Hunting Club: We bought someone else’s dog from Hunter Nelson

Photo of missing dog "Ollie," by Rachel Tyrer. Ollie HAS NOT been recovered and is still missing.

Explanation for the disappearing dogs?

JONESBORO, Ark. – Garrett Burgess bought a dog from Hunter Nelson but had no idea the dog belonged to someone else. (Editor’s Note: it wasn’t Ollie. We only know that the dog was returned to its rightful owner. Ollie is still missing)

“My hunting club bought a dog from Hunter Nelson but I had no idea it was someone else’s dog. We got all the issues resolved with the Ivy’s and they got their dog back,” Burgess wrote in a message to NEA Report. “All is good but we have no ties with Hunter Nelson.”

Burgess said the Ivy family viewed pictures posted to the hunting club’s social media page. After being contacted, Burgess began looking and noticed the same dog on Nelson’s Facebook profile from a month or so earlier. He said on top of that, the papers he sent off for them came back invalid. After that, Burgess ended his association with Nelson, he said.

Many came forward after NEA Report’s first story involving Nelson, which detailed the disappearance of Rachel Tyrer’s dog, Ollie. He was in the care of Nelson, who claimed Ollie was bit by a snake and later died.

Similar Stories

At 3:13 AM on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Nelson sent a text message to dog owner Aaron Winningham that his dog, “Moose,” had died in Nelson’s care. Moose had been bitten by a snake and was suffering swelling around the neck and heart area. In an interview with Northeast Arkansas News, Winningham said he thought it was bad luck at the time. Now, having seen the text messages sent to Tyrer, he thinks differently.


Nelson’s message to Winningham reflected the same type of story he told Tyrer a mere four months later:

  • a snake bite
  • swelling to the chest and neck
  • dog ended up not making it
  • Nelson ended up burying the dog, himself.

Another Snake Bite

Corbin Wake of Kennett, Missouri put his dog, “Coot” into the care of Nelson in the summer of 2018. Things began to seem strange as anytime Wake wanted to go see the dog, Nelson would claim he was “out of town with Abby’s family.” At 10:46 AM on Monday, July 2, Nelson texted a familiar message to Wake. Coot had been bit by a snake.


Nelson’s text was that “Dr. Reddick” had seen and evaluated the dog. Yet, when Wake and his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts, called, the vet’s office said Dr. Reddick was on vacation! They demanded the dog back from the “trainer.” It took three weeks of trying to finally get Nelson to give the dog back.

“During this time he mentioned to Corbin he would like to buy Coot from him,” wrote Roberts. “That’s when we had him immediately bring him to us. The day we got him back, I was shaking to death – so scared he wasn’t going to bring him or he was going to be hurt or that he wasn’t going to be re-teachable!”

Dog Sold To Michigan Family

Courtney Paige Toddy wrote that she and her fiance were trying to find a home for her dog, Heidi, in 2018. She put the dog into the care of Nelson. She wanted Nelson to sell the dog but she wanted to vet the owner’s first. Instead, she said Nelson sold the dog and never paid Toddy.

“In the meantime no updates on her for months after multiple attempts,” Nelson said. “We were a victim of scamming and we trusted somebody.”

After she posted her story, Nelson sent a text message to her fiance (Tuesday). The message was subsequently posted.

We cut the message off because Nelson mentioned a man who requested we not publish his name, due to the negative attention he received from being associated with Nelson.

NEA Report was told Nelson never met the two. Fortunately, they learned of where Heidi was located, a social media post from the new owners said, and Heidi’s previous owners were in contact with her new family.

Wasted Money

Around a year ago, Makenzie Rawls said she and her husband used Four-Legged Retrievers (Nelson) with their dog, “Murphy” – an Aussie Shepard. He was sent for obedience training for 10 weeks but the training went over.

“The whole time he had our dog we could never get a hold of him when we we’re supposed to meet him at his place and see our dog,” Rawls wrote. “He always had some excuse as to why we couldn’t come.”

Rawls said she had to talk Nelson into having the dog back – but he would only meet them at McDonald’s. She wrote that the dog jumped directly into her car and smelled filthy. The dog knew no commands, she said.

