By WCBS Staff
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, New Jersey (WCBS) — A dog owner took to social media alleging her dog was mauled while at a dog day care in Monmouth County.
Rachel Padula can hardly speak about the injuries her dog Ace suffered. She says he was attacked by two pit bulls while at Dogs on the Farm in Atlantic Highlands. He has hundreds of stitches on his body and head.
“It looks like his ear almost got taken off,” Padula told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “He’s a lover.”
She got a call while at work Friday.
In a voicemail, an employee of the day care says, “Ace was just involved in an incident with a couple of other dogs and he did get injured.”
Ace has been going to dog day care for more than five years. Padula says she always felt safe sending him there until now.
“Before I could even get there, they rushed him into surgery, so I couldn’t see him before he went in to see how bad or good or what it was,” she said.
Padula says at first the vet told her she couldn’t take Ace home because the $2,000 bill wasn’t paid. Dogs on the Farm did end up paying the initial bill.
“They had to pay the bill the following day after I nagged them about it,” she said.
Padula says she’s had to pay for the follow-up visits to the vet.
CBS2 spoke to Karen Leipzig, the founder of Dogs on the Farm.
“We’ve paid for the bill. We’ve done everything we can. The two dogs involved, we don’t allow in day care now, so that’s all we can do,” she said.
She says Ace has been playing with the two dogs that attacked him for years.
“Unfortunately, it’s what can happen and we re-evaluate animals all the time to see if they are a good fit for day care,” Leipzig said. “We even have the paperwork customers sign when they come here, knowing that there is no guarantee. We go out of our way to make sure everything happens the best it can and is safest for dogs … She’s smearing me left and right. My clients know me. You’ll see, I have excellent reviews. It’s very unfortunate. She got very angry and I understand her anger. I would be upset, too … It was an accident.”
Ross Licitra, with the Monmouth County SPCA warns dog owners, “They are animals. You just don’t know how they may react in a split second. A weird smell that comes across them or an adverse reaction that makes them attack. And again, when they’re in an environment where there are dozens of dogs playing, we do have reports of this throughout the year, that dogs are injured. If you’re going to put your animal in that situation, there is a possibility that they could be injured.”
There is a police investigation into what happened at Dogs on the Farm. There have been prior investigations of alleged negligence.
A former employee CBS2 spoke to off camera also questioned safety protocols and said some staff members were unqualified. The business has been open for 20 years.
Leipzig says all employees go through extensive training.
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