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A Florida dog owner is desperate for answers after her beloved dog, Blue, was struck by a car and killed just hours after checking in to what was supposed to be a fun and rewarding day at a luxury pet hotel.
While the pet hotel is calling the incident an accident, the dog’s owner says neglect and misconduct led to her dog’s tragic death.
Elke Griffin of Tampa, Florida wanted only the very best for her very best friend, 4-year old Terrier-mix, Blue. So, when an out-of-town trip for her nephew’s first visit to Disney World was planned during a time when her regular in-home petsitter wasn’t available, she researched area pet resorts looking for the perfect place for him to stay.
After hours of researching, scouring online reviews, and reading testimonials from other pet parents, Griffin chose to board Blue at the TyVy Luxury Pet Hotel in Tampa. At TyVy, Blue would be provided around-the-clock care, his own room with a webcam so she could check in on him, an on-staff veterinarian, and safe play in their self-proclaimed state-of-the-art facilities.
That decision would change her life forever.
She dropped Blue off at 7am the morning of her family’s trip to Disney. One hour later, at 8am, Griffin received a voicemail message that the toenails on all four of Blue’s paws were bleeding. On the phone, TyVy explained that Blue must have injured his paws running around the pet hotel’s play yard on the concrete or wood planks. The hotel told her they’d put styptic powder on his nails to stop the bleeding and that he was having fun and doing well. They encouraged her to continue her trip to Disney, to not turn around and pick him up. She was assured that Blue was fine and logged into the pet resort’s webcam to see him resting calmly in his room.
Just a few hours later, Griffin received a phone call that would devastate any dog owner.
While standing in line for a ride with her nephew, TyVy called again. Blue was dead.
“Around 2:13pm, I was standing in line with my nephew for a ride and I got a call from a number in Michigan. It was a woman named Lori Weberman telling me something horrible happened to Blue. I lost it. I said ‘with his nails?’
Weberman, a manager at TyVy’s West Bloomfield, Michigan location, told Griffin her beloved boy had been taken off premises for a walk, something she called “an upgrade.” Something that Griffin had never authorized or asked for. It was during this walk that Blue was hit by a car and killed.
Blue had been taken off the premises by an employee without Griffin’s consent or knowledge – something she says she would never have agreed to, particularly since the pet hotel is located on one of the busiest highways in the city. Further, instead of using Blue’s properly fitted, heavy duty harness and leash, the employee used a ragged, fraying slip lead, not clipped to a collar, but wrapped around Blue’s neck and under his arm.
TyVy told Griffin that Blue jerked and broke the lead before running a block away and into 6 lanes of heavy traffic where he was struck by a car. An employee transported Blue’s body to a nearby Blue Pearl Veterinarian. Although Griffin requested a necropsy for her dog, Blue Pearl assured her it wasn’t necessary, but did say it appeared as though his nails had just been cut.
TyVy provided no information about the vehicle that struck Blue, only that the car didn’t stop. They did not file a police report. When Griffin contacted police, she was told there was nothing they could do.
In an interview with WTSP 10 News, the owners of TyVy insisted that they’d called Griffin for consent to walk Blue off the property, a claim that she adamantly denies.
Griffin says the owners of TyVy never apologized, offered condolences, or accepted responsibility for the actions that led to Blue’s death. After she hired an attorney, they, instead, offered a cash settlement in exchange for her to stop posting negative reviews about their company online. She declined their offer, refusing to accept what she considered hush-money.
“I’ve suffered tremendously… nightmares, questions unanswered, the despicable behavior of TyVy. I can’t tell you how this has affected me, only that my heart is shattered. I feel like my boy was treated like trash. He meant the world to me.”
Under current Florida law, if Blue had been a purebred dog, Griffin would have a clear case and would be due damages for his loss. Tampa Senator Dana Young and Representative Jared Moskowitz recently proposed joint legislation that would provide pet owners a path of recourse in the event of the wrongful injury or death of their pet, holding defendants accountable for pain and suffering endured from emotional trauma to pet owners and for the value of the pet. The bill was rejected.
Today, Griffin has started her own petsitting business in Blue’s name, to provide the very best care possible and keep beloved family members out of the hands of these facilities. Still, lost without Blue, she hopes telling his story saves another dog’s life, or gives Blue’s life purpose.
“People said that I saved him. He saved me. And I couldn’t save him when he needed me most. I hurt because I trusted. I just wanted him to have 2 days of pampering, within a day, he was dead.”
Griffin has hired an attorney and filed an official complaint against TyVy. She maintains that she’s not looking for a payout, but wants the pet hotel to be held accountable for their actions. She’s also asking TyVy to pay for a memorial at Blue’s favorite park, where he loved to run and collect baseballs from the bushes, and a significant donation to a no-kill shelter in Blue’s name.
