NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Bill Patterson loves his dogs, but there’s one he misses desperately. “I think about how he had to suffer and there was no need for that. None whatsoever,” he said.
Patterson’s English bulldog named Sugar Bear died at a dog daycare in Roanoke. He got the bad news from his daughter. “They didn’t have the decency to call me, instead they called her,” Patterson recalled. “I went over there. They stuck him outside on the hottest part of the day. He had a heat stroke and died.”
Patterson isn’t the only North Texas to have such an experience. According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints about pet boarding and pet sitting businesses have more than doubled in the last few years.
“You have to be licensed to cut someone’s hair,” Dallas animal law attorney Yolanda Eisenstein compared. “You have to be licensed to do someone’s nails. These are all heavily regulated.”
Eisenstein says in the state of Texas your pet is considered property. “A lot of people say ‘Well, it’s just an animal. It’s not a child.’ But is it like a car? If you’ve got regulations on cars shouldn’t you have the same or at least the minimum on animals?” That has some in the industry even calling for regulation.
Chris Watts owns Petropolitan, a dog daycare in Dallas and is also on the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission. “At this point there’s no oversight by any groups or committees that tell us how we have to function or what we have to have in terms of requirements to exist,” he said. That means anyone can open up a pup palace, as long as they follow the city’s business, zoning code and leash laws.
“There does need to be some sort of licensing. It is not about if you know how to groom a schnauzer, but do you know CPR,” Watts said frustrated. “We need to have a higher standard for people caring for our animals.”
As for Patterson, he says he’ll never trust another facility. Or forget his special dog. “I do believe they go to heaven,” says Patterson. “There will always be a special place for Sugar Bear.”
Experts advise that you ask friends, neighbors and veterinarians for references when looking for a safe pet care facility. It’s also a good idea to make an unannounced visit to the daycare. If you’re not allowed access, take your pet someplace else.
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