FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Raúl Torrez received a default judgment against the Duke City Dog Academy and its owner, Lisa Berry, for violating the Unfair Practices Act. Despite advertising as a dog training service, Berry would charge dog owners between $2,000 to $8,000 to train their dogs and ended up keeping the dogs for weeks or months longer than contracted for, returning them with sores, diseases, and emaciated. The court ordered the business to cease operating and ordered Berry to pay civil penalties, compensatory damages, and restitution to the victims whose dogs suffered great harm in Berry’s custody.
“Today is a great win for animal lovers and consumers in New Mexico,” said AG Torrez. “Anyone who continuously violates the Unfair Practices Act by deceiving and taking advantage of consumers will be investigated and held accountable for their injustices. While the victims and their dogs will have more work to do recovering from this trauma, we sought and received some measure of justice for those who suffered at the hands of Lisa Berry and the Duke City Dog Academy.”
Berry did not show up to today’s hearing despite having notice of the court date and filing a motion to continue. The Judge denied that motion and heard from several dog owners whose animals were neglected and abused by Berry. One victim stated that her dog “will never be the same” after coming back from the Duke City Dog Academy.
Berry will have to pay $46,512.07 in restitution to the victims listed in this case. Additionally, the Court granted $120,000 in civil penalties for violations of the Unfair Practices Act, this amounts to $5,000 per complaint that our office received against the defendant. Berry is also permanently prohibited from conducting any business in the State of New Mexico with pet animals that she does not own.