Luke Mullaney of Chicago has a rescue dog named Mya. Mya is a German Shepherd mix with anxiety.
The benefits of socializing with other dogs made Mullaney decide to take Mya to the Posh Pet Day Spa twice a week for close to a year. Unfortunately, any socialization benefits for Mya were quickly negated when Mullaney was floored by what was accidentally left on her throat.
Mullaney trusted that Mya was well taken care of at the dog daycare on March 11 as he spent the day doing work around his house. When he picked her up, that trust was lost.
He noticed a black collar under Mya’s regularly worn collar. This second collar had a box attached to it and was resting against the dog’s throat.
Mullaney took a photo before returning to the dog daycare to get answers. His inquiry about the collar was met with an employee’s statement of two chilling words: “Uh oh.”
That statement stunned him and confirmed his fear that the collar was likely a shock collar. The employee’s defensive attitude about the collar along with the daycare owner’s explanation that it vibrates rather than shocks did not sit well with Mullaney.
He did not simply take the daycare’s word for it and used the photo he took before returning the suspicious collar to search for another one online. The collar turned out to be a Petrainer Pet853 anti bark electric collar.
He read the description of this training collar designed to stop barking. First, warning tones are delivered, and eventually, shocks are delivered to “correct” the undesired behavior of barking.
When the dog daycare’s business owner was questioned by ABC 7 Chicago I-Team member, Chuck Goudie, she claimed that the collar was mistakenly put on Mya. When further questioned about whether or not the dog daycare has a policy in regards to using shock collars, she eventually responded by saying, “I’m not here for an interrogation, I’m asking you to leave.”
Lauren Mayer, Mullaney’s girlfriend, noticed that the collar was labeled as “No. 6,” leading her to believe that the daycare must have at least five others. The couple is not at all convinced that Mya had the collar on simply by mistake.
The Posh Pet Day Spa put out a long statement on their Facebook page expressing their heartache over being accused of treating the animals in their care inhumanely. The statement explained that a staff member mistakenly put the collar on Mya instead of another dog whose owner requested it be used.
Many people replied to the daycare’s post with photos of their happy canine customers and lots of high praise for the services rendered. Other commenters noted that they could see why the business had gotten into hot water, even if it had been an honest mix-up.
This problem runs deeper than a few people’s opinions, though: there is a rift in the canine community about whether or not anything besides positive reinforcement is a suitable method of training dogs. Some, like this daycare owner, claim that these kinds of training collars are useful while others see them as inhumane.
Mullaney received a refund for advanced payments he made at Posh Pet Day Spa and will be seeking a new doggy daycare. While there are many varying reviews on the Posh Pet Day Spa, Mya seems to be in good hands with an owner who will find only the best of care for her!
What do you think about this case — is it possible that this was a genuine mistake? Are shock collars and other forms of negative reinforcement acceptable or was this doggy daycare wrong on multiple accounts?