The video of a man walking a pack of unleashed GSDs went viral, but is it everything it seems to be?
The name Augusto Deoliveira first caught the Internet's attention when he posted a video of himself walking five German Shepherds down a city street. The dogs are big and beautiful, but that wasn't what caught people's attention. In an impressive show of canine obedience, Deoliveira didn't use a single leash. Two dogs heeled to his left side, two on his right, and a fifth dog walked calmly behind him.
In the video, they pass groups of people, moving vehicles, and open shop doors, but the dogs never waver from their path. They're completely committed to following their leader. They stop when he stops, turn when he turns, and when Deoliveira tells them to stay and lay down, they listen without hesitation.
It didn't take long for the video to go viral. Dog owners envied the easy control Deoliveira seemed to have over his dogs and praised him for the commitment he put toward their training.
Having grown up on a farm in Brazil, Deoliveira always knew he had a special connection with dogs. Now, as the owner of Griffin Shepherds Kennels, he's taken his passion and turned it into a career.
But what you see in those viral videos may not be the entire story. Back in 2014, concerns started spreading about how Deoliveira treated his dogs. According to a petition that went around two years ago, Griffin Shepherd Kennels began breeding dogs and selling them. There's nothing wrong with that, but people who bought the puppies reported they were sick and came with forged AKC paperwork.
The petition also claims the dog trainer frequently misused shock collars, deeming it an acceptable training method to shock dogs over and over to send a message.
The controversy surrounding Griffin Shepherd Kennels deepened, when in May 2015, the dog training and breeding facility was placed under quarantine. An outbreak of parvovirus, a highly contagious and sometimes deadly canine disease, was discovered among the kennel's pack of GSDs.
According to Fox25, Deoliveira claimed to not believe in vaccinations and only vaccinated for rabies, as required by the state. But out of the 12 dogs at the kennel at the time, only four had documentation stating they had received the rabies vaccination.
Amidst this controversy, a Facebook page called, The Truth About Griffin Shepherds Kennels started sharing personal experiences and insider videos related to Deoliveira's training methods. Most recently, the group posted about possible inbreeding happening at the kennel.
In a personal account, a woman describes how she bought a puppy with an allegedly fake health certificate from Deoliveira. The eight-week-old puppy was reported to be infested with fleas and tape worms. He was also extremely underweight. The puppy's new owner invested over $1,000 in vet bills, and she says Deoliveira's advice was to start a Go Fund Me page to help with the expenses.
Griffin Shepherds Kennel has since moved to South Carolina and has started going by the name, The Ultimate German Shepherds. No new viral videos have emerged, and the opposing Facebook page continues to encourage dog owners to boycott their services.
What do you think of the controversy? Let us know in the comments.
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