This is long but worth reading if youre in the market for a protection dog. In April of 2011 we purchased a three-year-old Level III personal protection dog named Bill from Vom Fieldcrest Shepherds, owned by Mr. Tom Brown, for $20,000, not including a $4,000 delivery charge. Bill was then shipped from Slovakia to Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown then trained Bill for four months before delivering him to us.
Bill was a beautiful and impressive physical specimen. Unfortunately, his extremely dangerous temperament and profoundly disobedient behavior did not manifest themselves during the two days Mr. Brown spent with us when delivering Bill. This brings to mind the contention of many, if not most, trainers owner/handlers must participate in training.
Bill had the best ofeverything during the five months he was with us, was never subjected to harsh treatment, and we were very, very fond of him, thinking his behavior and nature would improve, as we were assured by Mr. Brown, with whom we attempted to maintain a working relationship. We went the extra mile and then some.
Bill would not allow us to look in his left ear he was scratching. Our veterinarian had to anesthetize him to do so and found a serious infection. This was soon after Bill came to us.
Bill exhibited the following undesirable traits after delivery: very poor on-leash behavior and no off-leash discipline, failure to follow commands; owner aggression (growling at and threatening by placing paws on owners shoulders and/or cornering owner with teeth bared), food guarding, domestic and wild animal (horse, dog and elk) aggression, stranger aggression, uncontrollable trembling and hair loss, inability to be socialized. These behaviors then escalated. While walking Bill, my wife slipped and fell in the snow. Bill was immediately at her throat, growling. In an experiment, with Bill on the pinch collar and leash, I purposely fell, and Bill attempted to attack me and did not obey the out command, almost pulling my wife to the ground. The final straw and most serious incident occurred when I was walking Bill and accidently stepped on his paw. He then leaped on me, knocked me to the ground, and began a serious biting attack. I was able to throw the end of the leash to my wife, who pulled him off me, but it took every ounce of her strength. Bill had refused to comply with the out command.
Mr. Brown stated, This dog is not to be around children. This does not square with his web site announcement, Our Personal Protection Dog will be expected to fit well in a social and family setting. Mr. Brown also said, He should be on the pinch collar and leash whenever he is outdoors. This remark followed an event in which Bill, having spotted a herd of elk, pulled the leash hard enough to slam my wife to the garage floor and break her grasp on the leash. Bill did not respond to the recall
command. It took 45 minutes to find him with the leash caught on a tree stump. This recommendation precluded electronic fence training and necessary exercise.
For several months, we considered getting a replacement dog from Mr. Brown but determined the risk was too great. We then called Mr. Brown, and he agreed to refund our money. We then received from Mr. Brown a written agreement stating we would forgive claims of any nature against him and not make negative comments concerning Vom Fieldcrest Shepherds and he would make installment payments. The agreement did not contain any dates for payments, payment schedule, or amounts. When asked about this omission, Mr. Brown stated we should trust him to refund our money. Several e-mails later, he offered $100 per month, at which rate it would take 16 years to make good on the refund.
Mr. Brown stated inan e-mail of 11/21/12, We have no money ... period!Simple! When I went outside the original contract by trying to refund your purchase price, it was with theunderstanding that the money would come from the sale of 3 or 4 dogs over time. Even that has not happened. WE HAVE NO MONEY! We cannot be bound by a signed payment schedule based on your amounts with no appreciable income. By a freak of nature, should you get a judgement against me you would leave me no choice. I would have to file bankruptcy.
A fancy web site does not a reliable protection dog make. Embarrassingly, we were nave enough to rely upon the assurances of Mr. Brown and testimonials, one of which we later learned was from a broker of European dogs. Another of the testimonials is that of my wife, filmed during the two days Bill was delivered, despite subsequentevents. It is telling that the Critical Concepts cited on his web site do not include basic obedience and sound temperament. As of this date, Mr. Brown claims, Having been in business for 35 years, we have not had an indiscriminate bite reported to us, though we returned Bill to him in March 2012 with pictures of the bites and he never requested further proof.
Draw your own conclusions. Is it reasonable to assume a dog can be adequately trained in obedience and personal protection in just four months and therefore become worth $24,000? Bills biological ancestors were trained in Schutzhund. Is it likely he lived in a kennel for three years for the same purpose, and is that compatible with family life? Do you think his training guaranteesexceed the industry standard." After reading Mr. Browns statements and the facts surrounding our experience, do you feel confident you could avoid liability for a dog bite lawsuit? Do you feel comfortable owning a dog that may use his/her own judgment regarding who to attack? Why does Mr. Brown have no money? Why is he not selling dogs? Just what are his credentials? Do you think he intended to refund our money? Do you really want to do business with this man?
The events described were traumatic in the extreme, and we lost a substantial sum of money, but our dog Bill was the real victim.