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Heritage Specialty DogsAwful company

1
E Review updated:

The dog that our family contracted to receive from Heritage Specialty Dogs was supposed to be able to do a list of tasks that were plainly listed on the contract. The dog we received was not able to do the majority of the things on the contract. Our family fell in love with the dog we received and although it had many short comings, we were sure that Heritage was going to follow through with its plan to continue training once the dog was home so that the dog would eventually be able to do the tasks needed for our family member. I would email and ask how to address a particular problem and would be told...'Oh we will work on that when we meet, I have some ideas.' Each time we would schedule time to get together with the trainer to work on the deficits, we were told to meet at a restaurant (and instead of a training session, it turned into a social event.) or the meetings were cancelled. (It seems that the trainer's life is very drama filled.)

Many excuses were made and eventually we stopped asking and employed the help of a local dog trainer to address the situations with our dog. Eventually, the trainer stopped emailing and I can only assume that my eventual silence has made them think we are a happy client. Because of our problems with our dog (who by the way, is NOW able to perform all of the tasks needed for our disabled family member--thanks to an outside trainer) we would not recommend this facility. Yes, we would be considered 'Unhappy clients' because the contract was not met. There is no way that the tasks listed as being trained in this dog could be done in the short time it took to get the dog.

This would be the major problems that we see in Heritage Specialty Dogs:

1- Very disorganized. They cannot find documents at times that are pertinent to dogs that they have placed, and their vet care. (We had to call her vet ourselves to get the vet records that she could not find in her home office.)

2-Emails and phone calls are eagerly responded to at first...while you are being baited on the hook. Later, they are returned sporatically, if at all and then, if you ask a several questions, only one or two will be addressed while the rest are not acknowledged. Frequent excuses of computer crashes--but later will say 'I have the emails to prove it!' when she feels she might need to use something someone said against them.

3-Credentials appear to be inflated. Give some references for service dogs that you placed 10 years ago...not just the people who have had dogs placed in the last year and may still be discovering what their dog is NOT doing. Give some references for people outside of the local area so that potential clients can see what your distance follow through is like.

4-Employees are rather young or immature and tend to fly off the handle into situations and discuss things that they were never involved in or only heard about second hand. Very poor business practice to allow employees to do this--simply heresay.

5-Dogs are not valued and are in poor condition when turned over to rescue shelters because they do not work out as service dogs--dogs that don't work out become 'dead weight.'

6-Poor Vet care. Dogs are only getting vet attention before they are placed in homes. Some dogs who are very needy of vet attention do not get it because it is deemed 'too expensive.' Some dogs have heartworms and only discovered when taken to the new owners vet. Vet records are hard to come by--sometimes only obtained by going around HSD and calling the vet yourself...and imagine discovering the dog that just cost MANY thousands of dollars had a broken leg last year--and that it was never disclosed to you thus, possibly reducing the number of years that this dog could do service work!

I could really go on and on--but to wrap it up...I think Heritage started out with its heart in the right place, but as time went on and drama ensued in her personal life, it became easier to just half way train a dog and we as parents, who did not get up in arms over it immediately, made it easier for her to do this. Many of the unhappy clients have decided it is not worth it to pursue it with you after the initial contract was not met and the follow-ups were not met or successful. That does NOT mean that all of the clients are happy because they choose to pay another trainer to fix your mistakes.

If you are considering Heritage for your service dog needs, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get plenty of these so-called happy clients references. Ask for 10----(if they can be found!)

Responses

  • A
      Jun 21, 2009

    Our family has been ripped off by this company also. I guess by the time they are done ripping off all of these people they will have a big mansion built out there in the middle of no where. I think we should all get together and file a big lawsuit against her! Stay away from Heritage Specialty Dogs. Unless you like giving money away for nothing!!

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  • J
      Jul 01, 2009

    I have a question? Many of you that are complaining were happy with your dogs for a long time! Why did you wait many months later to start complaining?

