DogFilter: Dog walker not walking dog.
March 11, 2005 12:40 PM   Subscribe

So we set up this webcam to watch our puppy while at work. We were shocked to find out that the dog walker we hired never came to walk her. She continued to neglect her duties all week. What to do? Is there somwhere I can report this dogwalker? On the plus side, our puppy does totally fine while being left alone for 8 hours, with paper to do her business and some water and lots of toys!
posted by eurasian to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
 
How did you find the dog walker? If you found her through an ad on an Internet bulletion board (i.e. Craigslist), it might be worth a posting to warn against using her.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:52 PM on March 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


not connected with the dog walker, but maybe you could rig up some kind of automated doodah that you could trigger remotely. something that would allow you to interact with the dog. seems like it should be possible, if you can do the webcam thing.

(also, maybe you should give more details about what you've done already complaint-wise; like checking that the dates were ok, complaining each day, etc)
posted by andrew cooke at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2005


If she's employed by a dog walking service, obviously you tell them.

If she's not, then you tell her that you know she's been failing to show up, and therefore won't be requiring her (non-)services any longer, effective immediately. (This is presuming her failure to show isn't due to some emergency.) Did you pay her in advance for the days she didn't show up? If so, obviously you should get your money back.

If you learned about her through a neighbor, your vet, etc., I suppose you could mention it to them, as well. But it's not like there's some National Board of Licensed Dog Walkers and Cat Sitters you can lodge a formal complaint with.
posted by scody at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2005


I would ask for your money back. She has defrauded you.
posted by caddis at 1:17 PM on March 11, 2005


Aren't some dog walkers bonded and insured (usually because they do in-home animal care, too)? If she is, then there's definitely a National Board of Licensed Dog Walkers and Cat Sitters to complain to.
posted by tristeza at 1:32 PM on March 11, 2005


I also imagine you could report her to the police. She stole your money, and what's worse, she did it by neglecting your dog. I would go postal over that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:48 PM on March 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'd start by checking your area to see if there are any pet sitter referrral services. Notify them and ask if they can think of anybody else you can call. There is a national association of pet sitters; hopefully she's not a member, but if she is, you should call them as well.

Also, make sure your next pet sitter is licensed, bonded, and insured.
posted by stefanie at 1:54 PM on March 11, 2005


> What to do?

Tell her that you know and tell her how you know (so she won't try to deny it). Tell her boss or her mother or whoever it is she reports to. And ask for your money back.

> Is there somewhere I can report this dogwalker?

That depends on where you are and how you found her.

You could ask petsitusa (if you're in the USA, of course).

In any case, look for a new walker. This site has some good tips.
posted by pracowity at 1:59 PM on March 11, 2005


I also imagine you could report her to the police. She stole your money

Even assuming that money was paid in advance, failure to perform agreed-upon work is not theft - it's fraud. In any case, the first question the police are going to ask is "Did you ask to get your money back?"

In general, the police have much more serious things on their hand than a dispute over (say) a hundred or two hundred dollars (euros). And in this case, unless the webcam viewing was recorded (and time-stamped), it's basically one person's word against another. (At most, particularly in a small town or if you have connections, a police officer might pay a more-or-less friendly visit to encourage the dog-walker to make things right. But the chances of anything more than that - if I were the police, I'd suggest small claims court if the matter were over $100 or so - is virtually nil.

Finally, it's possible (although unlikely) that there is another side to the story - the dogwalker might have become ill, or totally misunderstood the agreed-upon dates, or something else. At minimum, it seems to be worth asking, directly, what happened.
posted by WestCoaster at 2:18 PM on March 11, 2005


ThePinkSuperhero writes, "I also imagine you could report her to the police. She stole your money, and what's worse, she did it by neglecting your dog."


I don't think this qualifies as theft in that sense. It's a contract violation, which pretty much means you're dragging the other party into court on your own. The police, I'm almost positive, wouldn't bother to investigate it.
posted by mkultra at 2:19 PM on March 11, 2005


Better Business Bureau? Local Chamber of Commerce? Whoever she advertises with?

That's just criminal (on the dog walker's part!) to neglect a puppy like that.
posted by SpecialK at 2:23 PM on March 11, 2005


Technically speaking, it's a theft. I doubt that it's bad enough to be animal neglect. But even if you reported the crime, it's highly likely you wouldn't get a prosecution out of it.

You could bring also bring an action in a small claims (or conciliation) court. Essentially you would have the right to the money you paid for the work that wasn't done. But first of all, can you prove it? And second of all, is it worth all the time and expense to recover a coupla hundred bucks? If the dog walker doesn't show up to court, then it can be difficult to collect your judgment.

Sometimes people feel-- when they know that they're right-- that they need to vindicate themselves in court. But often the whole process can be frustrating and ultimately not worth the trouble.
posted by Scooter at 2:31 PM on March 11, 2005


Eurasian, have you even asked the dogwalker what happened? In other words: did you ask them before bringing this to Ask MetaFilter?
posted by delfuego at 3:22 PM on March 11, 2005


Ok, more details. We have not paid her yet. She knows she is supposed to walk her. Because I remember telling her what side Molly heels on.

I think she even comes in, because she's left notes for us in the house.

The big issue is, if she's exposed as a fraud before we get our house keys back, I don't want her to go in a tiff and get them duplicated and such. So it's a bit of Cloak and Dagger until we can be sure that she KNOWS she's supposed to walk Molly between such and such time.

We have tried to get in contact with her over the phone, but have only got her answering machine so far.

Thanks for all the tips. Will update when some resolution has come from this.
posted by eurasian at 3:52 PM on March 11, 2005


I think she even comes in, because she's left notes for us in the house.

I was about to post that we used to communicate daily with our dog walker via notes. We get a note when we got home saying "H did double duty today, #1 and #2. Frolicked and played with neighbor's dog." But now that you say that the walker has left notes, how do you know she didn't also take her out? We used to watch our dog via web cam too, but rarely saw our dog walker as we had the refresh at something like 30 seconds. Just curious.
posted by terrapin at 4:01 PM on March 11, 2005


if she's exposed as a fraud before we get our house keys back, I don't want her to go in a tiff and get them duplicated and such.

Unless you're mistaken about the facts (an important caveat, as others have noted), she's already proved herself irresponsible and untrustworthy. For all you know, she's already copied the key or left it out somewhere where any friend or roommate of hers would have been able to copy it. For your own peace of mind, just assume it's compromised. Buy a new lock now (hardware store, $12-20 for a basic model), then have the conversation with her. If your concerns are assuaged by her explanation, store the spare for the day when you are in fact done with her services. On the other hand, if you need to fire her on the stop it'll take 15 minutes and a phillips-head screwdriver to swap in the new one in as soon as she leaves. The old key is rendered irrelevant.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:50 PM on March 11, 2005


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