MILLBROOK – A Prattville woman who pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge in 2008 is now running a dog training and grooming facility in Millbrook and a pit bull rescue in the tri-county area.
Rebecca B. Deaver opened Dog Pawsitive in October 2017 after forming it as a Limited Liability Corporation with the State of Alabama in April of that year and began offering dog daycare, grooming, training and other services.
Since opening the business, Deaver has listed false credentials on advertisements, business cards, and on the business website and Facebook page. Certifications she claimed to have from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Do More With Your Dog, American Kennel Club, and Association of Professional Dog Trainers have either lapsed, been revoked, or never awarded. Animal Advocates of Alabama confirmed this information through the various agency websites as well as through emails with the organizations. These credentials were the basis for the fees charged to customers for dog training classes and certificates.
In addition, Deaver allegedly plagiarized the Roverchase website when building her Dog Pawsitive site. Roverchase, owned by Abigail Witthaur in Pelham, engaged the services of animal rights attorney Angie Hubbard Ingram of Birmingham to write a cease-and-desist letter to Deaver. More than two months after the letter was mailed, Deaver called Ingram to apologize and to say that she gave her web designer a list of websites that she liked, and the designer must have inadvertently used the Roverchase website information. However, the various pages either use the exact words or replace Witthauer’s name with Deaver’s.
Deaver has since has taken down the home page of www.dogpawsitive.com. When an individual goes to the site at this time, this message appears:
“We’ll be back soon!
Sorry for the inconvenience but we’re performing some maintenance at the moment. If you need to you can always contact us via email, or phone: 334-517-4922 otherwise we’ll be back online shortly!
— The DogPawsitive Team”
The animal cruelty charges
Deaver was arrested November 3, 2008 on four Class A misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty for withholding food, water, and shelter to dogs and was taken to the Chilton County Jail, according to public court records.
According to the court records, Deaver pleaded guilty to the charge of Cruelty to Animals the next month and was fined $250 and sentenced to 90 days in the Chilton County Jail. The jail sentence was suspended on the condition that Deaver complete one year of probation and 40 hours of community service at the Chilton County Humane Society. In addition to the fine, probation, and community service, Deaver agreed to turn over all of her animals and pet supplies to the humane society.
Court records show she turned over 26 animals -- one Great Dane, four mixed-breed dogs, five cats, one pot-bellied pig, and 15 Alaskan Malamutes.
Stolen Hearts Bully Rescue
For several years, Deaver had been involved with a local rescue, Hotel Pitbull.
Although she is not listed on the rescue’s state-required incorporation papers, Deaver lists herself and founder and president of Hotel Pitbull on her business card. When Karrie Matlock, listed as the Hotel Pitbull founder and president on the state documents, moved out of state in 2017, Deaver took over the rescue’s social media pages and website under a new name, Stolen Hearts Bully Rescue.
About six months later, Deaver reserved the new name.
What’s in a name?
In September 2017, Allegra Smith, a supporter of Stolen Hearts Bully Rescue, wrote a $50 check to the rescue for the purchase of T-shirts and an additional donation. More than a month later, Deaver scratched out the name of the rescue on Smith’s check and wrote in her own name and cashed the check, Smith said.
After learning of the forgery, Smith filed a police report, and Deaver was arrested on January 16, 2018 and charged with Possession of a Forged Instrument. Deaver was released on $3,500 bond. That case currently is pending in the Elmore County district court.
Deaver failed to respond to Animal Advocates of Alabama requesting an interview. AAA publisher Joey Kennedy sent several voicemails, emails, and Facebook messages to her. Also, Millbrook City Council President Michael Gay did not respond to Veronica Kennedy, AAA editor, who asked for an interview regarding the status of the Millbrook business.