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Las Vegas Resident Abraham Lazcano left town and hired a "pet sitter" through Rover.com to care for his beloved 7 year old, Gus the bulldog. The sitter he chose had good reviews online so he expected high quality care for Gus while he was away. Tragically, Gus was only there for one night when he was left unsupervised in the pet sitter's backyard and drowned in the pool. 13 Action News reached out to the pet sitter for comment and over the phone, she admitted the dog was left alone in the backyard for just 'a few minutes'. She claimed the dog had previously completed his business out back before without any concerns and the area is well-lit at night. She believes, Gus had a "medical episode" and fell into the pool. Pet sitting apps like Wag and Rover do not and will never have the time or resources to properly train the 'sitters' who register on their websites. They claim that their hiring process is 'set to perfection' but quizzes, profiles and reviews are no substitute for shadowing a prospective employee to get a sense of what kind of person they are, how they react to different situations, and to assess their general level of common sense around animals. The fact is that Rover & Wag only care about one thing, Profit. They do not care about the safety of your pet or Gus would still be alive. Sure, we are all human, we make mistakes but a true professional would NEVER leave a dog alone and unsupervised, in a backyard with access to a pool. What really could have been done to prevent the loss of Gus?
1) Observing that the sitter had an outdoor pool with no fencing, the pet owner AND Rover.com could have decided that the home was unsuitable for Gus OR they could have documented a communication with the sitter in which they note the presence of the pool and had the sitter assure them that under no circumstances would Gus be left near the pool without supervision.
2) When caring for a breed like a bulldog, they both could have entered into a dialog with the sitter to ensure that she knew the characteristics and limitations of the breed. Specifically, they could have identified the fact that bulldogs are not good swimmers due to their shape, weight and that they should never be allowed around a pool or water source when unattended.
However, none of those steps were taken and Gus was simply “another client” in the care of a 'pet sitter' who had not been hired with sufficient care, despite what Rover.com claims.
Here at Pets of Las Vegas, our deepest sympathies go out to the Lazcano family and it is our mission to educate the public on the mistakes of hiring a Pet Lover instead a Pet Professional.
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