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Sunday, November 16, 2014

22 Dogs Die In Arizona Boarding Facility—Owners Indicted

Grieving owners with pictures of their dogs who died at Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert, Arizona.

This New York Times article published just a few days ago, tells an almost unbelievable story—until you know the details. Then the "stunning allegations of neglect" make it clear that the people who boarded their dogs at Green Acre were betrayed. As one grieving pet owner stated:  They struggle with feelings of betrayal, "believing they had taken their beloved pets to a 'doggy Disneyland' only to be locked in a stifling and claustrophobic space. It looked perfect from the outside, but we were deceived from the moment we dropped our dogs off."

The upside of this nightmarish story, if there can be one, is the victims "didn't let this stop" according to the county sheriff. They forced an investigation, even though the couple in charge at the time the dogs died included the 21 year old son of one of Arizona's U.S. Senators, Jeff Flake. The town has held vigils drawing hundreds of mourners, and the two couples: the two owners (who were out-of town at the time of the deaths) and their daughter and her husband (Austin Flake, the Senator's son), have been indicted on multiple felonies relating to animal cruelty.

We thought this story was worth sharing, not for its shock value, but for its educational value. Parental Unit has never boarded me anywhere, and never intends to. Call her paranoid, but she's too afraid of me either escaping or something else terrible happening, like it did in this small town just outside of Phoenix. She's read of fires sweeping through kennels and boarding facilities during the night when no one was staffing the facility, and would worry herself sick over every other possible calamity. Call her a bit crazy, too.

But if you choose to leave your pet in a boarding facility, whether for a day of "doggy day care" or a week or more while you're on vacation, we recommend doing your due diligence—don't just take the staffs' word for things. Know exactly where your dog will sleep, rest and play. Visit the facility several times before you leave your dog there, including at least one unannounced visit. Ask if you can call regularly and have a "pet cam" streamed to your phone so you can see your dog while you're gone. And get references and recommendations from people you know and trust. What could be more important that ensuring a beloved family member will be safe, healthy and happy while you're away?

Let us know if you've ever boarded your dog or cat while away, and what you did to investigate the facility before dropping off your pet. 


Duke said...

How horrifically sad. Our hearts are breaking for the pups and for their owners.

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

Two French Bulldogs said...

We saw this on the news that mom started with her HBO words
Lily & Edward

Sheltie Times said...

We've had situations where we've had no choice but to board. The dogs couldn't stay here and we were not able to be home. We had an awesome "family" daycare/overnight situation on a farm that was amazing. I can't say enough about how wonderufl the care was there.

We've also boarded at the Vets during an emergency and it was hard on both dogs, but it had to be the vets because they were both contagious. Not ideal, but they survived.

Since the farm has closed, I've been very paranoid about boarding. The farm came with amazing personal references from people we trusted. Now we have to move outside our comfort zone to find some place. We are fortunate that most times we can find someone who can care for them here. However, we do have situations where that won't always be the case and finding reliable care is important.

Bocci said...

Thanks for sharing that info, Bailey. We realize that sometimes, you just can't avoid boarding- in fact, Parental Unit boarded my predecessor, Carson, several times. He survived, but always got stomach upsets. She thinks I'm not as "emotionally strong" as Carson, and she has become less trusting as she's gotten older-:).

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