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  • W
      Jul 01, 2009

    Okay, Just Curious... If you call 2 months "many months" that's okay. Maybe such a long time went by because we were promised, and them promised, and then promised again follow up training. Please know what you are talking about before you post and ignorant comment! This trainer "Mary Walker" doesn't keep her word. She never shows up for follow up training. She always has excuses. If the consumer was at fault, why has she removed here website. Get back to playing your banjo and stay off of here with ignorant comments!

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  • J
      Jul 01, 2009

    Dear, I am far from being ignorant! How can you call me names when you don't know me? That is not fair in the least. You all just take it to court and let a judge decide who is in the right! In the end honesty will win REGARDLESS! Maybe she removed her website because she would rather do that than fuss and act childish on the internet. If I were her would much rather let a judge decide the case and have it done and over with! In the end she can come out a much better person if she learns from this. I would hope that you would also learn as well. There are 2 sides to every story and then there is the TRUTH!

    I am not involved in any way what so ever with the past dealings. I was honestly wondering and had a legit question for you, yet you chose to reply very rudely to me, a person you do not know! I can stand back and look at this from a different angle because I don't have any dealings with any of you!

    Have a nice day and thanks for your reply, no matter how rude! I really got to get back to my banjo now LOL.

    -1 Votes
  • G
      Jul 02, 2009

    Yep, I knew it, your from Westfield too... Banjos are a big part "down thar dontcha no"... LOL. If I had a business and people were questioning my reputation, the last thing I would do is remove my website, I would stand up for myself. How does removing here website make her not "fuss and act childish on the internet. Trust me, step into our shoes, especially our child's shoes, he is the one hurting from all of this. We have a service dog who bites people and doesn't even respond to his own name. Top Grade there huh!! I don't think so. Please know your facts, the only reason I can figure that you are even commenting is because you are a relative or maybe even the infamous Mary Riddle Walker herself. She is a poor excuse for a human being and even a poorer excuse for a Dog Trainer. It is very sad that her animals live in the conditions they do.

    PFFFFT JOG ON

    +1 Votes
  • D
      Jul 04, 2009

    Just Curious,
    many months went by because we tried and tried and tried to get together with her for follow ups that were cancelled, rescheduled and just plain never happened. Then, she had another baby and that put it off a lot longer. Most women who have children and work, have a plan for how they are going to have a family and also do their job..not so if you are a dog trainer...trainings arranged around breast feedings don't make for a professional business dealing. Her web site was taken down due to families requests for their children's images to be removed and also because Delta Society requested that the mention of them be removed as well.

    Just because time went by did not mean that we were not trying to get her to do her job-----just meant she put everyone off for various frivolous reasons and then it all came to a head.

    And, in Westfield..I believe it is fiddles that you most often hear playing along with those banjos. HeeHawville!

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  • H
      Jul 04, 2009

    i must say as a client myself its not just 2 months of waiting and un-answered calls and mail its more like 5 and 6 months and theres always an excuse as to why she cant meet you..you say curious that theres one side than theres the truth so whats the truth mary?? or i mean curious???? what exactly is your side of the Truth and as far as court they would side with the clients because there are many more than 1 person with a problem you just dont wanna see it its never your fault its either the dog or the parents never anything you did or dident do in this case...i have some questions than first off why did you never follow up or send anyone to follow up???and why with so many complaints wont u refund money??? because i would think with placing 2 dogs with some u would know that if 5 familys needed replacements something was really wrong instead you chose to blame parents and say things like you never had this problem with anyone else... when there were many others and we found that out when we started posting via net..my next question is why not take back the blackberry and the new laptop and sleep number you've bought and refund peoples money ...also i think the lady in illinois would be very upset u told people 2 of her dogs were rescues and matted one having leg issues and the other matted badly with heartworms and u sent her to a family claiming she was rescued when in fact u had had the dogs for a good while so the matteing and heart worms and all that happened on your watch and now your giving some little kids dogs by a sick mother that makes me ill also since were posting why not put out there how 1 dog had been placed with 3 different familys so 7 grand x's 3 and lets not forget the client in ca at witch under oath u swore to all this stuff the dog couldnt do once it got to be placed ...still to this day i have a dog but it dosent know any commands... thats just some of what others have expirenced not to mention i truly dont know how someone who does this to familys and disapoints children and is a mother themselves can sleep at night knowing they have hurt familys and destoyed children hopefully nobodys autistic children have backslid do to the disappointment and sadness both mary and heritage specialty dogs have caused them

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  • J
      Jul 05, 2009

    I would really really like to make you all very happy, but I am not Mary nor do I live in Westfield OR ANYWHERE NEAR THERE .

