CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) - The search for former Patriots player Jerod Mayo's missing dog has taken another turn, after police say the trainer who last had the English Bulldog changed her story.
Cranston Police tell Eyewitness News they interviewed the trainer Monday as part of the investigation into the dog's whereabouts. The Rhode Island-based trainer had previously told police in Wrentham that the dog, named Knox, went missing while on a walk at Joe's Rock in late June.
Wrentham Police shared the story on Facebook, writing, "To be clear though, we're not posting this because of the celebrity owner. That's just a coincidence. We're posting because the circumstances are a bit mysterious, unlike the usual lost dog case, and we think someone out there can help."
Now police say the trainer has offered a different version of events, telling them Knox disappeared from his crate inside her Cranston apartment.
The trainer was formerly an independent contractor for Off Leash K9 Training, which offered Eyewitness News this statement:
We are continuing to cooperate with local police as their investigation continues and are grateful for the police’s diligent efforts in pursuing this matter. Knox was not enrolled in our training program when he went missing. His training program ended in April and his family subsequently entered into a separate agreement with our former independent contractor, without our knowledge or permission in violation of our policies and standards. It is our greatest hope that Knox can be reunited with his family and we thank the community for their assistance in trying to locate Knox.
According to police, the trainer lives above a man whose five dogs were seized after police arrested him Monday on a charge of domestic simple assault and battery.
The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) said the individual, Darrel Ferreira, could face charges of animal cruelty.
Joe Warzycha, director of operations for RISPCA, said the dogs were living in squalid conditions in Ferreira's basement apartment.
"Accumulated feces all over the floor," Warzycha said. "I mean, right from the instant you stepped inside the door to get into the basement and going down the stairs, you couldn't walk down the stairs without stepping in feces."
The dogs - five Malteses ranging in age from 4 to 8 - were severely matted and dirty, according to Warzycha. "You could tell they were not in good physical condition," he said.
The dogs have since been groomed and are now being held by the RISPCA as evidence.
Meanwhile, Cranston Police and RISPCA say the investigation into Mayo's missing dog Knox continues. The Mayo family and RISCPA are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the safe return of the dog, saying they're not ruling out the possibility of foul play.
Warzycha said the potential connection between the two cases is troubling.
"Certainly when you can connect [Knox] to the same household that these five neglected dogs were taken out of, it's concerning," he said.
Wrentham Police Chief Bill McGrath said the investigation will now be mainly in the hands of Cranston Police, though he said depending on the outcome of the investigation, the trainer could face charges of filing a false police report.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the RISPCA's Division of Law Enforcement at 401-438-8150 or Cranston Police Detective Paula Duffy at 401-942-2211.
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