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Dog trainer accused in death of golden retriever pleads not guilty

Ricky Allen Davis packs courtroom with supporters
Ricky Allen Davis mugshot
Posted at 11:20 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 14:23:13-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As he's done in the past, Ricky Davis packed the courtroom with supporters Wednesday morning as he pleaded not guilty to felony cruelty charges in the death of 9-year-old Woody.

"We're all clients of his," said supporter Brandi Cassady. "We've all known him for several years. He works with our dogs. We know him personally, see him all the time and we know that this is just a ridiculous charge."

But none of the supporters who sat on Davis' side of the courtroom during his arraignment has first-hand knowledge what happened to Woody. Only faith in Davis' claim that the dog's death was an accident.

"All of us are animal advocates. Every one of us. And we wouldn't want to see any animal abused. Ever. And Rick Davis does not abuse animals," said supporter Jennie Hlavacek.

But Woody's owner, Wendy Span, says her dog was "perfectly healthy one minute and dead the next minute."

ORIGINAL STORY: Unlicensed dog trainer accused in death of Las Vegas family's Golden Retriever

After Woody died last summer, Davis was charged with killing him by "failing to provide adequate water or conditions necessary to prevent (him) from overheating and/or suffering from heat stroke."

Woody died on Aug. 6, 2018, after being driven around for hours in Davis' van with four other dogs.

When Davis got Woody to the vet, the dog was already dead and in rigor mortis with a body temperature so high it was literally off the charts--more than 107 degrees.

The Spans' other, younger dog, Kopi, was also in Davis' care while the Spans were out of town for a funeral.

Kopi survived but he, too, was severely overheated with no explanation as to how he got that way.

Davis waived his right to a speedy trial.

The case has been set to go before a jury in October.

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