Dog trainers, pet owners warn against use of 'e-collar' shock collars

Warning: Some of the images in the video are disturbing.

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Friday, May 6, 2022
Dog's painful death shared as electronic shock collar warning
Dog owners are sharing their horrifying stories as a warning against electronic shock collars. The use of these devices are being debated in the legislature.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The use of electronic collars, or "e-collars," to shock an animal to train them is currently being debated in the legislature. Some families blame those collars for harming and even killing their dogs.

A bill from Assemblyperson Adrin Nazarian would require dog trainers to disclose their methods before selling their services. AB 1901 currently has no specific language addressing E-collars, but it does mandate that a trainer disclose all training methods, including the use of e-collars, leaving it up to the dog's owner to decide whether to allow its use on their dog.

Supporters hope it will end the use of what they consider a cruel practice. We warn you that some of the images in the video are disturbing.

Jason Stock found his dog Bubba in a pool of diarrhea and vomit 20 minutes after he received electronic jolts from an e-collar by a dog trainer.

He says Bubba appeared motionless, almost paralyzed.

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"He wanted to stand," Stock said. "He was trying to stand, but he couldn't. He simply couldn't get his legs up because his back legs weren't working."

The next morning, Bubba died.

Stock turned the body over and found a 2-inch burn on Bubba's neck.

"You have a bruise. I think it's about this big with a quarter-size sore," Stock said.

Kim Medeiros is a dog trainer and says a lot of other trainers use the collars at very high levels.

"Dogs are just in fear. The collars are cranked up, so to speak," Medeiros said.

Trenton Holthaus says he regrets allowing an e-collar to be used on his dog.

"It's not like a low shock if he's doing good," Holthaus said. "A high shock if he's doing bad. It was just, you just shock them."

Holthaus believes the e-collar training just made his dog bitter.

"I truly think that it made him pissed off at every other dog that he ever sees. He doesn't even have to have a shock collar on," Holthaus said.

Dog trainer Jeffrey Smith warns e-collars must be used with care.

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"You can make it unbelievably painful if you don't know what you're doing," Smith said.

Smith uses e-collars in his training. He demonstrated on his own dog how the device works.

"But as you can see, I'm utilizing the button right now," Smith said during a demonstration. "We're only at an 11. This thing goes up to a 36."

His dog seemingly did not react to the shock at all.

It's the same sort of demonstration Stock says was done on him. His trainer asked him to wear the collar on his wrist to experience the shock first hand.

"And it felt like a tickle," he said. "Just very... nothing almost. Just enough to distract you."

Based on that experience, he allowed the trainer to use it on Bubba.

It's a decision he regrets.

Richard Villa of the Humane Society says he would never allow an e-collar to be used on an animal.

"That's just abusive. That's abusive to a dog," Villa said. "You're abusing your own dog doing that. If you can't get a trainer or learn how to train an animal without causing it pain, then you shouldn't have an animal and you shouldn't be a trainer."

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