This article includes reviews, emails and comments about all of The Dog Stop locations in PA.
Fun, Sanitary, Kind, Safe, Happy, Cage Free, Loving, Responsible, Intelligent, Honesty, Integrity, Compassion, Knowledge and Positive Reinforcement.
These are all words that I would use to describe a doggie day care/boarding facility where I would love my dog(s) to go on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this local canine day care/boarding facility has not lived up to any of these descriptions, at all. There is now proof and the emails continue to flood my account, containing only negative feedback.
I am writing this article because I am sick and tired of hearing what is going at pet facilities where dogs should be respected not neglected. I will start at the beginning. I once worked at The Dog Stop. The establishment I worked at is located at 1140 Washington Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
The owners of The Dog Stop are Jesse and Chris. This is what they wrote about themselves on their website. Copied and pasted. Notice they have NO previous canine behavior experience of any kind. Also, they have no training in the field of animal welfare. Please continue to read reviews from customers and my personal experience. I once worked in this "wonderful" dog resort and I quit after only a few weeks. I will tell you every detail and what a fellow ABC (Animal Behavior College) Certified Dog Trainer told me she experienced while working at the same location.
Jesse Coslov (left in photo)
A graduate of George Washington University, Jesse spent several years in the Commercial Real Estate business before turning his head toward entrepreneurship. Growing up with Portuguese water dogs led Jesse to love the active breeds. His dog Bruce, a Yorkie mix, can be seen playing with the little dogs and Miles, a mutt, can often be seen greeting all of the new dogs at The Dog Stop's front desk.
Chris Kane (right in photo)
A graduate of Villanova University, Chris spent years working as a sales and financial manager at a consumer packaged goods company. A lifelong fan of dogs, Chris was finally able to have his first pups when he went away to college. Rocky and J.R. can be seen hanging out with the big dogs.
Before I graduated from ABC (Animal Behavior College) I worked at The Dog Stop, the Washington Blvd. location. I was right in the middle of my schooling and my own research/observation. I was equipped with a lot of dog psychology knowledge and experience. I had volunteered with several local shelters, working with the "un-adoptable" dogs that needed serious behavior modification.
I applied at The Dog Stop as a caregiver. My duties where to clean kennels and all messes, feed all dogs, give medication, do laundry (dog beds, blankets and pillows), check in and out guests, bathe dogs, answer phones, supervise play time and prevent dog fights. I worked with both the owners and 3 other females. I will not give the names of these girls. I do know that two of them still work there.
I am not going to be shy about expressing what I witnessed and had to handle. I feel that it is very important for all dog owners to know what they could possibly be getting their dogs into.
1.) Dog fights every single day. I mean SEVERE dog fights. I had to take one of my favorite dogs to the vet across the street after a dog fight. He had several puncture wounds to his head and neck.
2.) Dogs that where dog aggressive and people aggressive where allowed to be placed with up to 40 or more dogs at one time. No barriers, no protection for the dogs or yourself. The only protection I had was a spray bottle (most of the dogs liked it). Did not think it was very nice.
3.) The evaluation of each dog was a joke. They put ALL dogs together at once and that was that.
4.) They did separate the small dogs from the big dogs but would sometimes mix them without checking with the owner(s).
5.) Very very unsanitary. They used mop buckets that where filthy. Actually, beyond filthy. The entire building smelled so bad all the time.
6.) Dogs where not secure. Most dogs could hop the fence and escape and have full run of the building.
7.) One of the scariest moments of my life was when I had to use the conveyer belt. Apparently that is one of the main ways that they get dogs from to the second story. Very high up in the air. NO safety harnesses or any barriers. I often saw dogs almost fall. They would have either not survived or at least broken several bones.
8.) Food guidelines where not very important, this includes specific diets. Very lazy staff.
9.) Bleach and other extremely harsh chemicals where used around the dogs that where not pet friendly at all. I never witnessed them using any pet friendly or environmentally friendly products.
