Briggs Geister decided to buy a service dog from Noelle’s Dogs Four Hope based on the company’s glowing online reviews and its reasonable prices.
Her husband has difficulty walking and uses oxygen due to a terminal lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis and post-polio syndrome. She hoped a service dog would give him companionship and much-needed physical support.
So Geister gave Noelle’s $9,000 for Lilo, a 16-month-old goldendoodle, and paid to have a trainer come to her home in Longmont to teach her to work with the dog. But a few days later, when a nurse came to the door, Lilo barked incessantly and urinated on the floor. Soon after, when Geister took her husband to a doctor’s appointment, the dog growled at doctors. Overwhelmed by her husband’s illness and a dog unprepared to help, Geister felt forced to return it, but the couple has not been paid back.
Geister is one of many Coloradans who have filed complaints with the state’s Department of Agriculture accusing Noelle’s Dogs Four Hope, a Colorado Springs-based service dog company, of selling animals that are poorly and improperly trained, including some that lack the temperament to be service dogs.
“These people are not ethical and need to be shut down,” Geister said. “This makes me so upset that they are doing this to handicapped people. It’s just so unethical. It blows my mind.”