ATLANTA — Anyone traveling this for the upcoming holiday weekend or planning to take a vacation where they will leave their pet at home, a local woman has a scary warning: pet owners should make sure they know who is watching their dog.
Danielle Andrade said her pet died after using a popular app to find a pet sitter when she traveled to an out-of-state wedding.
Such apps are becoming more popular with the huge uptick in post-pandemic travel. People can go online and find dog sitters nearby, see how much they charge, and if there's other dogs in the home.
However, Andrade said it's not that easy, or that safe.
"Every morning I would wake up and she's right there," as she described her days with Lucky.
Andrade said had Lucky since she was 15 years old. Now all she has left are the memories of her lifelong friend.
"So, I got her little paw prints, I asked for two," she said.
She claims Lucky was killed on June 4 after she hired a pet sitter she met on the app called Rover. Lucky got out and was hit by a car.
"Everything just crumbled. I never thought that would happen in a billion years," she said.
She thinks Lucky's death could have been prevented if the app enforced safety standards for the contractors who walk and watch dogs. She has since started a petition to get their attention. It already has almost 4,000 signatures.
"I don't want it to happen to anyone else, to be honest. It was the most painful thing I have ever been through," she said.
A spokesman for Rover provided the following statement to 11Alive:
"As pet parents ourselves, our hearts go out to Danielle and all those who loved Lucky. This experience is very uncommon on our platform. While this service wasn’t booked through Rover, we investigated the situation and have removed the pet care provider from our community.
For additional context, over 350,000 stays have been booked in Georgia with almost every stay going as planned. Pet parents in Georgia who have reviewed their pet care providers on Rover have given them 5 stars 97% of the time.
Our Trust and Safety team is available 24/7 to support and assist pet parents and care providers in a variety of ways in the rare event help is needed during a booked stay.
Pet parents looking for pet care on the Rover platform are able to tailor their searches to find a provider who is the best fit for them and their pet’s unique needs. This includes the ability to search for specific types of pet specializations, in-home safety measures, and experiences."
Andrade said that's not enough to keep the pets people love safe.
In her petition, she calls on Rover to mandate safety measures, like gates on doors and cameras, but Rover said users can search specifically for those parameters on their site, and who they book is up to them.