ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Dog rescue group calls for registry of animal abusers in California

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip KGO logo
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Names of animal abusers could be made public in California
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"People need to be aware. The community needs to be aware. Abusing a dog, abusing an animal is the first step to human violence."

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- A German Shepherd rescue group in the San Francisco Bay Area has drawn a connection between the abuse of animals with humans and is calling for a registry of animal abusers, similar to a sex abuser registry.

An animal abuse registry has been in place in the state of Tennessee since 2016. Now a case scheduled to begin jury selection this week in Contra Costa County has spawned a new call for a similar registry here in California.

Garry Reynolds is accused of eight counts of felony animal abuse in Contra Costa County.

Former co-worker and girlfriend Jordyn Gingrich won a temporary restraining order against him for domestic violence in 2018.

Reynolds' attorney Matthew Fregi says three women have accused his client of domestic violence, and all have been dismissed.

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One of those woman is Bryanna Emmons, the mother of two of his children.

He called all of Gingrich's allegations against him "untrue and unfounded."

Gingrich did not show up for her hearing and Fregi says the same judge ruled against all three women and ordered them to pay Reynolds' attorney fees and costs.

"It is common for domestic violence victims to recant, minimize or just not go through the complaint. That's accurate, but like I said, there were three different women at the same time who filed allegations that were basically mirror images of each other and three were thrown out."

The animal abuse registry in Tennessee is based in part on the theory that there is a connection between animal abuse and domestic violence.

Larry Parks is with the Napa Valley German Shepherd Rescue group.

They've provided both financial and moral support to the family of Gunnar, a German Shepherd who died while under the care of Reynolds and his company, NorCal K9.

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"People need to be aware. The community needs to be aware. Abusing a dog, abusing an animal is the first step to human violence," he said.

Bruce Wagman teaches animal law at UC Berkeley School of Law. He too sees a connection.

"People who abuse people or animals simply have a mindset to abuse inferior, physically weaker individuals," he said. "So it doesn't matter whether it's a human or an animal."

German Shepherd Rescue believes a registry of animal abusers in California would be a step forward.

"We felt it was very important for our community to either know about it and learn about it," Parks said.

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Wagman however says he's indifferent about the idea.

"If there's somebody who could be rehabilitated, that could prevent them from being rehabilitated," he said. "So I'm really not sure."

An interesting note: Jordyn Gingrich, one of the women who accused Reynolds of domestic violence, is herself a dog trainer. She recently lost eight small claims cases accusing her of accepting money for services not completed. One of those cases she lost also accused her of leaving the dog in her care malnourished.

Take a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.