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- A Danville couple is questioning the vetting process of walkers hired through a popular dog-walking app after home video appears to capture a man kicking and whipping their family pet. 

What makes them worry even more is that the on-demand dog-walking service, Wag, only conducts background checks on applicants once before they are hired and does not do continuous checks.

Annual background checks are not legally required of dog walking services, but according to Bloomberg, the practice of periodically checking has been expanding into the healthcare, financial, manufacturing and retailing industries.

The couple checked their home surveillance video from Dec. 17, the date of the last walk. The video recorded Vaurus showing up to their home with four other dogs. Wag policy clearly states that customers’ dogs are given “a one-on-one experience,” meaning Vaurus was already in violation of company policy. 

“There are just too many dogs for him to handle,” Brown said as he watched the video again with 2 Investigates.

A few minutes in, the video shows Vaurus approach Ollie from behind, prompting the dog to snap and make contact with the Vaurus’ arm. 

 

The dog owners, Miranda Fulks and David Brown, feel the dog walking industry should follow suit. 

“These people are in your homes,” said Brown. “They’re walking your dog. They take care of a part of your family.” 

Fulks added: “I had no idea, when you read [Wag’s] app, they say they vigorously background check their people. It does not say they only do that once.”

Like many dog owners, Brown and Fulks relied on the Los Angeles-based Wag, founded in 2014, to help walk their two dogs, Ollie and Maggie. They say a few weeks went by without problems until the dog walker, Adam Vaurus, 37, called them about an incident during a walk. Shortly after the call, they also noticed that Ollie was acting differently.

“He threw up blood twice and just laid there,” Fulks said. “[The vet] said the specks of blood were signs of severe stress.”

In an e-mail, Vaurus told 2 Investigates that the dog bit him and he “needed to test Ollie and make sure he understood who the pack leader was.” Over the course of about 12 minutes in the surveillance video, Vaurus is seen chasing Ollie around the house, growling at the dog and kneeing the animal’s chest. Video appears to show Vaurus kick and whip Ollie with a leash.

Story courtesy of KTVU News, original transcript can be found here:  http://www.ktvu.com/news/wag-dog-walker-charged-with-animal-cruelty-customers-concerned-about-industry-background-checks

01.10.2019
 
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