Several weeks ago, after just three work shifts at the popular dog daycare and kennel boarding company Camp Bow Wow, Mercedes Spencer said she had seen enough and decided to quit her job.
In an interview, Spencer claimed that Camp Bow Wow owners would instruct employees to yell at the dogs and do everything possible to prevent them from barking. He said he witnessed owners kicking the side of the fence, grabbing the dogs tightly by the neck and nape and putting them in a kennel for hours without water.
Spencer alleges that there are too many dogs for employees to control, up to 100 or more per day.
In one case, he claimed that a greyhound had a seizure while in a kennel, and no one noticed until he found the animal trembling and covered in feces and urine.
He recently visited his personal Facebook page to talk about his reasons for quitting. Since then, the publication has garnered more than 1,500 shares.
“I put my experience of why I left work only for friends and family to see because they knew how much I wanted to work there,” she said.
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Spencer said she received an email from the business owner calling her allegations “unfounded” and said she would be listening to her attorneys.
His post sparked a virtual support group with more than 30 Camp Bow Wow employees who say they have had similar experiences.
One of them is Paula Ritchot, who worked at the company for five years.
“A lot of trauma and anxiety has come back after seeing all these posts and it is a good and safe place to share our experiences and support each other,” Ritchot said.
He said many dogs that entered did not “want to be there” and staff were pressured to force the dogs into the play area so that their owners could see them apparently having a good time in front of the camera.
“It’s pretty sad because many, probably a third of the dogs there, don’t want to be there, and we are dishonest with customers because we’ve been pressured by management,” he said. “I feel terrible every day.”
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Another former employee, Niena Reed, told Global News that she broke down in tears every day of the two years she worked there and that she still has nightmares.
“It was horrible. Now I have a lot of anxiety. It’s not a good place, ”he said, his voice shaking.
Reed said owners often accepted aggressive dogs that employees couldn’t control. He said that the staff were not properly trained to work with aggressive animals.
Ritchot also said that he never received proper training or any type of pet first aid, as stated on the company’s website.
Naomi Howe is a one-year former employee who also felt the need to talk about her experience working at Camp Bow Wow.
She alleges that one of the owners sprayed the dogs with citronella or bottles of water. And if that didn’t work, the dog would be put in a kennel for hours, he said.
Howe said that while reading other stories of alleged abuse, she had an anxiety attack.
“I feel so bad for all the dogs and dog owners who are now finding out.”
Global News reached out to Camp Bow Wow to comment on the allegations, but they were forwarded to SPM Communications, which speaks on behalf of Camp Bow Wow.
“Camp Bow Wow Dartmouth has provided high-quality care and peace of mind to thousands of pet owners and their dogs over the past 14 years,” said spokesman Mark Jezek.
“As dog lovers, the health, safety and well-being of our campers are of the utmost importance to us, and we would not be in business today if this former employee’s allegations were true. We support our team and the excellent care they provide to our campers, and we appreciate the trust the community has placed in us over 14 years. “
After resigning from Camp Bow Wow, Mercedes Spencer filed a complaint with the SPCA and an online petition was initiated for the SPCA to investigate the company.
In a statement, SPCA Chief Enforcement Officer Jo-Anne Landsburg said the SPCA was “aware of the concerns that have been raised and would advise anyone who has witnessed any irregularities at the facility to contact the SPCA “.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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