BRANDON, Fla. — For dog owners, a return to in-person work may involve a search for doggie daycare. But, those daycares come with risk. A pet owner whose dog was injured at a facility shared her story with ABC Action News' Jackie Callaway.
Months after suffering a serious injury at Brandon Puppy Palace, Cali, a chocolate lab, was still limping and wearing an orthotic brace on her hind leg.
Cali’s owner Lisa Wysong said she dropped her pup off at the facility the morning of Apr. 8, as she had many times over the last couple of years.
“I would always take her there once or twice a month so she could swim in her pool,” Lisa said.
An hour after watching a live camera feed of Cali swimming, Lisa said the Brandon Puppy Palace called to say Cali was hurt and needed to be picked up right away.
Veterinary records indicate the two-year-old dog suffered a laceration and possible tendon rupture that required surgery. By May, charges for vet care, surgery, and orthotic devices placed on the injured back leg topped $8,700.
Lisa said the owner of the Brandon Puppy Palace sent her an email May 18th about the situation. The email stated: "We are sorry this happened, but our contract specifies we are not responsible for veterinary bills related to injuries at our facility."
The contract the owner signed states, "I assume and accept responsibility for the injury to my dog....I agree BPP will not be held responsible for any injuries..." Lisa said the facility did send a refund check for unused daycare.
Becky Laplant, a former doggie daycare manager, has never worked at the Brandon Puppy Palace. She warned all pet owners they may be on the hook for vet bills no matter who is at fault if their pup gets hurt.
“They should read what they are getting into by leaving their dogs at these facilities,” Laplant said.
So how did Cali get hurt? The Brandon Puppy Palace owner, George Conda, did not return several calls and emails. ABC Action News' Callaway stopped by the business in June. A manager told Jackie she could not comment but did say Cali got hurt as she and other dogs ran through an open gate.
Laplant suggested owners tour the entire facility before dropping their pets off at any boarding business. The state does not regulate doggie daycares and neither does Hillsborough county. So it is up to pet owners to check out the facility. Next Lisa Wysong said she's headed to arbitration with the Brandon Puppy Palace, costing her another $1,700 dollars out of pocket.