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Dog drowns at doggy day care, staff doesn't notice

Dog drowns at doggy day care, staff doesn't notice

By Matt Grant. CREATED Jun 20, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 20, 2012

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral family is demanding answers after their 14-month old Biewer Yorkshire Terrier, Callie, drowned at a doggy day care Wednesday.

"She was cuddly and clingy," said Alda Saul, the dog's owner. "And she loved to sleep with us and loved to be with us."

Weighing just 3-pounds, 3-ounces, and barely bigger than a remote control, Callie's owner happily kept a close eye on her.

"Great dog?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Oh yeah," said Saul. "Definitely."

On Wednesday, Saul took Callie to Pet Coral Resort and Veterinary located at 924 Del Prado South in Cape Coral.

It was supposed to be a routine temperment evaluation to see if Callie would be a good fit for boarding and day care. But a few hours after the dog was dropped off Saul was told to come back and meet staff out in front.

"Well I knew something was wrong," said Saul. "But i never dreamed that she had drowned and was dead."

Employees let Callie play in a fenced-in pool with other larger dogs. At some point she drowned but supervisors in charge of watching the pool never noticed.  

"It's just like a little toddler," said Saul. "You don't leave them alone near water."

"If they had been watching the animals she would not be dead," said Saul's sister Janet LeBoeuf.

"You hold them responsible?," asked Grant.

"I do," said LeBoeuf who called Pet Coral negligent. "I do indeed."

Staff discovered Callie was missing only after a head count was taken after the dogs were done swimming. So how did Callie's drowning go unnoticed?

"I don't know," said Pet Coral manager Terry Converse. "We can't armchair quarterback. We really don't know what happened."

Converse says he feels terrible about what happened but says this is just an isolated incident. 

"We're going to watch the dogs to the best of our ability," said Converse. "I don't think there's anything we can do to prevent an accident."

"From an accountability aspect," said Grant, "you have a dog die in your care you have employees watching the pool how does something like this happen?"

"No idea," said Converse. "That's what we're going to look into."

But Saul's family feels their dog's death could have been prevented if employees had kept a closer watch.

"We're all very sad in the house here and some are very angry," said Saul. "Because you just took her [Callie] for an evaluation and she didn't come home. It was just unbelievable."

Pet Coral says they're reviewing their procedures.

The family will have a necropsy performed on the dog Thursday. They plan to meet with an attorney and could end up suing.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com