NORTH READING - North Reading Police say a dog trainer from Connecticut scammed a local family whose dog allegedly died in her care.
Charlie was a three-and-a-half-year-old purebred French bulldog. When the Hanson family from North Reading became worried about his behavior around their toddler, they looked for a trainer. That's when they say they hired a woman through the app called Thumbtack.
Police say the woman they hired, who used a different name, is Josephine Ragland. She now faces charges for allegedly taking hundreds of dollars the Hansons paid her, and allegedly lying about what happened to Charlie. Police later found the dog's body in some woods near a Connecticut highway. The necropsy found Charlie was emaciated with nothing in his stomach.
"The reviews, all of them were like she's a very good trainer," said Carolina Bruchilari, who said the same thing happened to her in California. She said she also found Ragland through Thumbtack and paid her $2,000 to train the family's German Shepherd named Scott. "Instead of bringing back Scott, she brought back another dog, a fake dog. My son...said this is not our dog," said Bruchilari. "Scott disappeared in January of 2023 and since then, we have never seen him again."
Back in North Reading, police said Ragland agreed to come to the police department last week. In a 15-page report, they detail "a three-hour and forty-nine-minute conversation" during which she allegedly changed her story, finally saying Charlie "collapsed" and that she had been on "a bender at the casino every day before and after work" and had "issues with gambling."
Ragland lives in Haddam, Connecticut. She is due in Massachusetts court in October on charges of larceny and intimidating a witness.
A Thumbtack spokesperson shared a statement with WBZ TV, saying, in part, "We are actively investigating this situation. We take the integrity of our platform seriously and will continue to take action in the best interest of our community."
for more features.