Julie Noyes, an established service dog trainer currently working with Alert Dogs for Life, LLC, was arrested on Thursday following accusations of stealing a service dog from a disabled child. The dog in question, Major, is a fully-trained service dog specialized in helping diabetic patients. Major was trained by Noyes at Alert Dogs for Life, LLC before being sent to the Barnes family in Arkansas. When Major arrived in Arkansas he and the child he was trained for, Alayna Barnes who lives with type I juvenile diabetes, hit it off right away and according to family and friends of the Barnes', Major was a perfect fit and an excellent service dog.
Not long after Major came to live with the Barnes, the family decided that the dog just wasn't what they wanted and was quick to send him back to Noyes for evaluation. When Major returned to Colorado, Noyes and her colleagues were devastated to find that Major was showing signs of abuse and mistreatment. Noyes immediately took Major to a trusted veterinarian who found and documented wounds that suggest Major had indeed been abused by the Barnes family during his time with them, the reported that Major had physical welts and scarring that could be consistent with being beaten with a belt.
Members of the Barnes' community raised $50,000 for Major but Alert Dogs for Life LLC only charged $20,000 for Alayna to get the dog. The remaining Barnes' kept the remaining $30,000 raised by the community. During the process to acquire Major, the Barnes family was required to sign a contract stating that if the dog were to be mistreated or neglected in anyway, Noyes would take the dog back from the family and issue no refund. The Barnes' agreed to the stipulations and signed the legally binding contract. Noyes boasts a long and caring history with both service dogs and people in need; she's a member of FEMAs canine search and rescue team known as Colorado Task Force 1 (COTF-1) as are her colleagues. Noyes retrieved Major from the airport after the Barnes family had him flown him back and noticed the signs of abuse.
After being arrested in Jefferson County Colorado, Noyes was released on bond. The judge as well as Noyes' lawyer have declared this to be a civil case to be handled by the courts. If the Barnes family is found guilty, they could face Class A misdemeanor charges or Class 4 felony charges of abusing a service dog. Other clients of Noyes, including the owners of Major's brother Clover make it abundantly clear that Noyes is a compassionate and high-caliber trainer, and have nothing but excellent testimonies of the dogs she's trained and the many lives she's immeasurably improved through her work with the disabled community. In her work with service dogs, Noyes was deployed with her dog Hoke to Ground Zero in New York following the 9/11 attacks to aid in the search for survivors, as well as traveling to New Orleans to search for victims after Hurricane Katrina.
Julie's daughter Lucy has started a Facebook page to support her mother, Julie's family has been devastated by these accusations, when contacted for a quote Lucy told us "My mom, Julie Noyes, has always gone to immeasurable lengths to help anyone and everyone she can in need. In return, I figured the least we could do is show her how much we support her. The outrageous accusations against my mom could not be more untrue, and anyone who knows my mom, knows that.She absolutely loves hearing what wonderful things people have to say about her. Thank you to everyone who supports her!"
Those who have worked with Noyes stress that this is is not a trainer that would steal a service dog from a child; this is a trainer taking responsibility for the safety and well-being of a special four-legged friend by not allowing him to return to an evidently abusive home.