Ten days ago we published a blog exposing widespread alleged abuse of dogs at Falco K9 in South Boston, a business owned by Burlington Firefighter Tyler Falconer, the husband of WCVB reporter Katie Thompson Falconer.
As a direct result of our reporting the business voluntarily shut down 3 days later and an investigation was launched by the ARL. Then yesterday more news came from BFD that Falconer was placed on leave pending an investigation.
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.”
At no point in this story written by former NPR reporter Sydney Boles did she make reference to our reporting on Falco K9, which is the only reason this is happening to Tyler Falco. Boles only said that this happened as a result of “news reporting.”
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.
Except no other media outlet reported on this at all. The Boston Globe knew about it and chose not to. Katie Falconer used her influence as a reporter at WCVB to suppress the story. Yesterday WCVB ironically reported on two people of no significance abusing their 14 cats in Manchester, but they chose not report on much more serious and documented abuse of dogs by a well respected public servant in Boston. WCVB will report on animal abuse, just not when one of their star reporters is actively involved in covering it up by harassing businesses that employ whistle blowers.
Boles later went on to interview Jessica Cassidy and Margie Ruggieri about their horrible experiences with Falco K9. Cassidy has done extensive work uniting people whose dogs were mistreated or abused, and has done a great job reporting about this on social media. Both her and Margie were invaluable sources for our story.
But Boles only knew who these people were because they were both included in our story. When Boles Margie first reached out to Margie her primary concern wasn’t even what had happened at Falco K9. Instead she wanted to see if Margie had any concerns over how I represented her experience in the story.
Why would she assume Margie has concerns with the way she was represented in the story? Why would that be the first question a reporter would ask? She didn’t even bother asking how her dog was doing because she already knew Gulliver was improving because she read our story first. Her pointed question made her intentions obvious – her only interest in this story was to discredit our reporting. Boles clearly read our investigative story, since she referenced it in her message, and would have no idea who Margie was without reading it. Unlike Sydney, I go out and find stories on my own. I don’t wait for award winning journalists to investigate for me, and then try to write a story discrediting them.
Luckily Margie defended the Turtleboy Wall.
Thank you Margie!
Sydney blatantly stole our work and did not report on a single thing that we had not already reported on. She used the same sources I did, but unlike me she was not able to get a quote from Tyler Falconer. She has no connections to the area and is using this job as a building block for her resume.
I loved being on @WBUR @RadioBoston today talking with host @tiziana_dearing about writing books for young people and how my different identities as an Indian-American, woman, mother, and doctor influence my writing. Listen here: https://t.co/anZI4LuBZ7 pic.twitter.com/YBTKd9g5Da
— 📚🧁🔅 Rajani LaRocca 💗⚾️🧬 (@rajanilarocca) August 2, 2022
We have also spoken with Ryan Connor, one of the victims featured in our story who said that they were contacted by law enforcement:
“The Mass State Police just reached out and spoke with my wife. hey are doing a full investigation and looking to charge with animal cruelty.”
I am elated to hear that law enforcement is taking this seriously and that BFD is investigating Tyler Falconer. However, what his wife Katie did was equally egregious, and has far greater ramifications. If Tyler did what was alleged then he is just another person in a long line of animal abusers who should be held accountable. But Kate Thompson Falconer made it impossible for people to trust an entire institution (the media) that we count on to tell us the truth. She used her influence as a reporter to silence Margie and former employees who cooperated with investigators. She made sure that this story was never reported. No reporting from WCVB can ever be considered credible as long as she is employed there.
Sydney Boles can be reached at [email protected]. Please be respectful and courteous if you do reach out and share your thoughts on her reporting.