Indianapolis dog kennel denies liability for pet's injuries
COMPLAINT: Mary Unger, Indianapolis
"In October, one of my dogs, a 12-pound terrier mix, was at Animalia Inc.'s Dog Daycare and suffered trauma and injuries from a mauling by one or more dogs. The injuries included puncture wounds to her lungs, bites, scratches and bruises.
"They told me my dog was caught underfoot by the other dogs and was only scratched and scared, and that I should take her home and she'd be fine.
"However, after leaving Animalia, I noticed swelling on her back. My dog appeared to be in shock and barely able to move, and it was necessary to take her to the veterinarian. They considered her injuries life threatening, and she required extensive medical treatment for four days.
"Although I only paid $13 for one day's care, the veterinarian expenses were $3,201. I contacted Ailigh Vanderbush [the director] of Animalia and advised her of my dog's injuries. I believe Animalia did not exercise due care to protect my dog. Animalia claims they are not liable, as I signed a liability agreement.
"I accept liability for minor scratches and bites, but I believe this denial of liability doesn't apply under these circumstances."
DESIRED RESOLUTION: "I believe Animalia should reimburse the $3,201 in veterinarian expenses."
RESPONSE: Ailigh Vanderbush, executive director, Animalia Inc. Dog Daycare
"I was in the playroom when the incident happened and immediately separated the dogs.
"Upon examining Blossom [the member's dog], no blood was present, which suggested it was not a life-threatening emergency. Blossom was kept isolated on one side of the daycare to allow her to rest.
"I explained to the member what happened and together we re-examined Blossom. By this time, very little blood appeared from a puncture wound by the front shoulder. We observed a puncture on her hindquarter and some scratches on her belly, but neither was bleeding.
"Each client is required to read, initial and sign a liability agreement. As the agreement clearly states, 'Animalia is not liable for injuries sustained to your pet while attending dog daycare.'
"While any injury to our clients is regrettable, it does not mean the staff did not fulfill their duties, nor does it mean that the signed liability agreement does not apply.
"Animalia's insurance company was contacted and the claim denied due to the signed liability agreement. Animalia refunded all remaining days on the member's daycare package and refunded Blossom's previous days."
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