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Burlington Places Firefighter On Leave After Animal Mistreatment Allegations

The Town of Burlington and the Burlington Fire Department have placed firefighter Tyler Falconer on administrative leave following news reporting and customer complaints against Falconer’s South Boston dog boarding and training business, Falco K9. 

A statement from Burlington Fire Chief Andrew Connerty to BNEWS reads in full: 

“The Town is aware of media reports of customer complaints against the Boston dog care/training business of Burlington Firefighter Tyler Falconer as well as reported separate allegations that Falconer engaged in misconduct in a personal relationship. The Town understands that the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL)—an agency that is responsible for regulating his business operations—is investigating the customer complaints. 

“The Town will be in contact with the ARL and will monitor its response before determining how to proceed. The Town will be independently investigating the other allegations. Firefighter Falconer has been put on administrative leave pending the results of the Town’s investigation into those allegations.”

In an interview with BNEWS, former Falco K9 customer Jessica Cassidy said Falco K9 staff didn’t seem to know which dog was hers, and brought back her golden retriever, Desmond, in a choke collar, despite the dog being goofy, loveable and sweet. 

Cassidy began to notice Desmond hated getting into the pick-up van that drove him to Falco K9. “I thought maybe it was because at that time he really didn’t love being in the car and that was stressful, but it became a little bit more extreme. He’d go under the couch and stuff. He really didn’t want to go there.” 

Cassidy went online and found other Falco K9 customers with similar and worse experiences. Many are now sharing stories on a Facebook group, The Truth Behind Falco K9. 

“Firefighters are among the group of professionals that are supposed to help and not hurt,” Cassidy said. “He’s in a profession where he’s expected to help people and not hurt people, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.” 

In a Facebook post shared with BNEWS, another Falco K9 customer, Marjorie Ruggieri, said her 5-month-old puppy Gulliver lost 12 pounds over about two weeks in Falco K9’s care, coming home “filthy dirty…dehydrated..he had open sores on his body.” 

335035091 1182815662370313 9028143461189432910 nFalconer was also reportedly the subject of a 2020 lawsuit by an ex-girlfriend, who accused him of videotaping them having sex without her consent and distributing the video to multiple Burlington firefighters. That lawsuit was reportedly settled in 2022. 

BNEWS reached out to Falconer for comment and was informed that the Town of Burlington has asked him not to speak to the media while investigations are ongoing.

Since the allegations emerged, a post on Falco K9’s Facebook page indicated the business would shut its doors. 

The post read, “At Falco K9 we are committed to ensuring the proper care and training of every dog. These allegations are appalling, however any claims of neglect and abuse are simply not true. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude and thanks to our loyal clients and staff Unfortunately due to the negative attention this has caused we will be shutting our doors.”