“He said we could bring him back and work together, but once we actually agreed, Hunter never responded,” Rawls wrote. “We never seen him again after we met up with him to get Murphy. Also in our messages to him before he got Murphy he said that we would get our money back if it all didn’t work out, but that he was positive that we would love how our dog acted once he came home. We asked for a refund after a few days of trying to work with Murphy, but instead, Hunter blocked our phone numbers and blocked us on Facebook so we couldn’t contact him.”

The family lived in an apartment and couldn’t afford to send Murphy to another training facility. Rawls said they banked on the training fixing the bad habits but once nothing changed, they had to re-home the dog.

“Smelled Like Feces”

Megan Nichole Key wrote that at the end of June, 2018, she and her boyfriend sent dog “Max” to be trained by Nelson. They dropped the dog off with Nelson at the vet’s office, at Nelson’s insistence – again refusing to allow anyone to visit his premises. After transferring Max into Nelson’s care, Key wrote that she waited a few days before contacting him.

“He would simply ignore us and take days to reply and we would have to text more than once the whole time he had him,” Key said in her post. “He would tell us how he’s doing so great and right on schedule.”

Nelson finally arranged a visit – suspiciously not at his premises, once again. The first time Key saw the dog, Max jumped in her vehicle and refused to get out.

“I should’ve known right then and there that he needed to come home, but we let him stay,” Key wrote.

Photo by Megan Nichole Key, source: Facebook

After many weeks, and similar experiences with Nelson, Key finally picked the dog up (at Mr. T’s). She said she popped her trunk and the dog jumped into the vehicle, again refusing to get out. The dog smelled like feces and had a huge cut on his nose, she said. Key described the dog as “malnourished.”

These stories aren’t the only ones NEA Report received or learned of since our first publication. Others told stories of having difficulty getting their dogs back and once they did, finding the dog to be unhealthy and untrained.

Nelson didn’t respond to attempts to contact him Wednesday by NEA Report. He had told us on Tuesday he planned to speak to his attorney and follow up with us on Wednesday, but he never did.

Both Nelson and his wife have deactivated their Facebook profiles. Nelson’s business Facebook page has also been deactivated. A replacement page, 4-Legged Retrievers, collects one-star reviews in its place.

In his text message to the owners of Heidi, he said he was “ruined” and having to send all of the dogs home.

Hopefully, the current dog owners have an easier time meeting him than the one’s sharing their stories from the past.


      • One poster said the police refused to help and that it was a “civil” matter. I bet if they go out there they’ll find evidence of animal abuse.

  1. Scams come in all shapes and sizes but this one makes no sense. What was their endgame? Totally puzzled.

    • To scam people. Take their money for training dogs and not train them? Or to sell other peoples dogs and then keep the profit?

    • Two times the pay once for training fees 2nd time for selling dog little effort on their behalf and almost no cost out of pocket. It’s a lazy man’s scam.

      • Why hasn’t someone actually gone to this guys home and the “Hunting club?” Why is this not a crime? Animal abuse is a crime! Why hasn’t the Humane Society gotten involved? And lastly why don’t these people hire a prvate detective to find this guy and the dogs! He doesn’t sound like a genius and I am sure the truth would not be hard to find. Did you also know that Missouri has a site – A Hunter Nelson listed here with a traffic ticket in Poplar Bluff and an address in Jonesboro, Arkansas- Hunter W. Nelson – 1000 Mark Circle, Jonesboro, Ark 72404. His DOB is 1995. His business address is found in a quick internet search 1370B 513RD Paragould Arkansas. Look up Hunt Clubs in the area in question and physically go there! GO GET YOUR DOGS!

        • @Barbara My thoughts exactly. They’re making it harder than it needs to be to get this guy.

        • It’s actually quite scary that you are posting someone’s physical address to their HOME for any person to see under clear angry pretenses. Despite his deplorable actions which are heartbreaking and reprehensible, you are endangering his family which is inexcusable. They are not responsible for his choices. Leave this matter to the professionals rather than inspiring vigilantes.

