Did This Kennel Kill a Woman’s Dog?

It’s a challenge trusting someone else to take care of your dog. So imagine what Kayla Roman must have felt when she found out her dog died while in the care of Axiom Pet Resort.

Roman’s dog Hugo was only one year old when he was found dead on the side of the road on May 23rd. He was 12 miles from the kennel where he was staying.

Though Axiom has claimed full responsibility for the death of Hugo, Roman feels she isn’t getting the full story from them. She told WTOP that they, “killed my family member. … They honestly took away my baby.”

As Axiom explains it, Hugo escaped from an outdoor area of the kennel on the evening of May 22nd. According the Axiom, it was against their protocol to leave Hugo in the outdoor area unattended instead of taking him inside. The employee who broke this rule has been fired.

An investigation was done at Axiom Pet Resort following the unfortunate incident. Prince George’s County Animal Management Division, who performed the investigation, concluded that the death was indeed due to human error.

But any dog owner would still feel deeply hurt, and Roman isn’t sure she believes the whole story. A necropsy is being performed and Roman is waiting on the results to decide whether or not she will take legal action against Axiom Pet Resort. She feels she isn’t getting the full story from them.

What can a dog owner do to prevent these situations? In the case of human error, sometimes there isn’t much that can be done. But dog owners can take precautions when choosing a kennel, daycare, or boarding facility for their dog.

  • Ask About Supervision. Talk to the staff and owner of the facility about their supervision policy. Do they have specific rules and guidelines for the staff? How many staff members are watching the dogs at all times? Are the rules different in different parts of the daycare? Ask these questions to get a feel for when and how your dog will be supervised.
  • Take a Tour. Some daycares and boarding facilities will allow you to take a tour of the facilities. If a tour is unavailable, ask if you can observe the space before bringing your dog in. In indoor and outdoor play spaces, check that there are no escape routes your dog could slip through. Are there large, open windows? Is the fence secure, with no holes? Does the space seem big enough for dogs to play comfortably in? Get a feel for what your dog will be experiencing.
  • Notice the Toys. A lot of daycares and boarding facilities will have large play structures that dogs can climb and play on. Pay attention to these structures. Do they look sturdy? Are there any loose parts that seem dangerous? Remember that scratches and bruises happen on the playground – just like human children. But pay attention to anything that could cause serious injury.
  • Schedule an Evaluation. Any reputable daycare or kennel will require that your dog be evaluated before attending. This is to ensure that your dog is happy and comfortable in the facility, gets along with the other dogs, and doesn’t feel anxious when away from home. After your dog’s evaluation, ask lots of questions. Did your dog play a lot? If not, were they happily relaxing? How does your dog interact with the others? Did your dog exhibit any specific behaviors like barking a lot or pacing the room? A high quality kennel will be able to give you specific and constructive answers.

There are plenty of wonderful daycares and kennels available for dog owners. Do your research to find the one that works best for you and your dog!

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