A Green Country dog owner has been accused of serious crimes against animals. Our cameras were there earlier this year as more than 100 dogs were removed from disgusting conditions in what appeared to be a major case of animal hoarding.
2 Works For You investigative reporter Erin Conrad got some answers from Marj the dog trainer about what led up to her criminal charges.
Erin Conrad: “Hello, is Marj here? Will she be at training tonight?”
You’ll remember our disturbing video of dogs stacked in cramped kennels, covered in dust and urine.
The home, full of shopping bags, empty liquor bottles and no heating and cooling. It was all found inside the home of Marj Satterfield in February, where she says she trains service dogs, therapy dogs and does obedience work.
Erin Conrad: "But do you think it's OK they were living in those conditions?"
Satterfield: "The conditions were fine. What you saw... you didn't come into my home. You just saw what you think you saw."
Before she agreed to sit down with us with her attorney, we confronted Satterfield, who still is training in Tulsa.
Erin Conrad: “How has this been for you?”
Satterfield: “Um... devastating… I can't comment on a lot of this because we have a trial. I have plead not guilty.”
Those charges – three counts of animal cruelty and one count of obtaining money under false pretenses. Law enforcement explained many of the animals rescued belonged to Satterfield’s clients.
"I certainly grew faster than I thought I would,” she said. “I have trouble saying no.”
Jessica Cargill worked for Satterfield from 2012-2016. She was the one who reported the alleged behavior to law enforcement.
“Really, I just felt that people deserved to know,” Cargill said. “They are spending thousands and thousands of dollars for a dog that will not work for them.”
We asked Satterfield about her former employee.
“For three years she was trying to close me down,” Satterfield said. “She hasn't even been to my home in three years.”
So what happened with some of the dogs that were taken from Satterfield’s home?
We did some digging and found Lola Carter, a trainer in Bristow, who worked with some of them.
“It didn't feel like there had been much training or interaction whatsoever, it was very consistent with a dog that had spent lots of time in a crate and nothing else,” Carter said.
Satterfield denies that.
Erin Conrad: "Do you think you maybe took on dogs that were inappropriate for service dogs?"
We spoke with several clients of Satterfield's, who stand behind her and her methods. Her attorney also gave us a stack of 50 letters from previous clients, which will serve as evidence in the case.
With all the accusations waiting to be heard at trial, Satterfield still is training dogs. According to court records, a judge ruled she can operate her business, as long as she submits to random animal welfare checks and discloses her court case to prospective clients.
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