Posted on 30th Apr 2012 @ 10:58 AM
Whenever we leave our loved ones in the care of others, it is important that we have a way to monitor them in case there is an incident. There are far too many stories in the news today about people being abused by the persons who are supposed to be taking care of them. Children and the elderly seem to always be a target, but now it’s our pets that are being hurt.
After a hidden camera investigation, it was discovered by reporters that many pet sitters and caregivers are not staying with their clients’ pets for as long as they promise. Many websites say that they provide a guaranteed 30 minutes of care. However, it has been shown that many sitters and caregivers leave within 10 to 15 minutes of their arrival, though they have already been paid for a half-hour of work.
The investigation began when reports asked a few pet owners to arrange a standard 30-minute appointment with a few different pet-sitting companies. Depending on the company, these half-hour meetings can range from $16 to $23.
Mary Alexander of St. Pete Beach hired "Give Me Your Paw" pet services to watch her two labs for the "approximately-30 minute" visits they describe on their website.
"All I wanted was for her to give them a half-hour of TLC," said Alexander.
When the sitter arrived at the location, she took the two dogs out for a walk. This walk, however, only lasted four minutes. Upon return from this walk, the sitter clocked and was gone. She spent a total of 10 minutes in the house watching dogs, only a third of the promised 30 minutes. The following day, she was only in the home for eight minutes.
"If someone told me they were going to give me a half-hour massage and they stopped at 15 minutes, I'd be a little angry," Alexander said.
"Give Me Your Paw" pet services refused to answer questions on-camera. In an e-mailed statement, the owner said she left early because she felt "threatened" by the two dogs.
The sitter claims that she was "greeted by charging dogs with aggressive behavior". However, hidden cameras show that she was able to feed the dogs and take them both out for walks without any difficulty. Therefore, there is no justification for her claim of aggressive behavior.
She wrote on one, "They were very good!". An another she wrote, "Starting barking but then when they got settled they were good."
"I don't understand why she shouldn't have wanted to stop and play with the animals if she's an animal lover," Alexander said. Other pet-sitting services were investigated as well. For years, Joey Trowbridge has been using Wags and Wiggles sitters to watch her cats: Liam, Lola, and Lucy.
"I travel on business often, so it's kind of a requirement for me," Trowbridge said.
She says her own security cameras caught the employee skipping out early again and again. Instead of the 30 minutes she says she paid for, her video's time stamps show the sitter leaving in 15 minutes, 6 minutes, and in one visit, after just 4 minutes.
"I was like, 'You've got to me kidding me.' This can't be right," Trowbridge said, describing her first reaction to seeing the video.
The Better Business Bureau says anyone using a pet sitter should get in writing exactly what you expect your sitter to do, and you should ask for references before you hire someone.