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Dog trainer Josephine Ragland accused of scamming North Reading, Massachusetts family whose dog died appears in court

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    WOBURN, Connecticut (WBZ) — A Connecticut dog trainer accused of scamming a North Reading family whose dog later died has been ordered to stay away from all animals except her own.

Josephine Ragland was charged with larceny and witness intimidation.

In August, the Hanson family paid Ragland hundreds of dollars to train their French bulldog, Charlie, after finding her on the app Thumbtack. When it was time to return the dog, Ragland allegedly told them Charlie was gone. The family said she kept offering different explanations, claiming Charlie jumped out the window or someone may have taken him while her car’s windows were down.

Police later found Charlie dead in the woods, about 35 miles from her parents’ home. A necropsy determined Charlie was emaciated with nothing in his stomach and died from heat stroke just days into Ragland’s care. When police interviewed her, they said she changed her story multiple times before admitting Charlie “collapsed” while she was gambling in a casino.

Ragland is facing similar accusations from dog owners in several other states. One woman in California told WBZ TV she entrusted her German Shepherd to Ragland and never saw him again. She claims Ragland sent a different dog back to her family.

“This is not an isolated incident,” said Bart Hanson, Charlie’s owner. “I think this is a sick, sick individual. I don’t know if it’s entirely for financial gain or what but I’m hoping the criminal justice here, in Connecticut, in California, takes this very seriously, which it looks like they do.”

While the judge released Ragland without setting bail, she had to surrender her passport and can’t make any references to animals on social media.

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