A mother and daughter from Louisiana are facing charges for allegedly abusing animals at their dog training facility, Cypress Arrow Kennel & K9 Academy.
Trainer center owner Tina Frey, 52, and her daughter Victoria Brimer, 21, are charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a release via Facebook on Thursday.
They were arrested after officers received animal cruelty complaints against them. Authorities launched an investigation earlier this month after a viral social media clip showed Frey “striking a cane corso dog on the head with a riding crop,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
After police confirmed the video, they determined there was “probable cause that supported the original complaint,” leading authorities to arrest and charge the mother and daughter.
They were each released on $10,000 bond, however, the case is “still a very active and ongoing investigation,” and additional charges could be filed, per police.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Frey’s attorney Brad Drell maintained her innocence.
“I want to unequivocally state that Tina Frey has never hurt or injured a dog in her care. She is a respected dog trainer and is qualified to train other trainers,” he says, adding that she is “an expert” in handling the cane corso breed.
He adds of the breed, “Weighing over 100 pounds, they have the potential to be very dangerous to human beings if not trained property.” He cites recent incidents where cane corsos have attacked humans.
Speaking to the footage in question, Drell tells PEOPLE, “The video circulating of Ms. Frey using a squirt [a short whip] on [the dog called] Fenixx creates a false impression that dogs are being injured. While the video is disturbing for many to watch, what needs to be understood is that Fenixx at the time was attempting to chew through a leash, which would have allowed Fenixx to bite either Ms. Frey or her daughter. ”
In the video, two women can be seen each holding a leash and pulling in opposite directions while one woman, who Dreel identifies as his client, whips at the dog.
He says that Frey used a quirt to prevent the dog from biting through the leash, pointing out that the clip shows Fenixx’s owner and Frey using the quirt on themselves and “experiencing no pain.”
“While the quirt makes some noise, it is flexible and not painful. While I understand that many people feel, and some quite strongly, that the use of the quirt is not what they would do to correct a dog, the use of the quirt is not inhumane under the law. Fenixx was in no way injured, as is shown in the video,” Drell continues as he insists, “Tina Frey is innocent of any claim of animal cruelty.”
In the Sheriff’s Office’s statement, Sheriff Mark Wood saluted the community “for bearing with us while we conducted a complete and thorough investigation into these allegations.”
He went on to thank the Animal Control Section and detectives for gathering enough evidence to make an arrest.
“We always take these animal complaints seriously as we do all crimes, but we also have to investigate and make sure the alleged crime fits the law,” he said.
The arrests were met by praise from many animal and rescue organizations who have been sharing the video as a warning to dog owners to properly vet trainers before sending their dogs to training facilities.
Actress and animal advocate Kaley Cuoco wrote on her Instagram Friday, “Yes yes yes yes!!! Finally some justice!!!!!!! There is a special place in HELL for people who abuse animals.”