Midstate pet owner left thousands of vet bills after dog stayed in kennel


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gunnar is a 10-year-old golden retriever. When his family went on vacation, they took him to a kennel in Dauphin County. He stayed there for 10 days.

“He came in very fiery, very happy, but when he came out he was completely the opposite,” said Lindsey Warfield. “He’s definitely lost his mind. He wasn’t even really answering our calls for him.

They took Gunnar to the emergency vet where he stayed for two nights, and then followed up with his regular vet when he did not improve.

“He was diagnosed with pneumonia and he had multiple infections, a rash,” Warfield said.

According to Gunnar’s patient record from the emergency vet, his owner checked him on his trip and the kennel told him he was fine, but when they came to pick him up he needed help walking . According to the board, kennel staff also said Gunnar was known to lie down in his own urine while he was there and didn’t get up to walk so he could be stiff.

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“It was very heartbreaking,” Warfield said.

Warfield says the kennel owner reimbursed the money for Gunnar’s stay, but they ended up with over $ 5,000 in vet bills.

“He told me to take legal action if I needed these vet bills taken care of,” Warfield said.

When she posted on social media what happened to her mother’s dog, she said she received a lot of responses, many of which were negative comments about the kennel.

“There were actually quite a few,” Warfield said.

Kennels are licensed and inspected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. ABC27 investigators checked the online kennel inspection database to see the inspection history of the kennel where Gunnar stayed. abc27 does not name the kennel as no criminal charges have been laid.

The database shows that the kennel has been open for 15 years. He was non-compliant four times. In 2016, it was in non-compliance for sanitation. The inspector found that the primary pens were not sufficiently sanitized to prevent large amounts of dog dander and fur. The issue was resolved by the following month’s follow-up inspection. The kennel was cited in 2019 when a dog escaped.

There is no specific category of inspection for dogs that fall ill after a stay in a kennel.

“Complaints trigger inspections. An inspection would specifically examine the issues raised in the complaint. During a follow-up inspection after a complaint, a kennel could be cited for violating dog law. If cruelty or neglect to the animals were suspected, our dog guards would return the complaint to law enforcement authorities for investigation, ”said Shannon Powers, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

If your dog needs medical attention after a stay in the kennel and the vet believes the illness was caused by the stay in the kennel, this should be reported.

“If a private veterinarian suspected negligence or cruelty, he would be ethically and professionally obligated to report it to law enforcement authorities for investigation,” Powers said.

If your dog becomes ill after staying in a kennel, the best thing to do is file a complaint.

“We plan to do it,” Warfield said. As for Gunnar, his health is improving. “He’s doing so much better, luckily. We were very grateful that he was a fighter and that he got away with it. ”

There are currently 2,851 kennels in Pennsylvania. Kennels are inspected at least twice a year.


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