    Just take this to court guys. You can get more done that way than just sitting here talking about it on the internet right? If you got a case act on it plain and simple!

    I am not sure if It were me if I would have taken my site down, but I am sure Mary had her reasons. I am the type of person that takes things head on and always have. I would have left mine up just to prove to everyone I could.

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  • Just Curious,
    Legal action takes time...but it is action that IS being taken. Breech of Contract is taken seriously--especially when handicapped children have been taken advantage of. At least that is what we were told. If we did not "talk" about this on the internet, how do you think we would have found so MANY other families that also were scammed by Heritage Specialty Dogs? But, she blames it on the families and on the dogs---NEVER EVER takes responsibility for her poor training techniques and the fact that she half ### trains a dog and convinces a family that this dog is the best thing on four legs. Preying on families that are seeking any and all help for their children with autism is criminal in my book. If not criminal--then it is certainly NOT Christian like...and there is a special wing in hell for people who prey on the handicapped with a suite with her name on it. Redemption might begin with giving these parents their money back---but that money is GONE. (probably about 15 minutes after the cashiers check was deposited into her account.) So, don't worry--legal action is in process. (As well as investigations from the Attorney General's office too!)

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  • S
      Jul 06, 2009

    Aren't service dogs regulated by the state in some way?

    0 Votes
  • No they are not regulated by the state in any way. Although the NC Dept of Agriculture does regulate anything animal related and they are investigating from the standpoint that animals live on her property. That is very unfortunate that they are not able to regulate those who offer services to the disabled. Hang a shingle and claim you are a service dog trainer--and there you go! You are a service dog trainer! That is all it takes... So the main point here is BUYER BEWARE. Ask for 10 clients who are happy and call every one of them. If they are a reputable company then they should be able to do this. If they are claiming 20 years experience and they are only 36 years old--that should make bells and whistles go off for you. Ask for training experience and CHECK it out. Call the places that they claim that they worked with and did training for. Find out what agency that they claimed to go to the Oklahoma City bombing site with their trained dog to do search and rescue...you might find out that the resume is rather inflated. Ask questions and never trust the answers--research for yourself and you might be very interested with what you find. Most reputable service dog training schools take more than 6 months to train a puppy or dog and place it. How is she that wonderful a trainer who can push that many dogs through in such a short window of time and have quality dogs? Easy answer---it can't and wasn't done. The IRS can investigate payments made to the trainer herself instead of to the company name to determine if tax evasion has occurred too. Parents are able to deduct the cost of a service dog under medical deductions on their taxes---so someone has to report the checks as income--right? I wonder????????? We will see won't we????

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  • S
      Jul 06, 2009

    Maybe someone should contact the ADA and put some pressure on people like this.

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  • H
      Jul 06, 2009

    Oh, She is getting the pressure alright... Mary R. Walker has already taken the Heritage Specialty Dogs website down and secured a lawyer. She know it's coming.

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  • J
      Jul 06, 2009

    Mary would be crazy not to have secured a Lawyer! I know I would have! Everyone needs a Lawyer when issues are presented like these. I would want someone fighting for me, that is for sure.

    0 Votes
  • S
      Jul 06, 2009

    One would think that the disabled have better things to worry about than getting ripped off by a rapscallion. Nail her to the wall.

    0 Votes
  • http://ago.mo.gov/newsreleases/2008/Lawsuit_filed_against_Heaven_Scent_Paws_and_Michelle_Reinkemeyer/

    I see many similarities between the above suit that was successfully won on behalf of disabled folks "taken" by another service dog rip off group.

    I think the NC Attorney General can learn a thing or to from this other state and how they handled similar complaints.

    SuprVepr, the ADA is not an entity. It stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Justice (DOJ) handles complaints against businesses that discriminate or violate the act. I do not think they have any oversite for trainers. It is worth a phone call though. I will get someone on that tomorrow! Thanks!

