Funds for service dog safe

By From page A1 | August 13, 2014

An organization dedicated to training and providing service dogs for children with autism and other disorders, Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, has filed bankruptcy and closed. Alexa Fila, who contracted with Pawsitive to provide a Seizure Alert/Response Service Dog for her daughter, Hailey, wants her donors and supporters to know that the $12,500 she paid Pawsitive is safe.

“We don’t have a dog, but we do have the money with another organization,” said Fila.

Fila, who was featured with her daughter, Hailey Huntingdon, in three Mountain Democrat articles, contracted with Pawsitive to provide a service dog for Hailey, who has Dravet’s Syndrome, paying it $12,500 from donations provided by Mountain Democrat readers. That was last October.

Fila then spent months trying to contact Pawsitive about the progress of Hailey’s dog. When calls were at last returned, requests for progress and clarification were met with few details. Needing a specifically trained Seizure Alert/Response service dog for Hailey’s condition, Fila tried to make sure the dog was being trained in accordance with the contract she had signed with Pawsitive. When Pawsitive either could not or would not provide such a dog, Fila filed a formal complaint against the company with the Attorney General’s Office in February.

Pawsitive agreed to return the money paid for Hailey’s service dog, transferring it to another trainer or agency of Fila’s choice. The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation offered its help to shelter the funds, but it was three months and a host of phone calls and e-mails later that the funds were finally transferred.

“I want our donors to know how sorry I am about all of this,” said Fila, “but the funds are now with the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation and we have settled on a trainer. We are working on a contract and a payment schedule depending on the progress of the dog’s training.”

Other families contracted with Pawsitive may not be so lucky. Several families who received service dogs filed a lawsuit against Pawsitive, claiming the dogs they received are not properly trained, and in some cases, have even bit at the children they were supposed to protect.

Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions has closed its business.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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