News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, April 18, 2012
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- A family wants answers after an owner of a local kennel failed to call them when their dog ran away.
"She was like my little shadow. It's just hard to realize she isn't coming back," said Suzanne Fowley through tears.
Izzy went missing from the "Cat's Meow" kennel in North Augusta while her family was on vacation.
Fowley says she chose the kennel because she believed it was good fit for her 18-month-old beagle mix.
"I liked the idea of her being let out every couple hours to run around, so that's why we choose this place," she said.
The Fowleys left town during Masters week for a family vacation. They only found out Izzy was missing when they came back into town a week later.
"She had run away the day before. They told me she was gone, had a bad week there and wasn't social with the other dogs," Fowley said.
The owner of the Cat's Meow told Fowley that Izzy was anti-social and even bit someone. Fowley says her pet suffered from separation anxiety because she says that was completely out of character for their loving pet.
"My first question is why hadn't you called us sooner?" Fowley said.
She says had the owner called her, then she would have had family pick up Izzy. However, no one contacted the family until they came back into town.
News 12 On Your Side found the owner and asked why she failed to contact the family when their dog started acting strangely and when she disappeared.
Elizabeth Owens: "Did you call her and let her know her dog was having a panic attack or anxiety or something bad?"
Erika Roberge: "No I didn't. I deal with this with other dogs."
Roberge later told our camera she regrets not calling the Fowleys and plans to call pet owners in the future when their dogs don't adapt well to her kennel.
In Georgia, kennels are regulated by the State Department of Agriculture. Kennels in the Peach State must undergo inspections, require licenses and even must fill out documentation when a dog goes missing.
There are no regulations for kennel operators in South Carolina.
"It's really a shame. I think there needs to be heighten laws so that animals are protected," said Loretta Emmons of Heartsong Animal Rescue.
Emmons says kennels in South Carolina should be regulated the same way as Georgia.
Unfortunately, the Fowleys found Izzy dead along a road not far from the kennel later. They hope their story will serve as warning to other pet owners to really do your research before leaving your pet with a stranger.
Emmons recommends thoroughly inspecting a kennel before leaving your pet there. Also, make sure there are double fences to prevent pets from escaping. She also says to make sure the staff seems to genuinely enjoy being around your pet.
Also, consider leaving you pet with your local veterinarian since they do fall under regulations.