Former Holliston dog trainer accused of animal cruelty is convicted


WOBURN — A former Holliston dog trainer who was caught on video picking up and swinging a German shepherd by the collar has been found guilty of a single count of animal cruelty.

Cheryl Rochleau, 53, of Douglas, was found guilty last Friday after a two-day trial in Middlesex Superior Court.

She was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered not to work as an animal trainer, not to possess any animals she did not own at the time of her arraignment in 2020 and to complete a program designed for those who have abused animals.

Rochleau is a former animal trainer at Holliston Pet Meadows on Summer Street. In late 2019, Holliston police detectives began an investigation after a video from 2017 that was posted on several social media websites appeared to show Rochleau abusing a dog she was training at the facility.

More:Former dog trainer pleads not guilty to cruelty charge

According to a police report filed in court, the video showed Rochleau picking up and swinging the German shepherd by the collar. According to the report, the video was recorded in 2017 by another employee at Holliston Meadows on her cellphone, but they did not report the incident at the time.

Police said a Holliston detective watched the 36-second video and recognized Rochleau. The detective said in the report that the video showed Rochleau walking an 8-month-old puppy named Scout on a treadmill.

Cheryl Rochleau, a former animal trainer at Holliston Pet Meadows shown in this Daily News file photo in 2007, was found guilty last Friday of a single count of animal cruelty in Middlesex Superior Court.

The dog appeared to be struggling on the treadmill and appeared to be panting, according to the report. As the dog tried to get off the machine, the video showed Rochleau grabbing excess skin near the dog’s hind legs and forcing it back onto the treadmill.

The dog again got off the treadmill, an action that appeared to lead to Rochleau becoming abusive, according to the police report. Police wrote that Rochleau grabbed the dog’s leash, picked the dog up from the floor and “whirls the dog on the leash in a half-circle with all (its) paws fully off the ground,” police wrote in the report.

The incident left Scout panting, police said in the report.

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