Taking your pet's safety into your own hands

The latest case of a pet being hurt while being boarded at a kennel shines a light on safety concerns.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In the past few months we've seen several concerning cases where people drop their pet off to board and the pet ends up hurt or dead.

One woman says it happened when she dropped off her dog at Lucky Dog Day Care in Tampa in May.

“It has to stop," said pet owner Sylvie Feinsmith. "No more. No other dog should have to suffer the same fate as Vashdi. No other family should have to go through what I've had to go through."

She didn't know if the love of her life - her rescue dog Vashdi - would ever walk again.

Surveillance video shows Vashdi was injured at Lucky Dog.

“I am so damn lucky that she's here,” Feinsmith said. “You see her fall. And you see her start wincing and yelping in pain and unable to move her back leg,” she said.

Feinsmith says the staff at Lucky Dog in Tampa didn't use proper protocol, that they are at fault.

Now she's stuck with a nearly $10,000 bill for saving her dog's life.

Lucky Dog is under investigation by the county.

So who -- if anyone-- is checking to make sure the people and places you trust with your pet, are safe?

10News found something shocking.

In Hillsborough County - they've stopped inspecting, or even issuing permits, to dog care facilities.

This isn't a recent thing either. It's been that way since 2008.

The county says it's because of "staff reductions and budget cutbacks."

That means the people caring for your pet are largely unregulated.

So what can you do to make sure the place that you send your pet is safe? There are three big things.

Is it clean?

“You don't want to go to a place where somebody's burning something to get rid of a smell or has a plug in trying to cover up a smell,” said Happy Camper Doggy Daycamp owner Mary Beth Albright. “You want to smell what a place smells like. That tells a lot of things.”

Specifically whether there's a problem with open urine or feces.

Is the facility safe?

“Are they double gated? We actually have a fence under our fence for diggers,” Albright said. “We accompany every dog outside so they're never alone outside.”

Ask for training, certification, and how they communicate.

Albright says what it really comes down to is the staff. 

“The biggest thing is the quality of care is going to be based on the staff that spends time with your dog. When it leaves, you're going to know,” Albright said.

Both Feinsmith and Albright agree. The current local and state regulations in place to protect your pets just aren't enough.

In fact Albright says inspectors aren't looking for much.

“And what they're looking for is kind of oblivious to our industry ... do the dogs have water, is the place clean in terms of feces and urine ... that's really about it,” she said.

Lucky Dog says they've offered to pay Vashdi's medical bills. Her owner says she has the documentation to show they've never said that explicitly to her.

Pinellas County -- unlike Hillsborough -- is still issuing permits and should be inspecting dog boarding facilities once per year.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment