A Houston dog boarding facility is responding to claims that it lost one dog and killed another within a 48-hour time period.
City Canine says the families of those two dogs are partly to blame. According to the facility, the incidents are not related in any way.
KHOU 11 News broke the story Wednesday, featuring Carissa and Robert Wojehowski, whose German Shepherd Luxor went missing during a stay at the facility.
The Wojehowskis say they searched for their dog for two weeks until a man claiming to be a former employee told them their dog actually died at the facility.
They were heartbroken.
Photos: Family's beloved dog disappears
On Thursday, the owner of an English bulldog that died at City Canine decided to speak out.
Ryan Ciarrocchi said he trusted City Canine to watch after his dog named Phil.
He claims he didn’t find out Phil had died until he showed up at the facility to get his dog.
“The owner came driving up and took me inside the fence and told me I have no way to explain this, but Phil’s dead,” recalled Ciarrocchi.
Ciarrocchi claims the owner admitted something to him.
“He said, I’ve been having issues with the AC all day. I’m trying to get it fixed. When I went into the room it was really hot where the body was,” explained Ciarrocchi.
The facility said that is not true and points to an “inconclusive” necropsy performed at Texas A&M.
Ciarrocchi said he is convinced that the remains may have been tampered with.
The facility would not comment when our report first aired.
However, the owners have since had a change of heart. City Canine released the following statement Thursday:
“CityCanine wishes to express our deepest sympathies and regrets for the loss of the dogs mentioned in your recent news story.
We train about five hundred dogs every year, and have been in operation for over ten years. We have never had a situation like this occur...needless to say, it has shaken us to our foundation. that said, there are several factual errors in your report that need to be set straight. First, and most importantly, the death of Phil (the English Bulldog) was through no fault on our part.
Phil was brought to us for boarding; we were instructed to keep him active as he was quite obese. (The breed standard for English Bulldogs is 50 pounds. Phil weighed in at 66 pounds.) Phil was not a puppy: he was a 3-4 year old under-exercised, over-weight adult dog. The necropsy report done by the vets at A&M found cause of death to be inclusive...certainly, there was no finding of dehydration or heat exhaustion.
With respect to Luxor, as far as we know, he is alive somewhere in our neighborhood. We continue to search for him, but locating him has been complicated by the fact that his owners hadn't microchipped him. Rob and Carissa have been long-time clients; in fact, we were asked by them to be put in their wills to care for Luxor if anything were to happen to them. The fact that such a long-term relationship with such good clients has come to this is crushing to us.
These events have prompted several changes here at CityCanine: first, any English Bulldog, Pug, or French Bulldog that comes here must have a vet's release. Second: ALL dogs must be chipped. Some parties, it would seem, are trying hard to sensationalize this situation. The situation is not sensational: it's tragic. And we are determined that it doesn't happen again.”