Accused dog abuser denies charges
Posted: November 10, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Indictments made available Friday detail allegations that Aberdeen Acres owner Russell L. Ebersole choked, beat, kicked and tortured several dogs in his care.
Ebersole — who adamantly denied the accusations in a phone interview Friday — was indicted Thursday on 13 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
He is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Nov. 28 in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Each indictment describes alleged instances of abuse involving 13 dogs.
One indictment states that on or about Aug. 20, 2011, Ebersole “suspended “Buddy,” a canine companion animal, above the ground by a choke chain around its neck.
Other indictments depict instances in which Ebersole allegedly choked and kicked dogs and stepped on them.
From Aug. 15 to 29, 2011, he allegedly hit a dog named Abby with a pipe and kicked and shocked her.
Ebersole pointed out Friday that the Aberdeen Acres Facebook page displays video of every dog that graduated from any of his programs and that he has cross-referenced each dog listed in the indictments with its corresponding video.
According to its website, Aberdeen Acres — in Stephenson — is a grooming, training and boarding facility that specializes in basic obedience, agility, protection and service dog training.
About 640 videos have been posted to the facility’s Facebook page since 2009, according to Ebersole.
One video he pointed out showed a black-and-white spaniel mix that one of the indictments alleges he choked and kicked in the face on or about March 3, 2010.
In the video, Ebersole can be seen walking with the dog and giving it commands from a short distance while the animal responds without a leash.
He said the dog was brought back to his facility for training on five occasions. “Why if you suspected abuse would you come back for more training?” he asked.
Ebersole added of the video, “That’s just one example; everything else follows suit.”
Videos on the page depict dogs responding to commands, interacting with special-needs people and showing off learned behaviors.
“At the end of the day, these videos speak for themselves,” said Ebersole.
A complaint against Ebersole was filed Aug. 29, 2011, at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office by two former employees of the kennel, sparking the animal-cruelty investigation.
The employees alleged that abusive training practices and animal cruelty were part of the dog-obedience program at the kennel, and referred to a bloodhound named Flash and an Italian mastiff named Achilles.
On Nov. 21, a search warrant was executed at the facility at 667 Walters Mill Lane.
Deputy Megan A. Moreland of the Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Division said in a Dec. 3 Winchester Star article that about 20 complaints were filed about the kennel.
The Thursday indictments against Ebersole are Class 1 misdemeanors, each punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com