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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.