Pomeranian killed at boarding facility

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond woman devastated after her Pomeranian was mauled to death at a boarding facility wants the business owner held accountable.

The attack involving "Jenny" and a Mastiff happened at "Four Paws Pet Resort" on North Hamilton Street.

Caroline Gough said she wants to bring attention to what happened to her dog so other pet owners don't have to face the same pain.

She dropped off Jenny at Four Paws while she went to nursing school. Hours later, she received a disturbing phone call from the owner, telling her that Jenny was dead.

Caroline Gough misses the playful sounds Jenny would make with her chew toys.

"It's very quiet. I have to turn the TV on to keep my mind off of it, to drown out the silence," said Gough.

Jenny was a surprise birthday gift last November. The five pound Pomeranian lived a short eight months.

"Jenny was like my best friend," said Gough.

Since January, Gough used Four Paws for daycare and occasional weekend boarding. Last Wednesday, she received horrible news. Jenny did not survive an attack by a Mastiff at the boarding facility. She received the call from Four Paws owner, John Maleta.

"He informed me that my dog Jenny had died," said Gough.

Caroline said she was first told by the owner dogs were being let in and out when Jenny somehow got with the bigger canines.

She said she was also told Jenny was jumping up and down at the outdoor fence and somehow slipped through. Maleta said Jenny had been "egging on" a Mastiff throughout the day and when the two came face to face, the Mastiff responded inappropriately.

"As we were bringing dogs in we had a young Pomeranian that darted through one of our security fences. What it did it tried to attack a larger dog," said Maleta.

Caroline said steps had already been taken to try to get her dog cremated before an examination and autopsy. The Four Paws owner disputes that.

Caroline requested Jenny be taken to her vet. Caroline said when she pulled up to Betty Baugh's on Patterson a Four Paws employee walked in ahead of her with Jenny wrapped in a bloody towel and told workers the dog needed to be cremated.

"I fell on the ground. It was very hard. The last time I saw her she was wagging her tail and jumping up and down," said Caroline Gough.

Maleta said he called ahead to see if her vet could handle the procedure.

"I think that was just a miscommunication on our part where an employee brought the dog in and said this dog is here for cremation," said Maleta.

I obtained a copy of Jenny's necropsy: the vet at Betty Baugh's found fur around the puppy's head and neck, matted from saliva. Three deep puncture wounds on her chest and large amounts of dirt, gravel and debris in her mouth.

"By the time Jenny arrived at the vet rigormortis set in. She'd been dead an hour," said Gough.

Caroline said Maleta told her he was only legally responsible for compensation for vet bills.

"He definitely didn't react the way I hoped he would react. I haven't received an apology from him yet," said Gough.

"I would do anything I could to make it right although I don't think I can I can't bring the dog back," said Maleta.

Richmond Animal Control is in the final stages of its investigation. The Mastiff was released to its owner.

The Better Business Bureau tells me Four Paws has an F rating based on no response to complaints. There were five in 2009, including a dog attack. The BBB is taking a closer look at the company's file to see if there's a pattern.

The dog owner was told by Richmond police this is a civil matter. She is being represented by an attorney, but a lawsuit has not been filed.

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