Dog mauled to death at pet boarding facility; Holladay family pushes for change to Utah law

Jul 4, 2018, 12:30 AM | Updated: 7:52 am

HOLLADAY, Utah – A Holladay family is still trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of their dog, Christa, after she was mauled to death by two dogs at a pet boarding facility in Murray.

“I coached a vicious sport but this was brutal,” Ron McBride, Christa’s owner said.

The retired Utes coach said he and his family chose to board their pet at Unleashed Dog Hotel back in May while attending a wedding. But a day into their German Shepard’s stay, they received an unexpected phone call.

“I spoke with the owner, who said there was an unfortunate incident, and Christa had been killed,” Mark Redican, McBride’s son-in-law said.

The family later found out that staff at the facility thought they cleared out a play area to allow two non-social dogs to roam, but accidentally left Christa in there, which lead to the attack.

“Knowing she was doing nothing but peacefully sleeping and getting attacked and dragged from that space and getting mauled to death over 15 minutes is just unimaginable,” Redican said.

The incident was all caught on the facility’s camera — something the family got a hold of after filing a report with Animal Control.

“They basically said the facility had not broken a law,” Vicky McBride said.

West Jordan police opened an investigation and got the county prosecutor’s office involved, but the family said they are hitting a roadblock when it comes to what legal action they can take.

“The law views this as taking something to a dry cleaner and see what happens and if you get it back, great. If you don’t, well we’ll give it back to you whatever the value of the dog’s life is at the time of the death,” Redican said.

The family is working to change Utah law in hopes that pets will be viewed as more than just property.

They received a $300 check from the facility which they say they do not plan on cashing. The funds were provided by the owner of the two dogs who they say is just as much a victim in this since he told the facility that his pets cannot interact with other dogs without supervision.

Unleashed Dog Hotel sent KSL this statement:

We are heartbroken and grieve with the Redican family over the loss of their beloved Christa. While the circumstances leading up to the incident were unforeseeable and unexpected we are responsible for an irreparable loss.

We have expressed our apologies and our condolences to the family and have taken measures to ensure this will never happen again.

First, we closed off the crawl space where Christa hid herself. Dogs will no longer be able to enter spaces that are out of sight of supervision.

Second, we have adjusted our daily play schedule to better balance and monitor play groups. We’ve added a nap-time (or a calming period) for all the dogs to help moderate the energy when they go out and play.

Third, we’ve created additional training for our entire staff that is being implemented. Part of this includes hourly head counts.

Fourth, we have changed our policy on special dogs. Any dog with a history of dog aggression will no longer be able to stay with us.

We are devastated by this incident but know our devastation pales in comparison to what Christa’s family is going through. Our hearts go out to them and have recommitted to the task we have before us; atoning for the loss of Christa and better serving our current customers.

Our motto has always been that, “dogs are people too” and we hope that these measures we’ve taken will reassure you that providing a safe environment for your dog is still our top priority.

Unleashed Dog Hotel

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Dog mauled to death at pet boarding facility; Holladay family pushes for change to Utah law