By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — She’s accused of selling untrained service dogs for $10,000 to families of kids with special needs. Months after WCCO first exposed her business, the Wisconsin woman has shut it down.

Families from Minnesota and Wisconsin are suing the owner of Compassionate Paws for not living up to her company’s contract.
It’s been nearly a year since the Wallraff’s brought Bella to live with them in their Woodbury home.

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The contract from Compassionate Paws said the Great Pyrenees would be trained to calm and socialize their 13-year-old son Andrew, who has autism.

But Bella wasn’t even house trained.

“There isn’t a bond between her and Andrew and that was the purpose of getting her in the first place,” John Wallraff said.

John and Jeni Wallraff paid $10,000 to Vicki Pingel of Pine River, Wis. And so did at least a dozen other families that all say the dogs couldn’t do anything they were promised.

For years, Pingel touted her trained service dogs online, until just days ago, when her website went down.

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On the phone, Pingel wouldn’t tell me what’s going on when I asked her if she was selling dogs anymore.

She said she is not selling dogs anymore at the moment.

She also told WCCO to contact her attorney who did not return our calls.

The Wallraff’s are doing their best to train Bella themselves still unsure if they can keep her. For now they consider what’s happening with the woman they trusted to help their son at least one step in the right direction.

“We just wanted her to stop, that’s it,” Jeni Wallraff said.

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WCCO has learned that Wisconsin state investigators have been interviewing families this week that bought dogs from Compassionate Paws. The office had no comment on its investigation when we reached out.

Liz Collin