In light of multiple videos on social media, the owners of a dog daycare and training center that closed on Monday denied any animal abuse in a text message sent to some customers on Sunday.
The post, which was shared with NJ Advance Media by two clients of Bubba Luv Dog Training and Rescue of Rahway, was shared widely on social media after multiple videos showed allegations of dog abuse at the facility.
“On Saturday March 11, 2023, a neighboring tenant of Bubba Luv Dog Training recorded and uploaded a video clip of me engaging in corrective behavioral response with a dog in our care, which upset some who viewed it online. The dog was unharmed and continues to stay with us,” the post read, signed “jen and josh.”
Public records list company owners as Joshua Silverstein and Jennifer Lack. Phone numbers listed in their names were either out of service or had no voicemail, and Bubba Luv’s work voicemail was full on Tuesday.
Silverstein did not respond to an email and his LinkedIn page – listing him as the owner/operator of Bubba Luv Dog Training and Rescue – and his Twitter account have been deleted. A company Facebook account was also deleted.
No one answered when a reporter knocked on the company’s door on Tuesday.
Rahway Police said they were aware of videos involving “possible animal cruelty”. Calling the videos “disturbing,” a police spokesperson said an investigation was underway, but the department could not comment further.
(Warning: some viewers may find the content of the videos, found here And here, disturbing.)
Chelsea Hoeffler, who said her family were clients of Bubba Luv, identified the man in several of the videos as Joshua Silverstein.
In a two-minute video, the man crouched over a dog and pulled it by a collar or leash. Later in the video, the dog passively sat at the man’s feet as he screamed.
“I want to stomp on your head until your brains pop out of your ears,” the man said, shouting in the dog’s face.
Hoeffler said he received the message from Silverstein’s owners via text message on Monday, the day before one of his family’s dogs was supposed to go to Bubba Luv for daycare.
She said her dog, Luna, a two-year-old Husky mix, would go to Bubba Luv’s weekly, and her father and stepmother’s dog, Addie, a two-year-old mix, went “regularly. “.
Hoeffler said she was shocked by the videos, saying Silverstein was generally “super laid back.”
She said that when Silverstein took on a new client, they would do a “pack walk” to make sure the new dog got along with Silverstein’s dog.
In the message to customers, the owners said they have been in contact with the owners of one of the dogs in the videos, as well as “local city and animal welfare authorities.”
“The owners of the dog have acknowledged knowledge of their animal’s on-leash behavior and have declined to press charges, understanding that my actions were both to keep the dog safe and to see this behavioral event come to an end,” it says. the message.
He said the couple had received “threatening messages from strangers” so they put the dates on hold.
City officials closed Bubba Luv on Monday, posting a dangerous structure notice on the front door of the Main Street building after the videos emerged. Three dogs found at the facility have been “deemed to be in good condition” and removed, Mayor Raymond Giacobbe said.
“We are very grateful that a member of the community took the video and had the courage to come forward and report the incident to the Rahway (police),” Giacobbe said.
The state’s Consumer Affairs Division received two anonymous complaints against Bubba Luv on Sunday, spokesman Robert Rowan said, noting there had been no complaints until the videos surfaced.
Dawn Menendez, who said she was one of Bubba Luv’s first customers when the establishment opened in 2015, said the owners “really love the animals”. She and her dog Shugie, a pit bull mix, had been customers for eight years until the business closed.
The owners were “really helpful” and “caring,” Menendez said.
But the videos reminded her of an incident she says happened last year when she picked up Shugie from Bubba Luv’s daycare.
“She was in pain. She was not mobile and they said they did not know what happened to her. That she was just screaming they thought maybe what happened was another dog startled her and she turned her head quickly but they just didn’t know what was going on “said Menendez.
She took her dog to the emergency vet the next day. Shugie was diagnosed with compressed discs in her neck, she said.
Menendez said Silverstein never seemed to take a vacation from the company.
“And I think it became too much for him. They are not bad people…they are good people who are very caring about the community and really love animals,” she said.
In its message to customers, the owners said the video “shows a dog biting its leash and spinning on its hind legs while exhibiting a snapping behavior sometimes referred to as ‘alligator roll’. This is a behavior familiar that requires repetitive training to deal with I removed the leash from their mouth using a powerful upward leash correction technique The dog stopped snapping and rolling after this corrective action and resumed his normal activities.
A dog trainer who watched the videos disputed that explanation, calling what he saw “cruel and unwarranted actions”.
“As a trainer and as a human being, his actions were unconscionable and totally unnecessary under any circumstances,” said Scott Fischer, owner of The Trained Canine in Elmwood Park, after viewing the videos. “There is absolutely no situation in which treating a dog in this manner is acceptable or remotely acceptable.”
The person who originally posted one of the videos to Twitter, filmed from a window of a building overlooking Bubba Luv’s courtyard, captioned the video: “I’m posting this in tears I can’t stop crying, I don’t understand this cruelty. This facility must close immediately!
The video was later posted on YouTube.
Please sign up now and support the local journalism YOU rely on and trust.
Vinessa Erminio, Managing Editor of NJ Advance Media Research, and Jeff Goldman, Staff Reporter, contributed to this report.
Camille Furst can be reached at [email protected].
Karin Price Mueller can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @KPMueller.