A heating malfunction at a Canadian pet daycare and boarding facility led to the death of 14 dogs last Saturday.
According to the Saskatchewan kennel, Playful Paws, a mechanical failure in a rooftop heating unit continuously pumped hot air into an upstairs room holding over a dozen large-breed dogs.
The facility posted on Facebook that the incident was a “travesty of life” and that they could not “express enough of our sympathy to the families of these dogs.”
The previous afternoon, an employee noticed that the room was becoming uncomfortably hot. Before they headed home for the evening, the staff was instructed to put fans in the windowless room and close the door. Unfortunately, the room did not cool down and when the staff returned on Saturday morning, they walked into a terrible scene.
“I feel really, really bad. I’ve been crying all morning,” said an anonymous employee. “They’re our customers’ dogs. They’re someone’s pet.”
Former employee Fred Glawishnig said that this was the very situation he had been fighting to prevent before he left the organization. Back in January, the certified master trainer and kennel care expert had brought several concerns to the attention of the Playful Paws management, including the lack of fresh air and ventilation in the windowless room housing the large-breed dogs.
When management refused his suggestions, Glawschnig took his concerns to the SPCA in hopes that an investigation would force the organization to make changes. Unfortunately, in Canada, kennels are completely unregulated.
“Under the law, we have no power to do that,” said SPCA executive director Patricia Cameron. She explained that the shelter is unable to pursue allegations related to pet care facility conditions.
“This is not just frustrating, it’s heartbreaking,” said Glawischnig. “I wish I could have done more.”
According to the kennel care expert, air should be exchanged completely several times each hour. Furthermore, a roof should be inspected once or twice a year, as should HVAC systems. If proper maintenance had been exercised by the kennel owners, it is likely that this tragedy could have been avoided.