AG Herring: Company ordered to pay restitution for selling untrained service animals

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorney General Mark Herring reached a settlement with Charles D. Warren Jr., the founder of Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, after Warren was found guilty of selling untrained dogs to customers for tens of thousands of dollars, claiming they were service animals.

The dogs, which were marketed to individuals as service animals, were sold nationwide from the Virginia-based company. According to Herring’s office, they were essentially untrained puppies.

Herring filed a suit against the company for violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions law.

“Not only did Dan Warren deceive consumers across the country, his reckless actions put people’s health at risk by selling them purported service dogs that were little more than untrained puppies,” Herring said. “Families rely on service dogs to help them and lying about what these animals can do could leave them with absolutely no protection against a life-threatening situation.”

Customers were told the dogs could provide services for people with diabetes, autism, seizure disorders or post-traumatic stress.

Now that Herring and Warren have come to a settlement, Warren will have to pay restitution. Herring’s office stated that Warren will have a judgement entered against him for the following:

  • $514,406.39 in restitution for affected consumers
  • $1,447,919.18 to the Commonwealth for the use and benefit of charitable organizations that support those or similar purposes for which the funds were collected by SDWR
  • $822,500.00 to the Commonwealth for civil penalties
  • $279,200.75 to the Commonwealth for attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in investigating and litigating the case

Certain fees including the civil penalties and attorney’s fees will be waived if Warren follows terms laid out for him. He will no longer be allowed to work for charities or nonprofits, solicit donations, sell animals, train animals and receive money from facilities that work with animals.

He will pay an initial $40,000 in restitution and previously paid $90,000 that will also be given to victims.

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