Animal cruelty charges against Newport News boarding kennel, owner dismissed

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - In an unexpected outcome, the charges against Coastal Dog Services and its owner, Rick Tvelia, were dismissed Wednesday.

News 3's Brheanna Berry was live at the courthouse and reported that all four charges against the business and Tvelia were null processed. Because the prosecutor could not prove that Tvelia was the owner of the business, he could not be charged.

Before the hearing started, protesters shouted in front of the courthouse, "Demand justice for Bruce and Fenway!"

Bruce, a chocolate lab puppy, died in June 2017 after reportedly being attacked by three other dogs while kenneled at Coastal Dog Services. Fenway died in August after the business said his collar got stuck in a fence.

The four charges against the business were immediately null processed, and the judge dismissed the two charges against Tvelia for animal cruelty and a boarding establishment failing to meet care requirements. The two charges against Tvelia in Fenway's case were also null processed.

After the hearing, Tvelia declined an interview but told News 3 that the outcome spoke for itself. However, he did say there was no winner Wednesday because two dogs died.

Fenway's owner, Jason Fox, said the fight is far from over and is hoping to hear good news about legislation he and supporters are looking to pass in Fenway's name.


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