JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - A former employee at a Johns Creek dog grooming business is facing animal cruelty charges after police say he attacked a dog in his care.
Police say Marlon Williams had a duty to care for the dogs he was watching while working at Unleashed on State Bridge Road. But Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik obtained surveillance video, police says, shows Williams attacking one of the dogs – for seemingly no reason.
“Oh my God,” was Jessica MacPhee’s reaction to video of Williams kicking a dog inside the store.
“That’s awful. I’d kill somebody if they hit my dog like that,” she said.
“What he did violates the law. He abused this animal. There seems to be no provocation on the part of the animal to elicit the response from this guy," said Johns Creek police Lt. Chris Byers.
Another customer was also shocked by what he saw.
"Someone kicks a dog, someone should kick them," said Adam Rosovsky.
Rick Gimla is part owner of Unleashed. Gimla said he hired Williams a few weeks ago.
“He interviewed well, and we gave him a shot," Gimla said.
Gimla said some of the staff noticed Williams playing rough with some dogs and warned him to stop. Williams was fired after allegedly doing it again.
“I don't know if he had a bad day or what happened,” Gimla said.
Gimla said they didn't see the kick on video until after they fired Williams. That’s when they called police.
Gimla said he took Williams at his word and didn’t do a formal criminal background check.
Petchenik’s search on the Fulton County jail site found five arrests dating back to 2008 on charges including burglary, theft, robbery and battery. The Georgia Department of Corrections web site shows Williams served two stints in prison, and was most recently released on March 1.
Gimla told Petchenik he’ll look into formal background checks on new employees in the future.
“When we look at applicants, we try to do a thorough vetting and check references,” said Gimla. “But that’s certainly a practice we may have to take based on what happened.”
Meanwhile, Gimla said his company is “a thousand percent dedicated to making sure we take care of our dogs.”
Channel 2 Action News tried to reach Williams at the Roswell address listed on the arrest report, but no one answered the door.