Most of all, Griffin wants to ensure no other dogs are killed at the hands of negligent, dishonest pet hotels that claim to offer the very best in safety and care.
You can follow Blue’s story and any updates on Facebook at Justice for Blue.
We reached out to TyVy to discuss the events that led to Blue’s death and for comment. They declined.
As a pet parent your story has devastated me. I am so very sorry for your tragic loss of beloved Blue. This pet hotel TyVy needs to be held responsible for their neglegience that led to Blue's death. I couldn't imagine the pain you are feeling. You and Blue were lucky to have found each other.
E Susan Armisteadsays:
I am so very sorry for your loss and pain. We had a similar situation here in NYS last July 18 when we left our beloved Diego at a local boarding facility. Due to the negligence of the staff, Diego was mauled at the kennel and subsequently died.. Timber Ridge in Campbell Hall, NY. The law views our four legged family members as property.. like a CHAIR. This has to stop. My most sincere condolences for your loss.
Could you please come to Blue's page and post your story? There is a petition on there as well…i saw your review that was removed thank you and i'm so sorry for your loss
So this article listed two different locations and states. Where did this happen and why was West Bloomfield MIchigan involved in a Tampa case?
This happened in Tampa, FL but it was a manager from the West Bloomfield location that called Elke to tell her that her dog had been killed.
Exactly, and thank you, Brandy..the owners live in Bloomfield and it took Mr Asmar almost a WEEK to contact me in regards to the death of my boy….they had a manager from Bloomfield contact me the day of the incident that lied about the situation and tried to "downplay" it ….NOT ONE MANAGER FROM TAMPA, has contacted me and NOT ONE OWNER has formally apologized..they keep calling it "an accident"…it's negligence! One of their own employees admitted that they were lying to me … They continue to practice shady business, even the Bloomfield location has hidden bad reviews and negligent incidents ..you can see pics of yelp reviews that have been deleted and/or hidden and there are a couple clients that have dealt with their negligence on FB @justiceforblue1
This lady was responsible & did everything she could for her Baby Blue. A dog does not have to be a pedigree to be worth money or love. 10 pedigree dogs would not be worth Blue to his owner. She needs answers & for them to be held responsible & accountable. She needs videos of her Boy Blue. Something is wrong & being covered up. Nothing can bring her Blue back, however they should pay & be put out of business. GOD bless you. YES, Justice for Blue.
So sorry for your loss. That place should br closed and the owners should be prosecuted.
I feel so sorry about what happened. I'll never let TyVy near my dog. Terrible.
First of all o am so sorry for what happened to your boy Blue. How devastating. I have a hard time understanding why these places are not held responsible for harming animals or for negligence. If an individual were found guilty of animal abuse they would be jailed or fined. Why does that not apply in cases like this? Our system is flawed.
Brandy I cannot thank you enough..my story is finally being told and people are finally seeing the truth..thank you all for your support..this is shedding a light in the storm i've been weathering…i need all the help i can get, they are unscrupulous, not even a written apology, just lie after lie and a major cover up. I may never get the answers, but i will never stop fighting for him..he may not have been a pedigree, but he was priceless..he went everywhere with me..his twitter account was shut down for no reason, my reviews on yelp and google removed as they coaxed friends , family and management to boost their ratings after my boy's death…these are the games this facility plays to hide their negligence..had i seen the bad reviews in 2016, Blue would have never stayed there..please if you will, like and share his page and ask your friends to do the same? facebook.com/justiceforblue1/?ref=br_rs
thank you all for your kind words and support, and thank you, brandy, for this well written article and having the compassion for my boy
Think everyone should go to their website and leave a comment about their negligence. Warn others to stay away.
There is no replacing a family member whether it is a pet or human. The boating house TyVy should be held accountable. How many more will TyVy kill? #TyVyKills
Look at the name of this so called 5 star IRRESPONSILE NEGLECTFULL PLACE. Shut it down make the owners pay for the handling and the death of this poor animal. It was her family.!! I'm so sick of these companies not being fined jailed. She gave them specific notes. Justice needs to be done NOW
I hope you get closure for what TyVy did to Blue,it's horrible and my heart goes out to you. I know it has to be frustrating to not get answers in regards to his death. I'm with you,they need to be held accountable for their neglegence,rest in peace Blue !
I'm so sorry. I would feel exactly like you. You gave him a good life for two years and it sounds like you received the same from him. I personally believe this is criminal gross negligence and kennel should be charged murder or manslaughter in addition to covering up facts. See if your attorney can get footage from cameras in area that might show person walking your dog. It might help prove negligence.
This is a tragedy and the Pet Hotel needs to be held liable. This was not an accident it was irresponsibility. If not for their actions that was not approved by the owner then Blue would be alive today. That hotel is a disgrace and should not be in business due to the way they very poorly handled Blue and the owner after this tragedy happened.