Dog Attack at Boarding Facility Raises Questions

Family starts online petition to regulate kennels in Texas

A North Texas boarding facility is under fire after a dog was attacked under its watch.

Jerry's Paw Spaw in North Richland Hills has received backlash on social media sites, including Facebook and Yelp, after a family pet required surgery.

Oddly enough, the dog was allegedly bitten by another dog owned by the same family.

"Bailey is just sitting there and you can see blood all over her butt," said Brian Sumner, the dogs' owner. "The cage has blood all over at the bottom of it."

Sumner owns three dogs. Between Rebel, Roxy and Bailey, there's never a dull moment inside his home. Over Labor Day weekend, the dogs were kenneled at Jerry's Paw Spaw. The day the dogs were picked up, the Sumners learned Roxy – the family's biggest dog – attacked Bailey, the family's oldest and smallest.

"We brought the dogs in and we treated it," said Jerry Conger, owner of Jerry's Paw Spaw. "We called them and said there's been a bite. It doesn't seem too severe."

The bite left a nasty gash requiring surgery and several stitches. The veterinarian bill cost the Sumners just under $1,400.

According to Conger, the attack happened during morning playtime at the facility's outdoor dog run.

"They were by themselves, just them three (Rebel, Roxy and Bailey)," Conger said. "All of a sudden the larger dog (Roxy) bit the little dog (Bailey)."

The waiver signed by Sumner doesn't hold Jerry's Paw Spaw liable for the dog's injuries.

"Most facilities will ask you to sign a waiver. Read it so you know what you're signing, so you know what your responsibilities are," said Yolanda Eisenstein, a Dallas attorney who specializes in animal law.

In Texas, pet owners can only be compensated for their animal's market value if they are killed.

There is no state oversight that regulate how kennels and groomers operate.

"What people don't remember is that dogs are property and you have to remember they're treated like property under the law," Eisenstein said.

Conger, who's been in business for about seven years, says he cared for Bailey as best as he could.

"I'm hoping this can bring closure to a bad situation. I'm sorry that the dog was bitten but the dog was taken care of," said Conger. "This didn't become an issue until I told them I wasn't going to pay the bill."

More than a week later, Bailey walks with a limp and Roxy is as playful as ever. With no laws holding kennels accountable, the Sumners are hoping to change that.

"The fact that someone can harm them (dogs) and there's nothing we can do about it kills me," said Sumner.

The Sumners have started an online petition to regulate boarding facilities, and it now has more than 16,000 signatures.

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