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Local family fights for change after mauling at dog daycare

EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A local woman said her dog was badly mauled at a local dog daycare prompting her to demand more oversight into pet daycares.

She told her story exclusively to Western Mass News

“He’s...he’s such a sweet dog, and all summer we were together every second of the day,” said Isabel Baxter-Paris, owner of puppy Ollie.

A family left with their 7-month old labradoodle puppy in shreds.

“He has just wounds all over his body that are infected,” said Amy Baxter, Ollie’s other owner.

It was not what Amy Baxter and her daughter Isabel expected when they dropped Ollie off at Pampered Pets Doggy Daycare and Spa earlier this month.

Baxter said she got an alarming text from the East Longmeadow facility -- Ollie was injured in a dog fight.

“When I got there, he was on a bench, he was laying on a bench crying,” Baxter said.

Baxter says ollie needed round-the-clock care and surgery.

Now she wants more answers on why her dog was injured so badly.

“My issue is why did it happen, and once it started, why weren’t there protocols in place to stop a dog fight? This is a doggy daycare,” she said.

The advocacy director of MSPCA said there are no state regulations that govern how dog daycares operate in Massachusetts.

“Insurance, physical space, training of staff, dog handling,” said Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy at MSPCA. “They should have a kennel license with the city or town but that’s all that is required.”

Western Mass News did some digging with the town of East Longmeadow, and it turns out Pampered Pets didn’t even have that bare minimum of a kennel license.

The clerk’s office provided Western Mass News with a copy of Pampered Pet’s business license, but Town Manager Mary McNally said in a statement:

“The business owner did not apply for a kennel license, only a business certificate.”

In response to further questions, McNally went on to say, “The business has been advised to apply for a kennel license not later than October 19, 2020. Fines will be imposed prospectively if the kennel license is not secured by October 20, 2020."

“It’s really sort of a free-for-all market,” said Sen. Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth).

When it comes to the loose safety standards of dog daycares, O’Connor knows them well. He’s introduced a bill that would impose staff ratios and other protections for dogs.

“We live in a day and age where we have regulations everywhere whether they’re good or bad. But in the space, we’ve been very slow to update the regulations that are necessary,” he said.

“I don’t know what I’d do without him,” Baxter-Paris said.

As for Ollie, his family said he is recovering from surgery. They want to see their playful puppy back to his normal self.

“There were glimpses that he is still that dog but we don’t know,” Baxter said.

Until stricter laws are passed—they also want to sound the alarm—-that “care” isn’t always implied when bringing a pet to a dog daycare.

“I hope that people will understand they’re sending their pets to these places at their peril,” Baxter said.

Western Mass News reached out to the owner of Pampered Pets dog daycare for a response.

Baxter said she learned Monday many of her vet expenses will be covered by Pampered Pet's insurance policy. Still, she said her focus is getting the laws changed and made more secure.




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