TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For anyone who has ever had a beloved pet as part of their life, the phrase, “they’re family” is a familiar feeling. The unconditional love is good for the soul, people often say. Indeed, for those who have animals in their world, they say it’s simple – pets make life better with the joy they bring.
Just ask Gayla Fradley.
There’s no question the dogs in her life, Ava and Bailey, are family members.
“You know, they are my family,” she told News Channel 8.
With tears in her eyes, Fradley shared with us what happened, she says, when her dogs came back from Lucky Dog Daycare in Tampa with horrific, painful injuries. One dog had a deep gash on her nose and nearly lost an eye. The other was ripped open on her belly by a nail.
“I was devastated,” Fradley said. “I’m expecting them, it’s like taking your kid to daycare, and the daycare saying, ‘oh, things happen.'”
Fradley couldn’t believe it. She didn’t understand how this could happen.
“I got sick, I was just so devastated.”
The vet bills for the dogs totaled thousands of dollars, she claims, and that Lucky Dog took months to cough up the cash.
She also told us that the doggie daycare lied to her about how the injuries were sustained. That, she says, was the real gut punch.
“I didn’t get the real story. I wasn’t told the truth,” she said. She didn’t understand how someone taking care of her precious animals would keep important information from her.
The daycare, she tells us, has one big problem – too many dogs and not enough staff to take care of them.
There are multiple horror stories now surfacing about dogs suffering injuries while at Lucky Dog, including tragic cases of dogs who died.
In fact, one manager, who asked not to be identified, was fired over the weekend after a dog died from heat stroke in the doggy daycare.
She explained to us that every day was a losing battle at work. She simply could not take care of the animals properly.
In tears, she explained to us how much her heart was hurting for the families of those whose animals did not receive proper care.
“Those dogs deserve more,” she cried. “And, I feel like I couldn’t take care of them and I can’t now.”
The former employee also told us, not only is there not enough staff, but the people who are there are not trained properly. Over the holiday weekend, she said they were well over 200 dogs being boarded with only 12 employees.
She said the owners of the daycare told her to lie to pet owners over and over again when dogs were hurt or even died.
“It’s sad, it’s disturbing. I know the truth. I’m getting to the point where I’m now angry and I want everything to come out,” the former employee said.
8 on Your Side reached out to Lucky Dog Daycare. We wanted to sit down and talk with them so that we could hear their side of the story. Instead, they declined to go on camera with us.
They did offer a statement regarding the dog that died of the holiday weekend. The owner said his staff was at fault and subsequently fired. He also offered sincere apologies to the family.
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