          • Ummm not in butt in, but theres a great proverb here, if you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. If his family still asscoiates with him, then they deserve it just as much as he does. Sorry but his loved ones have to have an idea he is a scammer and let it continue. So screw them too.

          • Look dummy, his family is in on it obviously. The way the law is stated, police will NOT be of help. They will say its a civil matter. In the time it would take to do that, the dog would be long gone. It is BEST for his address out there so people can get their dogs. If he gets shot or worse in the process, it’s his own stupid fault.

          • Really bitch, the whole family is benefutting from this illegal business. This man needs to b put in jail. You must not b a dog lover. Why dont u comment on another post not this one

        • It should also be mentioned that you’re referring to one of multiple Hunter Nelsons’ in that area of varying ages. I did the search, too. I was curious. But you may be pointing the finger at the wrong guy and putting his and his family’s lives in jeopardy.

        • You don’t know that this is the specific Hunter Nelson. There are apparently more than 1 in the area. Sending people to hunt this person down may be causing an innocent person undue stress and possible bodily injury.

  2. My dog Jersey also went to Hunter Nelson. She ended up staying longer to learn. When we got her back she knew nothing. I knew things weren’t adding up, but I just thought he was a young, disorganized business owner. I am so sick to find out about the abuse, neglect, and fraud.

  3. i want to know why no one has beat this mans ass, that would be the first thing i would have done, beat the truth out of him, no jury would convict when they find out what he has done to all these dog owners.

  4. lol, this one is amazing.. “sucker born every minute” and on both sides apparently. So, he takes your dog, promises good training, half-azzed trains them, sells them to other people as hunting dogs, pets, animal experimentation, dog fights, whatever…, tells you that “sorry dog died and I buried it” or if you manage to get it back, it’s all banged up, malnourished, scared and you still leave it behind as it needs “more” training…sounds like none of you people need to have pets.

  5. I’m sorry, but I do not understand why someone would trust this guy as a dog trainer when you are unable to see where your dog is staying. What legitimate business would not allow you to see the conditions your dog is staying in? Meeting at Vern offices or other places? How would you be comfortable with your dog staying somewhere for WEEKS that you cannot go to and check first? I would never let someone take my dog somewhere without checking it first. If you went to check the business and where the dogs were being trained you would be able to show right up the FIRST time he came up with an excuse that you could not see your dog. There is no way possible I would go months without seeing my dog.

  6. it’s amazing how bad things have to get before law enforcement or the justice system gets involved, but I suppose that’s a bad habit stemming from decades of being reactive instead of proactive. This guy Hunter Nelson clearly needs to be put OUT of business and IN prison, with the option to make a plea deal that involves the return of everyone’s dogs and money paid for training and paid for other people’s dogs.

  7. What if this whole thing is a scam…. the money raised for court fees is all them again ripping ppl off… idk it just don’t seem right I wouldn’t leave my dog where I didn’t know where it was….. it’s all very stupid faults on both sides

  8. The fact that she thinks it’s okay for a rescue dog to live solely outside leads me to believe she has no business ever owning a dog. I know for a fact that if you apply to adopt any animal they require you to have proper living conditions, this includes shelter. If you put down on your application that you intend to keep your rescue animal outside, the application is rejected. I feel sorry for anyone who fell for this scam.

    • That part bothered me, too. When she mentions that he is solely an outside dog…in the background story, they were living in an apt when they got Ollie so I am a little confused.

  9. I’d like to see a picture of this guy and know what he drives. I’ve seen the jerk that stole our dog about an hour after he tried to hit him with his truck. I saw him again with a person in Paragould who has “access”to MANY people’s pets and he was handing a dog off to him out of his truck that I had seen him grab out if a yard.. When I tried to report it nothing was done. I wonder if it’s this guy? I knew he must be selling them because who would need all these dogs. Also, we never found Jake and likely never will. People who steal pets should be charged with felonies. Many pets are “children” to their owners and the loss is overwhelming. My son has Downs and he still goes to the door every day to watch for Jake.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The suspicious disappearance of Ollie the dog - NEA Report
  2. Hunter Nelson being sued over shady dog business - NEA Report
  3. Lawsuits against dog trainer delayed by evasiveness – NEA Report

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