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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Couple sues Newport News kennel, owner for $25K in dog’s death

Fenway, a 10-month-old Australian shepherd, died after his owners claim he was injured at a local boarding service. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Jessica Fox)
Fenway, a 10-month-old Australian shepherd, died after his owners claim he was injured at a local boarding service. (HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of Jessica Fox)

The owners of a 10-month-old Australian shepherd that died August 2017 after a weekend stay at a Newport News kennel are suing the business for $25,000.

Fenway, the dog, suffered injuries while in the care of Coastal Dog Services Inc., according to a civil lawsuit filed by the dog’s owners, Jason and Jessica Fox.

The lawsuit is against the kennel and its owner Rick Tvelia.

The case is set to be heard at 9 a.m. June 12 in Newport News General District Court.

So excited that we finally got a trial date in our civil trial for our beloved Fenway,” Jason Fox wrote May 29 on Facebook. “We aren’t even close to being done yet, the fight continues.”

The civil lawsuit was filed May 14, less than four months after four criminal charges were dismissed against Tvelia on Jan. 31.

The criminal charges stemmed from the death of two dogs last summer: Fenway, and a chocolate lab named Bruce.

During a trial on Jan. 31, a district court judge dismissed charges of animal cruelty and a boarding establishment failing to meet the adequate care requirements, both of which stemmed from the death of Bruce.

During the same hearing, prosecutors also dropped two other charges of the same nature against Tvelia, which stemmed from Fenway’s death, according to court papers.

Jason and Jessica Fox dropped the dog off for a weekend stay at Coastal Dog Services, at 12618 Warwick Blvd. in Newport News on Aug. 26.

About 24 hours after the dog was taken there, an employee called the couple and said Fenway had been injured.

Fenway died days later.

Tvelia said the dog’s collar had gotten stuck on a fence and, in a panic, the dog injured itself. But Jason Fox said he believed Fenway had been attacked by another dog.

Tvelia has previously called the Foxes’ allegations about Fenway’s injuries false.

After Fenway’s death, other animal owners came forward with concerns about Tvelia’s kennel services, including a Northern Virginia resident whose dog was fatally attacked in the facility’s yard in 2011. Protesters marched outside of the business several times last fall, calling for justice for the animals who have died.

HNNDaily reporter Troy Jefferson contributed reporting.

This story was published in partnership with HNNDaily’s sister publication, WYDaily. 

Fearing can be reached at

Editor’s note: Jason Fox is a former employee of HNNDaily’s parent company, Local Voice Media.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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