call the West Loop Lynching of myself, were all sympathizers of PETA, a domestic eco-terroritst organization. They and PETA conspired to run me out of business due to the color of my skin, and the dog training tool that I used. I beat them in court in November. I was found innocent of all charges and they, the West Loop Wackos were revealed to be the ignorant, lying bigots that I had always maintained that they were.

    Here is a News Release on the subject:
    For Immediate Release Contact: Ami Moore, # 847-284-7760

    Accomplished Chicago Dog Trainer Ami Moore Bites Back Big

    Sues PETA, Neighbor for Defaming Her Through Media, Internet

    African-American Business Woman Won’t be Bullied by PETA’s Terror Tactics.
    Esteemed Chicago dog trainer Ami Moore has filed a multi-million dollar, multi-count lawsuit against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. (PETA) and a West Loop animal rights sympathizer, alleging they held her and her business up to a false light in a program of media and internet character assassination in recent months.

    “This is America and in this country well-funded and well-organized aninal rights groups like PETA and its supporters with agendas, should not be allowed to target and destroy innocent people and businesses that they don’t like,” said Ami Moore.

    The dispute stems from two misdemeanor complaints filed against Moore in July, 2006, after Moore used an electronic dog training collar to train a dog in a West Loop park.Ami Moore was found innocent of all charges in November 2997. Such “tappers” are commonly used by dog trainers, are considered a humane and dog friendly training tool and are as benign as the ubiquitous electric fence used commonly by suburban homeowners.

    Since last year PETA has allegedly used its web site to disseminate false and defamatory information about Moore and her business to millions of websites around the globe. Opresnik has allegedly made false and defamatory statements to several Chicago-area media outlets.

    “I haven’t spent decades of my life learning about the dog’s heart and mind to let PETA bully me around,” said Moore. “These radical fringe groups habitually attack small animal related businesses need to know that they must act responsibly. PETA is Goliath, and I am proud to stand up for all small businesses and be their ‘David’ in this case. The FBI considers animal rights groups to be a clear and present danger to the American way of life, and I agree. Our Congress believed that the threat from animal rights groups to be so serious, that it passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) to protect American citizens from the malicious and felonious acts of animal right terrorists.”

    Moore’s business, DoggieDoRight911, is located in Downtown Chicago. Moore is an animal protection activist who has saved hundreds of dogs and households from the pain and consequences of poorly trained and misbehaving dogs. She has thousands of satisfied customers – dogs and people – to prove it.

    The DoggieDoRight911 Philosophy
    “Dogs have the right to be educated so that they can fit into our modern life. It is inhumane and immoral to have an untrained, uneducated dog that is a danger to the family and the community. Domestic dogs have the right to have the kindest, best, most effective, and most humane training tools and methods used for their education, so that every dog in America can have the greatest of gifts — a good and loving forever home.”

    For up-to-date news about Ami Moore please go to www.chicagosupportsami.com. To learn more about Ami Moore, the Dog Whisperer of Chicago and her business visit www.DoggieDoRight911.com.

  18. stefani says:

    Ms. Moore, I don’t see how you can call yourself an animal protection activist and support the AETA. AETA is the MOST unconstitutional peace of legislation that has ever been snuck through late at night by a few people with practically no one there to vote on it. I believe it will be overturned by the Supreme Court on challenge.

    And if shock collars are so humane, why don’t we use them on people? Our children, for example? The answer speaks for itself.

    I don’t agree with everything PETA says and does, but I respect what good they have been able to accomplish in moving forward treatment of farm animals and raising awareness about fur and vegetarianism.

    Exactly why do you accuse them of defamation? Exactly what did they say that is defamatory? Who is paying your legal bills to sue them? Not you, I assume.

    And what in the heck does this have to do with your race? Did they make racial comments about you in their criticism of you?

    Stefani

  19. Holly says:

    Pennies in a can can and does create neurosis. Depending on how hard you clap your hand, it is not the same. How would you feel if you ran quickly to the door everytime and suddenly something out of nowhere continually startled you? Hide around a corner and startle your kid everytime they walk down that particular way. Yes, you would accomplish a behaviour change - no doubt. But wouldn’t your kid be scared out of his pants to go by there? Would they not be continually looking behind them expecting something loud to jump out of them? Whether or not it creates neurosis DOES depend on the personality of the dog. I know this because I had three dogs at the time. Did all the SAME methods - one dog was neurotic, one dog became somewhat aggressive and reactive, the other dog had/has (she is 15 and still going strong) a very stable and confident personality and was never affected by the sound - in fact she learned to ignore it. Great training tool (not) I have learned that if you REACT to your dog’s behavior, you are not training it. Period. I choose not to react. Instead when I have a puppy, I DIRECT it to what behaviour I want it to do in as many instances that I can. THAT is training. So we practice doorbell ringing and I teach her what I want her to do. It works. Last week I was in the basement and someone banged on my door. I went upstairs. One dog was sitting in front of the door waiting for it to open, the other was laying on her bed. My dogs have two choices to make when the doorbell/knock goes. Training is training. REacting is not training. Read the Meisterfeld book. I don’t have a week to explain it. I just know that this is the reason I can live in harmony with 3 dogs, 2 children, 2 cats and a rabbit that all live free together and we have no problems. And as mentioned earlier, my dog’s are not passive small breeds. My dogs are working line dogs. High prey drive, ball crazy. You can disagree all you want. I’ve seen the difference. I’ve lived the difference. It is what I believe to be the most important step in living with a dog - TEACHING them means showing them means understanding that they are learning so one takes the time and has the patience. We live in a quick fix society - drugs, expectations and behavior changes in people and dogs. Time, patience and repitition trains the brain. Not fear, impatience and miscommunication. It is a philosophy I live by. If you want to understand it in human terms visit www.loveandlogic.com I hope you check it out.

