CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - FOX 46 Charlotte is working to get results after a family said they were misled by a dog trainer. Their college-bound son who has cerebral palsy needs a service dog.
The family told FOX 46 Charlotte the dog they paid to have trained isn't fit for the task.
17-year-old Ronald Tasker and his pup Achilles became fast friends. Ronald is going off to college next fall.
"It was really amazing because this has been my dream school since day one," he said.
Ronald, who has cerebral palsy, said he needs a service dog at college to pick up things when he drops them, open doors, and brace him if he falls from his wheelchair.
Ronald's family brought home Achilles several months ago when they were told by a dog trainer that he was ready. The canine went to school with Ronald and immediately Ronald noticed some issues with Achilles.
"When I'm out in public with him, he ran around, and I struggle controlling him" he explained.
The family said they were desperate to find out why Achilles was having problems.
"We were heartbroken. Achilles and Ronald had a unique bond from the beginning...this was his partner," John Fortin, Ronald's step-father said.
The family went to the Dog Knowledge, an organization in Charlotte that trains service dogs. Owner Debbie Lange evaluated Achilles.
"We immediately noticed that the dog did not have the level of obedience that is required of a service dog," Lange said.
Lange said Achilles' original trainer did not do what she promised - train Achilles.
The family said they paid the trainer more than $13,000. On top of that, the veterinarian said Achilles has hip dysplasia, condition that prevents him from being a service dog. It's something Lange said the original trainer should have noticed.
"This makes us mad, it makes us upset, and it makes us sad."
FOX 46 Charlotte tried to get Achilles' trainer's side of the story, but our phone calls were not returned.
Now, Lange's company is working to pair Ronald up with a new service dog, Doc, who can help him with everyday tasks.
The family said Achilles is going to be just fine. They plan to keep him as a pet and The Dog Knowledge is going to give some of the money donated from the company to hip surgery for Achilles.
The Dog Knowledge said they hope the community will step up to help train more dogs, and help more people like Ronald realize their dreams.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do after college, but I know I'll have the preparation to do it, and that's the most assuring part," Ronald said.
To donate and help Ronald get paired with Doc as his new service dog, CLICK HERE
Jamal Slayton, owner of the semi-pro basketball team The Charlotte Elite has pledged $30,000 if his team receives enough votes to be part of this summer's tournament and wins the big event.
"We're urging everyone who has followed Ronald's story to please do one thing and take two minutes to vote. That assure the Charlotte Elite will be part of this amazing event....please vote for Charlotte. Please vote for Ronald," Debbie Haynes Snider Lange said in a Facebook post.
To vote, CLICK HERE!