Choosing a Safe Boarding Kennel
It is with a tear in my eye and anger in my heart that I write this.
I have just come back from witnessing a boarding kennel that kept cats in the filthiest, most horrible conditions you can imagine. Well meaning owners left their little treasures in the care of people who treated them like cast off garbage while charging the owners hefty sums of money for "loving, home care."
Animal control has stepped in but I have no doubt that the guardian angels who watch over kitties will provide their own justice.
Since the travel time of summer is upon us, I want to use this opportunity to caution everyone about choosing a boarding kennel and give you a few tips to help you make a good selection. There are many fine kennels but even one like the one I witnessed is one too many - and it doesn't matter whether it's for dogs or cats.
1. Can you visit the kennel?
It's easy to hide behind the internet so never put your pet into a kennel you haven't seen in person. This particular kennel (I won't tell you which one since charges have not as yet been filed) had a very professional web site with wonderful pictures of happy pets frolicking in the grass.
They come to your home or office in a beautifully clean vehicle to pick up and return your dog or cat - for your convenience - with a very professional looking driver.
What you don't get to see are the actual (horrific) lodgings the animals are held in.
2. Will there be someone in attendance of the animals at all times?
I've seen situations where pets are crated and left unattended all day, all night or even for several days and nights. This practice is inhumane and dangerous. Anything can happen. Animals may get scared, sick or worse. The building may catch on fire, a vandal could break in - who knows what could happen and the pets are trapped in cages.
Warehouses, factories and apartment buildings have night watchmen - why shouldn't your pet? Flimsy excuses like "a cleaning person comes in during the night and checks them" is not good enough.
3. Is there a vet on call?
Many vets these days are putting in boarding kennels and that's a good thing but at the very least, you should preauthorize a vet (either your own or the one the kennel uses) to handle any emergencies that come up.
4. Does your hotel accept pets?
If you choose to travel with your animal companion instead of board, you'll find many lodgings that let you bring your pet but always check the restrictions. Pets not by your side are not safe from harm.
Some hotels will let your pet stay in your room. Others require that it be kept in a kennel with all the other pets. We know of one hotel that requires that your dog or cat be crated and kept outside the room on the deck or porch.
Your pet is part of your family. You wouldn't trust your child to an unknown person in unknown surroundings so think twice before handing over the care of your animal companion to strangers.