Consumer reviews and reports on scam companies, bad products and services
Arizona Goldens
Arizona Goldens LLC Over $20,000 in donations were kept without providing service dog Mesa, Arizona
25th of Jun, 2011 by User140573
this was originally directed toward my donors, but contains all the pertinent information: As most of you know, on May 9th, I began what was supposed to be my three week Service Dog Boot Camp with Arizona Goldens, LLC. Unfortunately, less than six days into it, Arizona Goldens abruptly terminated my boot camp. Its all over. This was entirely their decision and I do not agree with it. I do not get my service dog and Arizona Goldens will be keeping the entire $20,990 that all you wonderful people gave to them for the specific purpose of providing me with a suitable service dog. Their reasoning is that in spite of the fact that I passed all of the written tests with high scores, even passing the entrance exam with the highest score of any client they have ever had (according to them,) I failed the very first point-based test when physically working with the actual dogs they selected. Under the contract, it didnt matter how far I progressed in three weeks, if I "failed" any test whatsoever, boot camp ended and they got to keep all of your money. It was only after Arizona Goldens had collected all of the nonrefundable money did they finally explain what the testing rules were, and even then, some rules changed during boot camp. At times, when I asked for clarification of the testing rules and procedures, all three instructors gave entirely conflicting answers simultaneously. It was a confusing mess. In the official Arizona Goldens Service Dog Boot Camp Orientation packet that was issued to me after fund-raising, (the same packet that explained the "rules") it stated that they would not schedule my boot camp until after "all the individual personality testing sessions have been accomplished with the Boot Camp Instructor" and "the dog(s) that may work best for your personality and tasks have had their training tweaked toward your needs." Apparently, this was not true. The individual personality testing sessions never occurred; and at no time did anyone from Arizona Goldens ever perform any interactive evaluation of my physical needs in order to tweak the dogs training to those needs. Other than a single brief dog walk around a local mall one evening, during which time one instructor talked to my boyfriend about integrating an electronic watering bowl into my wheelchair, there was never any discussion about my specific disability related requirements. They never even asked. I am not just a generic wheelchair user; I also have Moderately Severe Quadriplegic Spastic Cerebral Palsy and this necessitates some minor "tweaking" to standard training. Arizona Goldens was supposed to train the dogs to accommodate the nuances of my disability, and because they did not, many of the most important aspects of the dogs' training actually caused the dogs to regard the major aspects of my disability and involuntary movements as harsh reprimand markers." The dogs were completely confused and quickly stopped responding to anything I said or did. Each time I attempted to point these problems out to the instructors, I was harshly verbally reprimanded with statements like "stop blaming your disability." "get over it," and you need to grow a pair. I was not making excuses; I was pointing out the severe aspects of my disability which led me to seek a service dog in the first place. With the specific dogs that Arizona Goldens selected and presented for my boot camp, there was absolutely no way I could ever pass their physical tests. I feel like I was set up to fail from the very start. Virtually all of my sessions were video recorded. They explained this was for legal reasons; and also because if any of my donors decided to sue, they could just show them the videos to prove that they were not at fault for my failure. I will say it here and now: Anyone who watches these videos will probably cringe and/or cry. I know I did, and so did my boyfriend. To an untrained eye, they probably make me look pretty incapable. On the other hand, if you do have experience with training dogs specifically for people with Cerebral Palsy exactly like mine, you will not be fooled. These dogs were not "tweaked" for me or any person like me. If Arizona Goldens was not capable of training a dog to deal with the severity of my disability, they never should have accepted me as a client or taken your money. To add insult to injury, they also requested that I record a video apology to all my donors for failing them and losing all of their money. I refused to do this! I did not fail my donors. Arizona Goldens failed me. With regard to donation money, let me explain the following: To accept all of the donations, Arizona Goldens, LLC (a "for profit" corporation, not a charity) opened a separate escrow account at their own bank and in their own name. They also opened a PayPal account in their own name. For all business purposes, I was merely a spokesperson, and the sole advertised beneficiary. At no time did I ever have access to the accounts or the funds within them. They only showed me two or three statements during the early fund raising days, but none since. I never saw a single penny of this money, nor would they show me a list of who my donors are. I am truly sorry this happened to all of my donors. Unfortunately, I cannot yet find anyone interested in helping me pursue this further in the courts, or anywhere else for that matter. If anyone would like copies of the contract and/or other pertinent documentation, just ask.

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