    Also, it is agreed "Just Curious" that Mary should have her own lawyer. I don't know what a lawyer can do for her though. Defending herself against these families will be hard. She has lost so many family's contracts and it would be hard to defend what she has done. All a family would have to do would be to bring in one of these dogs and the dog would speak for itself! Besides, the additional outside trainers that have been paid to work with these dogs could certainly testify to their unreadiness for service work regardless of what Mary says.

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  • And "Just Curious" in response to your comment above saying you "didn't live in Westfield or anywhere near there"...
    Dobson ain't that far!

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  • J
      Jul 06, 2009

    Welp it's a ways in my book!

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  • S
      Jul 07, 2009

    My apologies for my wayward acronym ( I must have had it confused with another). At any rate, the theory is sound. I hope you can find someone to help and put people like this out of business. It's a disgrace.

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  • D
      Jul 07, 2009

    Just help us spread the word about this deadbeat scam artist!

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  • H
      Jul 07, 2009

    yeah rasing my hand i will leave my dog as it was trained by hsd or another words un-trained by hsd and bring it to court ya'll will love this...tho hes good in public he dosent know simple commands like sit stay and leave it alone or ignore and deffinatly dosent detect seizures or can retrieve anything...not to mention he dosent do medical alert either all the things mrs walker stated he would do and she felt good about placing him anyways and promised to follow up and months went by and nothing ...but she dosent know why anyones un-happy!!!i think all of us thats been had should march into court i hope they have enuff room for us alll and our furry friends...hopefully the judge has a family memeber with autism that sure would serve her rite when it hits so close to home judges dont tend to be so nice!!!

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  • M
      Jul 09, 2009

    my name is mary z and we have already paid mary walker a deposit for a choclate labradoodle named max. we have now heard he has medical issues that will require a hepatic portal shunt? we have had our heart in this dog for a year now. she told me there were some people complaining about her but of course it was not her faalt. i did tlak with three families that had dogs placed by her and they were all happy then. that was around christmas/january??? please is this all true???
    mary

    0 Votes
  • all of the complaints about mary walker are true...if i remember rite it was posted on doodle kisses a board for doodle owners that max was one of nickles pups and max was blind from what mary says due to vaccines but what shes not telling is nickle the mother of max was given to a woman not to long after her pups were weaned and nickle was infested with heart worms and 15 lbs underweight and matted badly and at that time mary told the woman nickle was a rescue witch is a lie because nickle had been with mary for almost 1 year so her matting and heart worms happened on marys watch...due to lack of vet care any other care thats how the dog got to be in such awful shape...max isent the only dog marys given to people sick one of mine were and i know of 2 others who have gotten sick /injuried dogs not to mention un-trained...you dont have to belive what were saying but 9 people wouldn't lie...if you dont belive me about max look up doodle kisses and type in mary walker click on her name and read all the max posts...she knew a while back he was blind and it is crazy how she would take a deposit on a dog she knew was sick... how very sad for you and your family i am sorry for you but i to was taken so dont be hard on yourself

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  • Mary Z,
    I am afraid that it is true. There are families with untrained dogs that were sold to them as fully trained, there are families with dogs that were received not housebroken but did well in public, there were dogs that seemed aggressive to men, there were dogs that had had broken legs prior to placement and I could go on and on. Of course, all of these issues were blamed on the families or the dog itself. You can call the NC Attorney General's office and they would have to confirm that complaints had been received as well as Delta Society (whom Mary claimed to be a member of and was removed from their sites due to the complaints.) Most families knew that pursuing it with her was futile and hired trainers on their own (after paying between 6-8K for a fully trained dog) some families continued to try and get her to help and it was always one excuse after another. She bit off more than she could chew and didn't know when to push her plate back...and it just kept getting worse and worse and has left her in the predicament that she is in now. Greed will do that to a person, I suppose.

    I am sorry that the pup your child was to receive has been ill. All of the involved families are pretty shocked that she even took it to the vet since several of her dogs were surrendered to a no-kill shelter in poor health...or Max's mother who was given away with heartworms and other assorted worms and malnourishment. I do not know about that condition, but hope he will get better.

