If you’re like many people, you might put your trust in a boarding kennel to watch over your animal when you go on vacation—but this shocking video may make you think twice.
On its website, Inghram’s Sit ‘N Stay Dog Academy, a training and boarding kennel in Florida, claims that it’s run by “expert, professional trainers who … love dogs” and use “humane and caring methods.” But when a PETA observer documented what happened out of the public eye, it was clear that the kennel was not always so caring.
Dogs at Sit ‘N Stay were confined to cramped, sometimes broken crates without water for up to 19 hours straight as part of their “training,” according to a supervisor. They weren’t even allowed out of the crates when bleach and other chemicals were sprayed nearby.
Upset from being trapped in the crates for so long, some dogs reacted by barking. Workers tried to silence them by throwing metal bowls against the cages or, in one instance caught on video, by jabbing a caged dog with a broom handle. Workers also banged bowls, trashcans, and trashcan lids against the cages and sinks in an apparent attempt to frighten and intimidate the dogs into silence.
PETA’s observer saw that some dogs were crated for nearly two hours outside in the blazing sun without shade or water, even as the temperature rose into the mid-90s and the heat index reached 105°F. When offered water, the dogs drank continuously for up to two minutes.
Dogs sometimes escaped from the cages and got into fights. Instead of comforting a dog who was bleeding after being attacked by another dog, a manager repeatedly yanked on her collar and roughly tried to tie her mouth shut with a leash.
If worker safety were a concern, kennel employees could have used proper muzzles on dogs, but instead, PETA’s observer documented that on several occasions, workers tightly tied dogs’ snouts shut with leashes, causing them stress and making it difficult for them to pant and cool themselves. The dogs were visibly terrified.
Our observer also documented that staffers failed to give dogs prescription medication and food that their guardians had provided, while a supervisor gave several dogs believed to have hookworms a prescription antibiotic—which does not treat hookworms—without a veterinarian’s or the owner’s knowledge or authorization.
PETA’s eyewitness worked at Sit ‘N Stay after PETA received a disturbing tip from a former customer. In fact, the facility’s owner has been repeatedly accused of abusing and neglecting dogs. Hillsborough County Animal Services has lodged several complaints against him, including for “helicoptering” dogs—spinning them in the air by a leash attached to a choke collar—as a way to “establish dominance.” WTF?! He has been repeatedly fined for leaving dogs outside without shelter or water, including one case in which a dog died of heatstroke. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers reportedly revoked his membership.
What You Can Do
Did you or your parents board your dog here? Can you spot your dog? Is this what you expected and paid for? PETA hopes to hear from those who entrusted their beloved dogs to this kennel. Please contact us.
Whenever you’re searching for a trainer or going out of town and can’t take your dog with you, the safest and least stressful option is to leave your dog at home with a trusted caregiver. If that’s not an option, always carefully screen boarding facilities by touring them in person, asking detailed questions about animal-care policies, getting references from other customers, and checking with the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, and animal-protection organizations to see if any complaints have been made about the place. See more tips on finding a reputable animal sitter or boarding kennel here.