Connecticut dog trainer pleads not guilty to charges related to North Reading dog’s death


Josephine “Josie” Ragland, 28, is facing charges related to the death of Charlie, a 3-year-old French bulldog who allegedly died in her care.

Charlie, a French Bulldog, allegedly died while in the care of trainer Josephine Ragland. Bart Hanson

A Connecticut dog trainer has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of a North Reading dog that allegedly died in her care. 

Josephine “Josie” Ragland is facing charges of larceny over $1,200 by false pretenses and intimidation of a witness in connection with the death of Charlie, a 3-year-old French bulldog. The 28-year-old Haddam resident, who has been accused of being a scam artist by former clients, was arraigned in Woburn District Court on Wednesday.

According to court records, Ragland was released on personal recognizance, but with several conditions, including surrendering her passport and not working or volunteering for organizations that work with animals.

According to the criminal complaint against Ragland, Charlie’s owner, 43-year-old Bart Hanson, paid Ragland to train Charlie at her home for two weeks at the beginning of September. Everything seemed fine until the end of the two weeks when, instead of returning Charlie, Ragland allegedly told the Hansons he’d run away.

The Hansons contacted North Reading police, and during their investigation into Ragland, she allegedly lied to police multiple times. According to the complaint, she eventually admitted that Charlie died a few days after she picked him up, and that afterwards, she sent the Hansons pictures of Charlie she’d taken when he was alive.

At that time, police took custody of four other “malnourished” dogs that were in Ragland’s care before returning them to their owners across New England. They said they were also able to recover Charlie’s emaciated body, which had been left on the side of the road in Connecticut. 

According to the complaint, former Ragland clients in California have accused her of abusing and neglecting their dogs. Police in Palo Alto interviewed those clients after a German Shepherd went missing in her care. 

A pretrial hearing for Ragland’s case is scheduled for Jan. 10.