10.) The owners got very nervous and panicky when dog owners wanted to come in the back to see where their dog would be staying.
11.) The dogs where treated in a forceful manner. I saw many dogs get kicked just because they where jumping up or trying to squeeze through a door. It was so awful. The stress level was beyond high. I dreaded going to work but kept going back because I felt so bad for the dogs and I wanted to take care of all 40 of them myself.
12.) Chris once made fun of me for trying to teach a dog using positive techniques to not bully a smaller and much older dogs. I was using body blocking techniques and I remember he said to me, "What are you dancing with him?" He had no idea what positive dog training was or how to use no force to get a dog to behave.
13.) I was made fun of how because of how respectful I was to the dogs. They did not like that I was not more forceful with the dogs. I do not believe in those methods. In my eyes it was animal abuse. Nothing more and nothing less.
14.) They left me in charge all alone after only one week. It was nice that they had trust in me but it was very irresponsible. I had no help if something horrible happened. Which was very likely, I learned that quickly.
15.) The owners would watch the dog fights on the monitors and laugh, it made me sick.
16.) I was told to lie about diarrhea, vomiting and other issues that the dog had while in their care by multiple staff members. This includes dog fights. If the damage was not too noticeable, it was pushed under the rug like nothing happened.
Here are two of the many poor reviews that I read. The first is just terrible and very disturbing. I was also told by a fellow ABC Dog Trainer that she worked at the same location and quit because of the physical mistreatment of the dogs. She said it was awful. She worked there 8 months after I quit.
Something must be done about these owners and how they run this facility. I would not trust them with any animal. This horrible place and all their locations need to be shut down! Apparently they are still opening new locations!
PLEASE NOTICE: The name of this individual(s) and his/her dog(s) and the dog(s) names have been changed to protect their identities. This is a very serious and devastating situation.
I will call this owner Jeannie and the dog, Brownie.
I read your article about, places to never take your dog as I was
trying to get information on how to contact the owner of The Dog Stop.
I was wondering if you could tell me where I can report them or if the
Better Business Bureau is my best recourse?
Here is what was already sent to them via email:
My name is Jeannie and I left my puppy, Brownie, for a full day of doggie daycare on 11-2-12.
He also received grooming services in the form of a nail trimming.
I had left him there previously and can honestly say that I have never had a complaint
until this time.
When I picked him up, his eyes were blood shot, which I attributed to
him being tired. I brought him home and I had to go out for a few hours
that evening, during which time he was crated. When I returned home, I
noticed there was a small amount of blood on his blanket. I assumed
this was from his right eye that was still red and now discharging
On Saturday morning I contacted my vet and took him in for an exam of
his eye. It was found that he had a blunt force trauma injury to his
right eye and a steroid/antibiotic drop was prescribed. I contacted
the Dog Stop on Banksville and inquired into any fights or injuries
they had noticed, which was denied. That night my dog was very
lethargic and breathing funny which brings me to Sunday.
I took him in to the VCA emergency vet Sunday morning to be examined
again due to the continued lethargy and labored breathing. It was then
found that both of his back paw pads had been torn open. These were
intact when I dropped him off on Friday and can now say likely account
for the blood that was on his blanket. I have now been prescribed an
oral antibiotic, oral pain medication, a solution to soak his back
paws in daily, and additionally have been told he is not able to take
walks outside; out to relieve himself and back in...if energy increase
becomes a problem, I have been told to call in to get additional
medication to sedate him for a week so the paw pads have an
opportunity to heal. The labored breathing and lethargy have been
attributed to the pain levels he is experiencing from both and eye
injury and paw injuries acquired at your site.
I am not one to complain much, but find it absolutely inexcusable that
these injuries were not reported to me upon my arrival to pick him up
or by phone when they happened. I would like to think that staff were
present when they occurred and shudder to think that staff are not
attending to and monitoring the pets entrusted in their care as they
should be. Also, considering he did get his nails trimmed there, I
find it difficult to believe the groomer did not notice the damage to
his paw pads unless it happened after the trim.
