A 3-pound Chihuahua/Dachshund mix was attacked inside a PetSmart boarding facility in Plano, Texas, raising questions about the state’s unregulated pet boarding business.
The little dog, named Eli, was placed in the day camp area of the store with larger dogs and was attacked, WFAA News 8 reports. Eli was supposed to have one overnight stay when he was killed.
PetSmart customer Daphne Hansen witnessed the attack, and even before Eli was attacked, said she noticed the dog trying to stay away from the other dogs.
“I kept thinking, ‘He should not be in here,’” Hansen told News 8. “‘There’s way too many dogs, he’s going to get hurt.’”
Stefanie Rodrigues and her mother, Nannette Fedak, had been planning an overnight trip when PetSmart called them to tell them Eli had been attacked.
“You feel guilty, you blame yourself,” Rodrigues told WFAA News 8. “You blame yourself, thinking ‘I brought him here and he was defenseless.’”
Veterinarians performed four hours of surgery inside Petsmart before he was transferred to an emergency clinic where he died, according to News 8.
PetSmart said in a statement to News 8 that large and small dogs do play together and are not separated. Fedak says that needs to change.
“I don’t think it’s safe unless they’re separated,” she said.
The pet boarding industry is not regulated in Texas, so it is up to the owner to ask if a boarding facility separates large dogs from small dogs, and if they don’t, then you might want to look elsewhere.
“We use a gate to keep them apart — small and large,” John Wise, owner of Pet Pooch Chateau in Addison, Texas, told News 8.