A central Ohio family says they spent more than $12,000 to get a service dog for their young daughter from a Grove City business, but now say they were taken advantage of, so they called Better Call Jackson.
Better Call Jackson found out they are not the only family facing problems from the company.
“It concerned me that she would stop breathing at night,” Michelle Tillman said of her young daughter Kaycee. For years Kaycee dealt with seizures due to a rare brain disease, Tillman said she eventually decided she wanted a service dog to help, “So that he could come get us if Kaycee had a seizure at night,” Tillman added.
Tillman found M & R Working Dogs in Grove City, and in 2015 she told NBC4, through fundraising from friends and family she wrote a down payment check of $2500.
“It was just something I really wanted for Kaycee, so that we could have some peace of mind,” Tillman said.
But that peace of mind would never come, Tilman said she wrote monthly checks in a payment plan, while M & R Working Dogs told her they were training a dog to help Kaycee. As time went on, Tillman said she reached $12,000 finishing payment, but no dog ever arrived.
“They didn’t show up, and then they stopped answering the phones,” Tillman said.
Better Call Jackson looked into the issue and found more than a dozen families are in the same situation across the country, families who paid thousands of dollars for service, but now feel they were taken advantage of.
Better Call Jackson found at least 10 complaints with the Ohio Attorney General’s office about M & R Working Dogs in Grove City and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is involved.
“We are going through records and working with multiple agencies,” Marc Gofstein with the FCSO said. While the investigation is open, Gofstein said it is too early to tell if anyone will end up in handcuffs.
“It is important to get all the information before we discuss possible charges,” Gofstein added.
Meanwhile, Better Call Jackson found out M & R Working Dogs has declared bankruptcy. We caught up with them at the courthouse and asked if they had anything to say. The owners told our cameras, “No comment.”
As for the families who say they are out thousands of dollars like Michelle Tillman and her daughter Kaycee, this cloud has a recent bright spot. Tillman said a recent surgery has nearly cleared Kaycee of her seizures. “She still has some mobility problems, and we’d (still) like a dog to help with that,” Tillman said of her daughter’s condition.
Tillman knows she may never get her money back, but what she does want, is justice, “I want them to never be able to do this again, they hurt a lot of people,” Tillman said.