October 25, 2005
I am sending you this as a cautionary warning before you or anyone you know
decides to place an animal for boarding or behavioral training with a man
named John Barnes, or his company “Doggie U”. Our puppy was badly hurt by
this brutal individual, and I hope this “moves” you to caution involving
Please feel free to forward or use this letter, or the “before” and “after”
pictures of our puppy, Manny, after surgery. We need to get the word out to
as many people as possible so he doesn’t hurt someone elses friend!
On 10/06 /05, we signed our adopted, 6 month old puppy, Manny, up for a 5
day obedience course with John Barnes at Doggie U in League City. Manny had
some behavioral issues revolving around being too friendly, that we wanted
to get corrected before he got any older. He got too excited walking on
leash, jumped on you when he was excited to see you, and always had a
friendly “lick” for everyone he met. Overall, he was a sweet little guy. We
adopted him from the PAWS rescue group, and the main reason was his friendly
demeanor and personality.
My wife and I signed Manny up for training after she saw Mr. Barnes walking
a dog in Lowes, her place of business. After a conversation, John mentioned
that he was a certified, master dog trainer, and he would come to our home
to give a demonstration/sales pitch. He showed us a few of his training
techniques, and assured us he was an accredited instructor, with his own
school. We signed Manny up for the shortest course, 5 days at his school,
to see what we thought.
Mr. Barnes called us at 6:30pm, on Wednesday October 12th, Manny’s 3rd day
of training, and said “please come over, Manny’s been hurt.” When we
arrived, Mr. Barnes was walking around his yard with a napkin wrapped around
his thumb that had blood on it. When we asked what happened, he said “He was
working with Manny on the down position, and upon pushing down on his front
shoulders, Manny turned and nipped at him”. He then said he did “the spin
move” (which we later learned from other dog trainers was called the
“helicopter move) . He said after the spin move, he went back to forcing him
down. He then states that Manny turned and bit him. He then did the
spinning helicopter move again, this time losing his footing and falling
down, and the dog went “flying.” We were in a brief state of shock, during
which we said nothing, and he nervously babbled and then, incredibly,
demonstrated the spin move to us!
It consisted of picking the dog up into the air with the leash attached to
his collar and spinning him around in the air by the collar!
We told him to take us to our Manny. Manny was in a cage, against the back
wall, with blood on both feet, and what appeared to be a badly injured back
leg. We wrapped him in a towel and raced him to an emergency veteraniary
clinic, where after a few hours the doctor said he had a badly fractured
leg. His bloody feet were from his nails being bent and dragging along the
blacktop from, we can only surmise, the spin move. After 6 hours, the made
Manny as comfortable for the night as they could, and said he would need
surgery first thing in the morning.
The next morning I called Mr. Barnes and asked if he had any business
insurance. (a question he wouldn’t answer for my wife earlier in the
He said he did not. I asked that since he was accountable and responsible
for what happened to Manny, what was he prepared to do, as we were already
facing, in order of importance, a badly injured pet we loved, a $675
emergency vet bill, and were now facing a $2000 operation. He stated it was
an accident and he was not responsible. I told him that was a ridiculous
stance, as he injured our animal. He again said “I’m not responsible.” I
asked him about the contract saying under “e” that “Doggie U will exercise
the utmost diligence and care to protect the health and safety of the dog”
and how in the world did swinging him around by the neck qualify!! He said
it was a widely accepted technique, and he wasn’t responsible for anything.
I said that I would bring every pressure to bear to make him understand he
was responsible, as he had crippled a defenseless animal. Then the story
got amazing, even after all I had just learned about Mr. Barnes.
He said, and I quote “I thought you would feel this way, so I am going to
call and file with the League City animal control office to have “your dog”
euthanized as a vicious, hostile animal.” He did just that. They put Manny
in a 10 day quarantine, and at first, weren’t even going to allow the
surgery. He was just going to wait, and if nothing changed, Manny and his
fractured leg would be killed 10 days later.
He crippled a sweet, friendly, 6 month old puppy, caused a 10 day
quarantine after Manny bit him due to his brutal techniques, and then did
everything in his power to have his “mistake” killed. We were shocked,
saddened, and later angry. We finally were able to convince League City
animal control to allow Manny to be taken to the Dickinson Animal Hospital
near our home, and have the surgery he needed, despite Mr. Barnes efforts.
In the past week while Manny is recovering from surgery and serving out his
10 day “sentence” courtesy of a brutal Mr. Barnes, we did some checking and
placed many calls. We have learned..
a. That the school that Mr. Barnes claims to have graduated from actually
forcibly removed him from the classes due to 1. a terrible temper 2. He
scared and confused the animals he was assigned and 3. intimidated other
students. He neither graduated from, nor is accredited by that school.
b. The lady at PAWS, Lori Lane, from whom we adopted Manny, agrees with us
and never saw any aggressive signs from Manny towards her or her other
animals. She was a stunned, shocked, and angry as we were.
c. The Dickinson Animal Clinic that we use to maintain Manny’s health never
had any issues with him whatsoever.
d. Through another area dog training facility, we learned that the “spin
technique” should only be employed on as self defense, as a last manuver
when the trainer feels their life is in danger. Also it is a manuver
primarily used by canine units of the police and military, or guard dogs.
We are currently waiting on our claim of animal cruelty to be investigated
by the ASPCA, and a Constable that works with them. We have also retained
legal representation to help us keep Manny alive, and recoup our monetary
We will do everthing in our power to make sure that Mr. Barnes doesn’t hurt
another animal or mis-represent his credentials to another person. His cruel
and brutal training techniques shouldn’t be allowed to affect another pet.
Manny’s only offense was being a little too friendly and licked everyone he
met. To classify him as “vicious” and “hostile” is patently absurd. To have
an attempt made to end Manny’s life over some cruel punishment you
administered is criminal. He should never be allowed to be around an animal
again, and shouldn’t be allowed to perpetrate fraud on any more unsuspecting
We feel horrible that we took Manny to this brutal individual who
mis-represented his techniques and credentials. Please help us spread the
word so no other animal goes through what Manny is still going through.
According to League City Animal Control, he said when they contacted him
that he still uses the tactic to this day on animals!
Please feel free to call us with any questions.
Jennifer & Gerry (and” Manny”) Wetmore
111 Smokey Lake Lane
Dickinson, Texas 77539