  20. catmom5 says:

    Sorry, Ms Moore, but when dogs cry out in pain, they are in pain. That’s NO WAY to raise a well-behaved, well-adjusted dog. And you are the one playing the “race card”! I’m not a big fan of PETA in some areas and disagree with them completely in others, but they have done some good work in animal research, factory farming, fur, etc. IF you weren’t doing anything wrong then they couldn’t have found anything wrong.

    BTW, I think Love and Logic is a great way to discipline/teach children so I’m sure it’s probably a great way to discipline/teach animals. Makes sense to me!

  21. Lynne says:

    “AETA is the MOST unconstitutional peace of legislation that has ever been snuck through late at night by a few people with practically no one there to vote on it.”

    Stefani, thanks for knowing that and mentioning it. I noted the expansion of animal rights groups as “terrorists” in a post at http://bigfatliberal.blogspot......ssent.html

  22. The Lioness says:

    This woman should not be in business as a trainer. Her methods are far too harsh. Training through fear will come back and bite people in the butt down the line. Fear doesn’t really teach an animal to change its behavior.

    ~The Lioness

  23. Hazel Chambers says:

    Ami

    Please do not try to make this a race issue or a PETA issue. It is neither. It is about you as an individual and your methods of “training”

    Cries of pain have no place in training.

    Are the comments below “lies”??

    Complaints from pet owners alleged that Moore “tormented a Newfoundland dog by repeatedly administering ‘shocks’ via an electronic collar causing the dog to cry out in pain, pant in distress and scratch at the collar in an attempt to stop the shocking sensation,” and that she “tormented a Bichon/Poodle mix dog by fastening multiple electronic collars . . . and repeatedly administering ‘shocks’ to the dog.” There was even a complaint that Moore had put a shock collar around a puppy’s groin area.

  24. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    Actually, it was concerned (horrified?) ordinary citizens in a park that brought Moore’s shock collar use on dogs to the attention of authorities, rather than PETA. See this link for the 6 April 07 story in Chicago Reader. It’s long but well worth reading:

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/f.....gtraining/

  25. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    Hmm, not sure the link reproduced properly in the message above. Let me try again:

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/f.....gtraining/

  26. Hazel Chambers says:

    I wonder who wrote the news release for this “esteemed trainer”??

    I think this woman’s true agenda is shown by her attempts to brand those who disagree with her methods as ignorant and racist….and of course TERRRORISTS. (I wonder what the dogs that she shocked thought about her….sounds like she created a lot of terror in them)

    I abhor those who truly judge others based on the color of their skin instead of the content of their character (to paraphrase Martin Luther King)

    She was NOT found not guilty per the story. She got away with her actions because of the nonactions of the DA.

    Ami…it is your character as revealed by your use of pain that is of concern…not your race.

  27. stefani says:

    The contact on the press release is Moore herself. She wrote her press release, apparently.

    And thank you for pointing out: Having a case dismissed is NOT the same thing as being FOUND innocent. To be found innocent means that the trial proceeded and went forward and there was a not guilty verdict. Based on the news report I read, that is not the case — in fact the case was dismissed.

    Stef

  28. shibadiva says:

    Carolyn & Maggie, thanks for the link to the Chicago Reader. Visiting both of her websites was a trip. The words “psychiatric evaluation” come to mind.

  29. Holly says:

    Thank you Carolyn and Maggie for the link to the article. It was very lengthy but worth the read. I found this quote by Ami to sum her up…”“If the owner has enough of what I call the proper Alphatude then I can show the owner how to mimic my techniques,” she wrote. But “if the owner has more Losertude than Alphatude, I show the owner how to ‘train’ the dog. ”

    I think there is something wrong with an adult that has to use such negative talk (losertude) to elevate herself so she appears better than others. It is no wonder she takes her frustration out on helpless animals. Very sad. Again, I can only pray that in time people will wise up to who she is and she will soon be out of business. People like this should not work with children or animals. It’s like they have something to prove and can only get their jollies from thier power over the defenseless. Then to top it all off, instead of being accountable they try and make the issue about something other than what it is.


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