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  • mary Z,
    please check your incoming messages posted through this site for a private email that I have sent you. I may have more info on max for you.

    0 Votes
  • A
      Sep 05, 2009

    I just found this site today, but that doesn't mean that my dissatisfaction with HSD just began today. It took me almost 2 years waiting for the right dog. The third dog is now mine. She came to me with a LOT of training still needed. I took it upon myself to train her using a real dog training school. They do not train service dogs, just actually train dogs of all walks of life. My dog is now a wonderfully behaved dog and does almost anything I ask of her. It has absolutely nothing to do with any "training" she got from Mary. I would tell anyone to run as fast as you can in the other direction and keep looking for a real dog trainer.

    0 Votes
  • H
      Sep 07, 2009

    so this makes what 12 un-happy clients to 1 happy client mrs walker has had wow that sure speaks for itself...makes me angry shes still out there taking money from people for fully trained dogs and u get not at all what u paid for...so all that fund raising and money u work your butt off to get helping your child she will tell u well u dident pay for it yourself thats her newest comeback what a hateful thing to say after u have had finaciall backing and than u gotta show the product u ended up with to people that gave u the finacing its most embarrising...not to mention how u feel as a person after being taken by this bussiness someone needs to hear us and shut her down for good!!! not to mention take the animals she does have...i am sooo very sorry another not happy my child was hurt by hsd to...mrs walker we would love a statement from you!!! oh i forget you won't make any u barly send current clients e-mails on updates and your comp is always crashing...

    0 Votes
  • Please also note that Heritage Specialty Dogs is NOW doing business under the name Blue Ridge Canine Companions. Same people, same scams.

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  • T
      Jan 04, 2011

    This is a load of bull, I baby sited for the family and this is a respectable family. There is absolutely no scam, and all what you people are saying is a bunch of hateful, demeaning lies. By ruining her business you are taking away her way of life for her and her children. Even as a babysitter I volunteered to help with Marry and have first hand knowledge of the supposed conditions.
    Any at home parent can say it is hard to have your phone on you at all times and who in the world does answer their phone at the drop of a hat. Or she is out working with the animals. Computers do crash and frequently any one whose had one for more then a year would know that. The house is not disorganized nor is her office where the paper work is held.
    I have seen first hand the conditions that the animals are in, and I can easily say the animals them selves have it better then a lot. They are spent hours among hours with, during that time they are trained, cared for, and loved. The animals are in wonderful condition and are even healthier then my past dog. I would easily say if anyone in my family were to need a service dog, she would be the first person I would look up.
    Shame on any of you wishing bad against this woman, her business and her family, especially in this economy. You people are the ones making it "Drama Filled"

    -1 Votes
  • Dear sitter,
    If one or two families had complained, I would chalk it up to disgruntled customer etc. BUT not with the many that have complained. All of the complaintants were from a time period when Mary was pushing out dogs left and right with only a few months training. Most Service Dog organizations will tell you that it can take up to two years to have a trained service dog ready. We certainly hope she has improved her training techniques and her quality. (We doubt it.) I would be very surprised if she is now organized. I have been in that trailer...and believe me, it WAS very disorganized. She could never ever find paperwork we needed when we would ask for it. Again, we hope she has improved her office skills. If Mary has indeed completed her kennels, then I can believe they live in better conditions that SHE does. (and that ain't saying much!) And we are not wishing bad will against anyone...we are only wishing karma...and that she will get what she deserves. Which is a special suite in a very hot place for the scams she has perpetrated on families living with children with autism AND untrained service dogs that they paid big bucks for. And sitter, which sister-in-law are you???

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  • Please look over on [redacted]s website...A person posted there about an incident on 3/5/11 where her dog was injured after getting out of Mary Walker's fence. She did not call the owner to tell them the dog was missing, nor that it had been injured. The poor lady got a call from HER vet that had been contacted by a vet in NC that had the dog. The lady came to NC from Georgia and Mary had still never called her to tell her...a really responsible trainer huh?

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