Family says they were scammed out of service dog

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Cynthia Buelman was born with a genetic syndrome that left her deaf and mute.

A Hoke County family is outraged after they were scammed out of a service animal for their daughter.

The Buelman family started a GoFundMe page in 2015 for a service dog for their daughter Cynthia. The 22-year-old was born with Charge syndrome, a genetic condition that left her deaf and mute.

See Cynthia's original GoFundMe page for a hearing service dog

The Buelman family had been working with The Barefoot K-9 Project, a Georgia based company that provides and trains service animals. Cynthia fell in love with a German Shepherd named Chipella but now there's fear that Chipella may not ever see her new owner.

"The former director went live on Facebook and reported that we were all scammed," said Theresa Buelman, Cynthia's mother. "The dogs were never trained. Some of the dogs were being bred, puppies have died and she felt that most of us would never see their dog again."

The family says they've been getting the runaround from Barefoot. For months they were unsure of Chipella's progress or when they could pick her up. This morning, the family learned that Chipella may not be at the facility after all, and fears that she may have been resold.



"I feel angry. I want justice. A lot of these families, there are 12 families affected by this and we just want justice," Buelman said.

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The Buelmans have filed charges with the Hoke County Sheriff's Office. There are also other charges filed against the company in other states.

Barefoot K-9 Projects has not responded to requests for comment from ABC11.

The Buelman family is pleading with residents in Georgia to keep an eye out for Chipella. At this point, they say they're not concerned with whether she's trained. The focus is making Cynthia happy.

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