As a pet sitting business owner for over 12 years, and seeing a lot of businesses come and go, I have learned a lot and I hope to offer you 6 lessons to really consider this summer for all pet parents.
To me, there were so many things wrong with this business and I use the word “business” lightly. It was even published that they did it for friends and family for a very long time and only a year ago started doing it for the public. Unfortunately, this happens all too much in the pet care industry. Some, get greedy with the money and don’t stop and think of the responsibility that comes with owning and operating a pet care company.
This is in no way to bash anyone. Not pet sitters, kennels, pet parents, or the State. But there are certain obvious problems that I just can’t wrap my head around. I hope that this helps educate the public on what to really look for, what is important, and more importantly what isn’t important.
My heart goes out to the pet owners who trusted Green Acres with their pets. I know more than anyone that your pet IS your child. After all, if you look up at the top of this website, you will see Rocco, my fur kid. It is why I started my company, so we could take care of your kids in the comfort of their own home. My heart also goes out to the owners of this facility. I do not believe that they meant for any of this to happen. I think they made a tragic mistake in thinking they knew business and then it snowballed when they didn’t handle it all the correct way. I believe that they just saw a way to make money, not understanding the exponential amount of responsibility that comes with caring for living animals. It isn’t as easy as everyone thinks it is. It is a very real responsibility.
- You should ALWAYS know the facility in which your pets will be staying. A tour of the facility including areas where the pets sleep, eat, play, and hangout. If anyone is unwilling to let you see the facility, leave. This tour is important to use all your senses. SEE the cleanliness and the restraints from preventing the dogs from getting loose. Are there bugs? Sticky floors? SMELL the oder. LISTEN to the noise. It is common for the dogs to be barking when you walk through, but what about before you did? Your overall FEELING? If it is no kennel, how do they ensure that the other pets coming in are not sick? How are they trained to know their temperament? There is SO MUCH!!! I could go on and on….
- There needs to be stricter laws for kennels and boarding in our cities and counties. There has been SUCH A HUGE rise in all these “hobby sitters” or “hobby kennels” starting up…. (a lot of them) do not have the proper insurance, facilities, care, or arrangement to properly and healthfully care for these pets. For example, every facility should have TWO barriers to the “outside” In all the picture I have seen of Green Acres, there is a 5 foot chain linked fence. That was it. Any dog could jump that. Also, a 10 X 10 area for 20 dogs is not safe. How much insurance should a facility be required to carry? Should this insurance only be for the business liability or also for the structure of the home/facility as well? What about for the workers? What would happen if your dog bit one of the workers? Saying you have “insurance” is way to vague. The business owner and the pet owner needs to know what that protection means exactly.
- Will this finally lead to legislation for kennels in our State? That is what will change things. How did the dogs even get to the AC wires? Why weren’t they all in a kennel? What would have happened if they all got in a dog fight? No one was checking on them all night long. No surveillance or emergency alarms. These are basic necessities that all kennels should have as a STANDARD. But when they are not regulated by the state… anyone can do anything they want. This company appears to have a Vistaprint website. That is the cheapest thing a business can do and just shows that they aren’t serious about their business. The only thing I have seen in Arizona is that you need to obtain a kennel license for $75. If you don’t, you can be fined $25.Source: http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stusazst11_1014.htm SS11-109 If I have missed anything here, I would welcome the redirect to more accurate or robust information in the comment section of this blog.
- The best thing any pet parent can do is arm themselves with information. I heard that one of the pet parents did a background check on one of the owners. That is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t mean ANYTHING It is exactly why I wrote a blog a while back about what do references really mean? The things that matter (IMO) are public recognition. Communities leaders vouching for the business. Their involvement in the community. Basically, their REPUTATION.
- Cheapest isn’t always the best. Dropping a dog off at someone’s residential house may sound like a cost effective way to obtain pet care, but is it really? That is why the popular popping up of all these care.com and rover.com and dogvacay.com really scare me. They give non business owners a chance to make a quick buck while giving the pet parent the false sense of security about their pets.
- This isn’t the last time this is going to happen. I hate to say this, but it is the truth. It doesn’t just happen in kennels, it happens with pet sitters too. Check out this story from a few years ago where this pet sitter killed pets in her care. I believe the only way we have to combat this terrible tragedy is to 1 – EDUCATE pet parents on what facilities are safe. I try to do this constantly with our blog with over 300 articles on everything under the sun. 2 – LOBBY for proper legislation for kennels in the State of Az so that any Joe Shmoe can’t open one up.
If I didn’t own a professional pet sitting company, here are the things I would do if I was looking for a kennel for my beloved Rocco.
- Do a tour (unexpected) of the facility.
- Take mental note of the smell, sound and feeling of the facility.
- See the barriers they have in place to avoid the pets from escaping.
- Look at the enclosures the pets are contained in.
- Find out the limit of pets they will have in their facility.
- Make them prove they are registered with the city/state.
- See a proof of their insurance.
- If “kennel free” I would investigate the magnitude of the staff and how they are trained at dog behavior including temperament tests.
- Google the business’ name to see if anything came up.
- Check them out on social media to see how social responsible they area. This gives you an idea of how much of a “business” they are and not a hobby (In my opinion)
- I would ask your vet what they know about them and if they would ever bring their own pets there.
- I would ask my friends on social media who they recommend.
This all being said, if you are in the Scottsdale area the only kennel I would ever recommend and bring my own “fur kid” to is Hillside Unleashed. They are an exemplary facility that every kennel should model after! Our hearts, prayers, and thoughts go out to all of those effected by the is tragedy. No doubt about it, your pets will be there waiting for you on the other side of Rainbow Bridge