12 May 2017

SPCA investigating death at doggy daycare

From Checkpoint, 5:28 pm on 12 May 2017

The SPCA is investigating after a dog was found dead in a pond at a doggy daycare centre in Auckland.

Mike and Bridget, who only want to use their first names, said Wilson - a Huntaway-Doberman cross - had been staying at the centre a few times a week for the past year.

In a statement, they said Mike had gone to collect Wilson at 6pm on Tuesday, only to find the 17-month-old dog's floating in a pond.

The couple said a staff member had told them they had last seen Wilson at 1pm - five hours before he was found dead.

"He was covered in bite wounds and puncture marks. The sheer number of different bite marks suggests to us multiple dogs and a prolonged attack. Wilson suffered a horrible, lonely death," they said.

"We are absolutely devastated. We are doing everything we can to ascertain exactly what happened, and want to ensure that no other animal entrusted to a daycare facility has to endure what Wilson did."

The Auckland centre has been closed while the SPCA investigates.

Calls to regulate doggy daycares

The founder of animal rescue and protection charity HUHA, Carolyn Press-McKenzie, said doggy daycares and similar facilities were popping up all over the place as it was becoming more common for people to seek care for their animals while at work or on holiday.

Ms McKenzie, also a senior surgical vet nurse, said dogs needing treatment from attacks at care facilities were also becoming more common.

She said she wanted a requirement for the centres to be audited and for the owners to be qualified.

"It's a new-ish industry, the doggy daycare industry, and actually to be fair animal rescue in general as well. People are popping up and saying, 'This sounds lovely, I get to play with animals all day, I want to do it.' They pull together a facility and away they go."

Auckland SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen also called for regulation, saying she would like to see the Temporary Housing Code of Welfare to be reviewed.  

"It would set good standards, so think about it like a child daycare, you know - they have to have qualified teachers, they have to have certain ratios of children to adults, they have to have the right health and safety systems in place - so it's those sorts of things.

"Otherwise it just becomes a money-making scheme and people just take on as many dogs as they can fit in a property," Ms Midgen said.


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