SPCA Says It Did *Not* Attempt to Train Deaf Woman's Hearing Dog Over the Phone

Last week, a woman contacted SF Weekly and told us that a San Francisco SPCA dog trainer had offered to conduct her scheduled, in-person refresher course over the phone. This becomes an even odder thing to do when one considers that the woman in question, Patricia Frieze, is deaf and the dog in question, Cragmont, is her hearing dog.

This week, the SPCA's spokesperson, Tina Ahn, said her organization did not attempt to train a hearing dog over the phone. Instead, according to Ahn, dog trainer Helen Colombo was merely attempting to gauge whether Frieze's dog troubles could be solved by a regular dog trainer or only a hearing dog trainer.

This is interesting, because Ahn also confirmed that the SPCA — which staved off a legal challenge from the San Francisco Hearing Dog Program to claim a $500,000 behest by convincing a San Mateo judge that it still ran a hearing dog program — now has no hearing dog instructor either on staff or on its freelancer list.

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