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City returns dogs, trainer agrees to drop lawsuits

Posted: 7:05 PM, Dec 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-03 11:26:10-05

INDIANAPOLIS – More than a year after dozens of dogs were impounded from Upton’s Famous Pet Training Center, an agreement has been reached with the City of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Animal Care Services officers started returning some of the dogs Friday afternoon at the facility on Southeastern Avenue.

“Until the first dog came through the door, I didn’t know if it was real or not,” said Paul Upton. “I’ve been a law abiding citizen.  The people has prevailed here.

The city impounded 31 German Shepherds belonging to owner Paul Upton during a Nov. 6, 2015 raid, and the dogs have been in the custody of Indianapolis Animal Care Services, formerly known as Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

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Supporters of Upton’s have been fighting to get the dogs back ever since and have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the dogs’ care and treatment while they’re at the city shelter.

“It’s not about me, Paul Upton, a 70-year old man training dogs for all of his life,” said Upton. “It’s about the dogs.”

Although the agreement has a confidentiality agreement between Upton and the City of Indianapolis, Call 6 Investigates obtained a copy through a public records request.

As part of the agreement Upton agrees to dismiss several lawsuits he’s filed against the city and halt pending records requests and complaints.

The city will deliver the dogs to the training facility in groups of ten on December 2, December 9, December 16 and December 23, records show, with the oldest dogs arriving first.

The dogs returned include 31 dogs seized from Upton in November 2015, as well as nine puppies.

Upton agrees to future inspections by Indianapolis Animal Care Services.

The city of Indianapolis will pay Upton and his attorney, Marshall Pinkus, $98,000 “in consideration for the upgrades Upton has made to the Facility, resolution of the Lawsuits, avoiding the cost and uncertainty of litigation, and relieving the City of the considerable cost and burden of continuing to care for the sized dogs, and recognizing that Upton’s Facility currently is in compliance with the Revised Code.”

Paul Upton and his supporters have paid approximately $6,150 a month for the care and treatment of the dogs since they were impounded, however supporters say Upton lost thousands of dollars in income while the dogs were at the shelter.

Both signed off on an agreement in which they agreed not to disparage, or speak poorly, of one another.

When it confiscated the dogs in November 2015, the city alleged some of the adult dogs were skinny, had no access to shelter, and others were in kennels so small they could not stand, sit or lie without doing so in their own excrement.

“Many of the dogs inside the kennel room also were showing signs of having been kenneled for extended periods of time because they were walking or trotting in circles in their kennels and jumping off the walls and doors,” read the court documents, filed Nov. 6, 2015.

Some of the dog’s puppies did not survive at the shelter,  outraging animal advocates and Upton’s supporters  .

Upton’s Famous Pet Training Center filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the dogs were unlawfully seized during the raid  .

RELATED |  Dog kennel sues IACC over raid

Upton's Training Center has not received any citations in 30 years of business until the 2015 raid, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the city.

The facility has made numerous repairs and upgrades in the last year, according to the center’s supporters.