Collaterally, he had to miss a day of obedience classes that he is
enrolled in at the Humane society today and likely next week if his
paws do not heal adequately by then.
I keep Brownie crated when I am not home and he is monitored closely
when he is out of the crate. These injuries were not present before
dropping him off at the Dog Stop Banksville. I understand that in the
course of playing, dogs can become injured. My main complaint is the
negligence on part of the staff to monitor and/or report these to me.
As such, I would appreciate a response to inform me what action will
be taken to prevent these types of incidents in the future should I
decide to use your facility again.
I appreciate your time regarding this matter.
I would like to make sure it gets to at least the owner, which I doubt
that it will...so i would like to file a complaint elsewhere to make
sure this incident does not go unnoticed.
Thanks so much,
Yellow Pages Web Site Reviews 7-23-11
We recently took our lab puppy here for 3 days of Day Care and then immediately boarded all of our dogs for several days. I picked them up on July 3rd. Two days later our lab was lethargic, coughing and had fever. Our vet xrayed her chest and saw double pneumonia. She said it had to have been a virulent strain of kennel cough to turn into pneumonia so quickly. She was placed on two antibiotics. A day or two later, our Cairn terrier began showing same symptoms. Xrays showed she also had bad kennel cough and pneumonia. All of our dogs were current in their Bordatella vaccines. We notified the kennel and asked to speak with the owner, however, the Mgr told us he was not always there and she was responsible for dealing with issues like this. Unfortunately I didn't ask to see the back of the place until I picked all of our dogs up on 7-3. When I went into the back where the play areas are, I was shocked at how hot it was back there where the dogs were playing. It felt like it was 90 degrees and not air conditioned like the front of the store. I was told they have large exhaust fans. They advertise themselves as being "climate controlled" but if that was the case it sure wasn't working that day. We know that kennel cough can easily be spread by having numerous dogs in a hot environment with poor air circulation. I saw a conveyor belt and was told that was how they get the dogs up to the boarding areas. An attendant carries those dogs up the belt if they are afraid. They also have an outside stair case they can use. We asked on several occasions to speak with the owner but when we left a voice mail in his phone he never returned our call. We never did hear from the owner. In addition to the heat, we had to bathe our dogs immediately as they smelled. The other thing I noticed which was upsetting was an attendant came out of the back with a dripping wet mop to clean up urine in the front. After doing so he carried the dripping mop to the back area never using a bucket to keep the urine from dripping on the floor. Our dogs will NEVER return to this kennel. I would not trust any kennel where I could not speak with the owner especially given how sick our two dogs were. The mgr told us we were the ONLY case of kennel cough she could remember, however we learned of 3 cases of dogs contracting kennel cough after being there in Feb and March.
I really hope that this article has opened your eyes. These reviews where only a few out of several that I read that disturbed me. I chose these two in particular because it really covered a lot.
I have not altered the review in anyway. I was given permission by the owner to post the email I received.
Please choose the right doggie day care/boarding/training facility for your dog. Ask every question you can think of. Be sure to stay for an hour or two and observe everyone and everything at any facility. Check reviews and ask around. Ask the tough questions and see if the owners get uncomfortable. Make sure the entire building is clean. Ask other customers about their experiences and how they feel about the owners and staff. Spend a lot of time observing before committing to anything. There is no reason that you should not be able to see something or observe anything. It is your companion and your money! This is your four legged friend and it is your responsibility to make sure he or she is in a safe and healthy environment.
Lyndie Kelley DBA,
The P.A.W. Method
Positive Associations Work
I am located in Pittsburgh, PA. I service several areas, please go to the "Contact Me" page and get in touch with me so I know where you are located. Thank you!
I accept all breeds, ages and temperaments. I am not breed prejudice and I believe that every canine can change his/her behavior if the owner is willing to put in the work and follow through!
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