A trainer is being investigated over claims he supplied "assistance dogs" to help children with autism, disabilities and other conditions but had not trained the animals properly.
Andre Matos ran Autism Support Dogs UK from Tredegar and then Merthyr Tydfil. The 42-year-old, originally from Portugal, denies 11 complaints made against him. He left the UK last July and an arrest warrant has been issued at the request of trading standards.
An assistance dog can help comfort an autistic child or adult suffering a "meltdown", provide company and reassurance, prevent a child running away, help reduce anxiety levels or assist with everyday tasks.
Demand for assistance dogs is growing and charities that provide them for free often have long waiting lists. Experts say regulation is needed to prevent desperate families falling prey to rogue trainers.