K’lah, a 4-year-old Biewer Terrier, was attacked Jan. 30 by a dog that weighed nearly 90 pounds more than she did.
Jim Dwyer said he dropped his dog off at Peter Pam’s Sitting and Boarding in Bradenton while he and his wife, Linda, went on a cruise. Dwyer said he found the company online through the website Dogvacay.com. The reviews and initial meeting with Dwyer checked out. He said he was assured by the business owner, Pamela Morgan, that the smaller dogs would be kept separate from larger dogs.
“Why would you put them together? It would be like putting a bloody piece of meat in with a shark,” Dwyer said. “Again, 90 pounds versus six.”
Morgan answered her door late Tuesday night and answered ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska’s questions about the attack.
“Why were the dog’s together?” Paluska asked.
“The owner said, also, I would not mix small dogs and large dogs, that is not true,” Morgan said. “I have always mixed large dogs and small dogs, and when they dropped K'lah off there was a pit bull at the door and they never said one word about it.”
According to Manatee County Code Enforcement the business is in violation of zoning laws. Dog boarding facilities are not zoned for residential areas. County officials said they plan to cite Morgan and tell her she must stop operating the business out of her home. If she declines, John Barnott, the director of building and development services, said Morgan could face strict fines and her case would be escalated to a special magistrate court.
Morgan told us she is not operating a business. She said her clients are booked through Dogvacay and Rover and is not violating any ordinances.
“There is no shutting down. I don't have a business,” Morgan said.
Dwyer said pet owners should be extra cautious about finding a dog boarder online. Despite high reviews through the website, Dwyer had no idea that her business, according to code enforcement, was in violation of zoning laws.
“The fact that she was doing this against code enforcement makes me cringe to what other falsities we were dealing with under Pam,” Dwyer said. "You put trust in people. We made a mistake.”