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Antioch dog training company owner sentenced in an animal cruelty case involving a Napa pet
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Antioch dog training company owner sentenced in an animal cruelty case involving a Napa pet

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Denise Swank and Gunnar

Denise Swank and Gunnar preparing for a trip to the beach in September 2017. The dog later died while in the care of Garry Reynolds and NorCal K-9 in Contra Costa County. 

The owner of an Antioch dog training company was sentenced to two years in state prison last week for four counts of animal cruelty, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Patricia Scanlon delivered the sentence Friday to NorCal K9 owner Garry Reynolds, 39, who was convicted in March on the felony charges of neglect and unsuitable living conditions for four dogs left in his care.

Antioch city officials began investigating Reynolds in 2018 after police received a report that a dog named Gunnar had died at a property Reynolds was renting.

Gunnar, a German Shepherd, belonged to Denise Swank of Napa. She had paid $6,000 in cash to have Gunnar trained by Reynolds in Contra Costa County. Seventeen days later her dog was dead.

A veterinary pathologist at UC Davis later reported that Gunnar had died of heat stress or hyperthermia.

She later sued Reynolds for negligence, breach of contract and violation of the state’s health and safety codes and was awarded $60,000 in a Napa court case in March 2019.

After Gunnar’s death, officers searched a house at 5200 Lone Tree Way, where the dogs were located, and found rotten raw chicken meat in several dogs’ kennels, urine and feces around the house and improper use of the house’s ventilation system despite hot weather in Antioch at the time.

Several dogs were also kept in small rooms or stacked kennels in the house’s kitchen. Garbage littered the inside and outside of the house as well. In total, nine dogs were removed from the property. Two dogs had to be euthanized due to their injuries, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“I am satisfied the defendant will serve time in state prison due to his extreme negligence and disregard for the animals under his company’s care,” said Deputy District Attorney Arsh Singh, who prosecuted the case.

“This case should serve as a wake-up call for any dog training company in our community. Animals deserve to be protected and treated well,” Singh said.

Reynolds’ former co-defendant in the case, Devon Ashby, took a misdemeanor animal cruelty plea deal in the case and would ultimately testify for the prosecution.

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