Said It Before, Say It Again
The letter below was written to you in January of 2008, and was never published. It was sent again a few months later when another incident arose with a local family who sent their dog to “Bark and Play,“ but was still not published. This is the third time I am sending this to you because I feel that there is a huge importance in the message that I have to share. We may have saved some of Rockaway’s families and animals from devastation and hurt if we could have shared this the first time around. Now that it has been publically uncovered that Bark and Play has committed unthinkable cruelty towards our helpless animals, PLEASE share my situation with the families of Rockaway so we can prevent anyone from being hurt again.
Letter sent January, 2008.
I am writing this letter to tell of my terrible experience that happened right here in Rockaway. I feel that the welfare of animals attending “Bark and Play” is being compromised and I need to share my story with other pet owners. Something this serious could not be left unsaid. My information is factual, and I ask of you to know that my intentions are to protect pets and their owners from the nightmare I have been through.
I am a local resident who has sent my dog to “Bark and Play.” This business is run by another Rockaway resident to “care for” your animals. Of course, with only the best intentions for my pet, I trusted Jeremy to pick up my dog three days a week. I intended for her to get the proper exercise, at the same time as learning to socialize with other animals. To my surprise, over time, my dog became hesitant to go with the owner. She had come home with cuts and bruises on her fur, and I assumed that she was getting them from the other dogs when playing, but I was surprised to find out different. She had become very distant and anxious around the house, and all of a sudden was terrified by the sound of rattling things. Especially the sight and sound of a dog cage.
There were instances that surprise me and make me curious, but I have great faith in people and didn’t listen to my gut. I have had her since she was born, and Jeremy was the only other person that she was ever left alone with. All fingers are pointed in one direction when she shows extreme fear towards things that should be otherwise insignificant. One evening I was carrying a folding table and she ran to the other side of the room and began to shiver. The same happened when my husband was moving a ladder from one room to another. She even puts her head down very low and flinches in fear when you raise your hand to throw a ball. It was not long before I was able to piece the puzzle together.
Soon after I was confronted by one of Jeremy’s workers who came to me in confidence explaining that I should take my dog out of Bark and Play because he was not only being mistreated, but hit and beaten. I was warned that the amount of violence the owner used towards the dogs as “discipline” was so extreme that employees of his have quit because of the unnecessary violence. I learned of occasions that dogs were picked up off of all four legs and thrown against a wall. Some were beaten with broomsticks, and hit and kicked with incredible force.
As the business grew, others were hired to pick up and care for the dogs in groups of 10 or more at a time. The credentials for employment did not include the need to have any kind of license or training in dog handling. What if any of the dogs were to get into a fight or were possibly hurt while in their care? None of the dogs owners ever had to show paperwork proving that their pet was up to date with shots or free of sickness and disease before being allowed to join the group. Imagine your pet getting a serious illness from another dog while in their care. These may not be things that you initially think about when trusting your pet to a business, but you can not believe that Bark and Play has your pet’s best interest in mind when making neglectful choices like this. It is irresponsible on their behalf, and unfortunate on ours.
It takes an animal to ignore the yelping and crying of a dog as it is beaten. It angers me and disgusts me that people continue to send their dogs to Bark and Play, and that there are at least a few people that know of what is going on and never say a word to the families of these precious animals. I am hurt that I have even trusted someone to care for my dog,
Letters and in return have been so betrayed. I plead with you; please know what is happening to your pets when they are not with you. Pop up unexpectedly, ask questions, and be intuitive. I wish I could have prevented this terrible treatment of my own dog, but I beg of you to be absolutely sure of the safety and welfare of your pet when under someone else’s care.