When Luke Mullaney picked up his dog from her Chicago-area dog day care, he discovered she was wearing a second collar beneath her regular collar. Upon closer inspection, he realized that German shepherd mix, Mya, was wearing a shock collar, a device that he does not personally use, and did not authorize the day care center to use.
On March 11, Mullaney picked up Mya at Posh Pet Day Spa where he has sent the 2 1/2-year old rescue about two times a week for about a year in hopes that the socialization and play time in a safe environment would help her overcome anxieties.
Loading Mya into his car, Mullaney noticed she was wearing a second collar beneath the collar she always wears. The second collar was black, with a small pronged box marked with a handwritten number 6. He went inside to confront the day care worker that had brought Mya out to him.
“I noticed there was a big box on the side of the collar and that box was almost directly on her throat,” Mullaney told ABC7. “The troubling thing was the first thing she said when I walked in the door and held it up was ‘uh oh.'”
Day Care staff assured Mullaney that the device was not a shock collar, but that it merely emitted a sound to control barking. But, using photos he’d taken, Mullaney researched, finding that the collar, a Petrainer Pet853 anti bark electric collar, according to the instructions, “stops barking with progressively increasing sound and shock.”
The collar’s instruction manual further explains that it first makes “two beeps to deter barking” and then a “shock after each bark” using “increasingly intense tones and shocks,” a “painful stimulus” to “break bad habits.”
When confronted by ABC7, Posh Pet’s owner asserted that they don’t use the collars on clients’ dogs, that a new employee must have mistakenly put it on Mya.
But Mullaney’s girlfriend, Lauren Mayer was concerned. “The first thing I realized [was] that if there’s a No. 6 on it, there must be five others,” she said. Hoping that it was, in fact, an accident, she posted photos of the collar along with her concerns about the facility to a neighborhood Facebook group page. Several residents stepped forward, including another dog owner who said her dog also once emerged from the back room wearing a shock collar. She also posted a photo of a similar collar that had a “7” scrawled on it with a white marker.
Posh Pet refunded Mullaney for future visits that he had paid for in advance. He’s now looking for a new dog day care to take Mya.
In an emailed statement to ABC7, the owners of Posh Pet Day Spa said they have been a family-owned business for the past 12 years and that the “accusation” that “they would ever do anything to hurt and animal” has caused “tears and heartache.”
This incident serves as an important reminder to pet parents to thoroughly investigate people and businesses before entrusting them with the care of your dog. Ask to tour facilities, discuss any corrective measures or training tools the center may use, and check reviews and references from other dog owners.