FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – A former Holliston dog trainer accused of abusing a German shepherd on a treadmill pleaded not guilty to an animal cruelty charge Thursday.
Cheryl Rochleau, 51, of Douglas, was arraigned in Framingham District Court and released. She is no longer allowed to have any unsupervised contact with animals other than the pets she already owns and she can no longer train dogs.
Rochleau was a trainer at Holliston Meadows Pet Resort and was fired after video of the incident was posted on the internet.
The clip shows Rochleau walking a young German shepherd on a treadmill, but when the dog tries to get off, Rochleau forces the dog back on, lifting the pet up by its leash.
She had no comment outside court after the arraignment, but her attorney said the video doesn’t tell the whole story and his client loves dogs.
“Her reaction is stunned. She’s heartbroken. She’s never abused an animal in her life, she’s never hurt an animal in her life, this is just abhorrent to say the least,” Rochleau’s attorney Peter Marano told reporters.
“My client has been a professional animal trainer for close to 25 years, she has no criminal history and we intend to vigorously fight this. She’s innocent of all these charges and its basically something that’s gotten a life on the internet in a segment of the video that doesn’t show the whole picture.”
Rochleau is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing May 7.