Strictly Come Dancing presenter Bruce Forsyth had his reputation ‘completely sullied’ by a rogue dog trainer who used the star’s name to promote his business, a judge has said. Grant Chanin, 49, posted fake endorsements on his dog obedience company’s website from Mr Forsyth as well as comedian Bobby Davro and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher. But a court heard his techniques ‘beggared belief’ and he even broke the leg of a dog he was supposed to be training.
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:03 AM on 15th December 2010
Strictly Come Dancing presenter Bruce Forsyth had his reputation ‘completely sullied’ by a rogue dog trainer who used the star’s name to promote his business, a judge has said.
Grant Chanin, 49, posted fake endorsements on his dog obedience company’s website from Mr Forsyth as well as comedian Bobby Davro and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.
But a court heard his techniques ‘beggared belief’ and he even broke the leg of a dog he was supposed to be training.
Bogus claims: Grant Chanin and his girlfriend Laura Kahane yesterday
Chanin, actually a Heathrow Airport aircraft engineer who has no dog-training qualifications, took thousands of pounds from clients for 12 week obedience courseHe claimed he had been a judge at Crufts and told custumers that dogs he had been employed to walk were actually police dogs which were trained to kill.
During his obedience sessions he would use a ‘trapdoor’ technique – picking the dogs up off the ground by their collar and beat them around the face with a rolled up magazine.
On one occasion a dog was thrown across the room and landed on a coffee table.
The court heard that although some clients became suspicious ‘they accepted that if it was good enough for Bruce Forsyth then it was good enough for them’.
Clients accepted Chanin’s methods as he said he had trained dogs on Harry Potter movies and was endorsed by the police and the Kennel Club.
Sullied: Strictly Come Dancing star Bruce Forsyth was one of the star names who ‘endorsed’ Chanin’s dog training school
The fictitious endorsements on a website set up by Chanin’s girlfriend Laura Kahane read: ‘Bruce Forsyth: Dear Grant, thank you for training my red setters. Your methods are humane and the results are very quick. Excellent quality. My dogs and I will never forget you. Yours sincerely, Bruce Forsyth OBE. Bobby Davro: Laura and Grant, Fantastic! Rufus my german shepherd dog is great! He’s responding to all the commands that you taught me. Rufus is now a valued member of my family and I can’t wait for advanced training!
‘Liam Gallagher Hi Laura and Grant, just a quick note. My two rottys are now perfect security dogs. I appreciate all the time and effort both of you put into handling my dogs.
Prosecutor Edward Elton told the court that Chanin had no qualifications and some of his techniques ‘beggared belief’.He added that an official complaint was first made about his website in May 2009 after he claimed he was endorsed by the Kennel Club. He was ordered to take it down by Trading Standards officers because the Kennel Club does not endorse anyone,’ Mr Elton said. However a month later he had put up false endorsements from Liam Gallagher, Bruce Forsyth and Bobby Davro.
‘Mr Forsyth and Mr Davro have both been contacted since and were seriously unhappy about the endorsements being given.
Seriously unhappy: Chanin claimed that comic Bobby Davro (left) and singer Liam Gallagher (right) were thrilled with the training their dogs received. The court heard that Mr Forsyth did not have any red setters and Mr Davro did not own any dogs.
Explaining Chanin’s traiing methods, Mr Elton said:’On one occasion during his courses, in attempting to teach a puppy to kneel down, he laid on it with his full weight and snapped his femur.
‘He would also roll up a magazine and batter dogs around the face, using it as a cosh.
‘Many of the people questioned the techniques, but accepted that if it was good enough for Bruce Forsyth then it was good enough for them.
The fraud was exposed after one client – a former dog handler – became suspicious and contacted trading standards.
Chanin ran 12 week dog obedience courses which cost £1,000 but no client successfully completed them. The clients would pass the first two sections but all would fail the third because he had no qualification to give them.
The court heard Chanin’s girlfriend Kahane, 21, had set up his website.
Animal behaviourist student Kahane had used letters from her college to tell clients they had failed a dog training course.
Andrew Wagstaff, defending Chanin, said: ‘It would be fair to say Mr Chanin is something of a Walter Mitty character. He had a real ambition to establish some kind of dog obedience school, but got carried away by fantasy. For example he told one client that dogs could detect the sex of an unborn child through their scent, and that he had trained dogs for the Harry Potter films.
‘He made the claims more and more grandiose and this was a man who got carried away with his own fantasy.
‘He would like to apologise to Mr Forsyth, Mr Davro, the Kennel Club and the police.’
Christopher Prior, defending Kahane, said: ‘She believed everything that Chanin told her and her behaviour was more an embellishment of the truth.
‘People wish to see the best in their partners, but of course it’s not right that animals were harmed as a result.’
Chanin, of Church Crookham, Hants, admitted nine counts of unfair commercial practices and received a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay back £3,600 to his victims.
Judge Keith Cutler, CBE, told him: ‘This problem could have all been sorted out after the Kennel Club had first complained.
‘That was your opportunity to come back down to earth, but you chose to make more and more wild claims.
‘Many members of the public trusted you and you let them down completely.
‘Some of these stories are very upsetting and it’s disgraceful that you disregarded their animals’ welfare.
‘Bobby Davro and Bruce Forsyth have had their names completely sullied. They find themselves associated with an organisation that is unprofessional.
‘From his witness statement Mr Forsyth was distressed to have been a part of this.’
Kahane, also of Church Crookham, admitted four counts of unfair commercial practices at Winchester Crown Court.
She was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £960 to the victims.
The judge told her: ‘You may have started off as a victim, but it soon became obvious that these were lies and you could have blown the whistle at any time.’
Updated: 09/03/2010 06:27