While going away as a pet parent, the first thing people research is how to find a reputable pet sitter. This search leads many to the pet sitting website Rover. But as of recent years, handfuls of pet parents are experiencing their worst nightmare while using the service.
Their pets have gone missing, or even more unimaginable, they get the news that their pet has passed away while in a pet sitter’s care.
This is the case of what happened to a two-year-old dog named Togo from Houston, Texas. In late June, Togo’s mom, Annette Leturia, dropped off Togo and her other dog, Liam, with a Rover sitter for a week-long vacation.
Days into the vacation, Togo was inexplicably found dead on the bathroom floor at the sitter’s house. Months later, Leturia still has no idea what happened to her beloved dog.
While the site does offer background checks on its sitters, some customers question their thoroughness. After Leturia faced the death of Togo, she decided to have an independent background check done on the sitter. What she found was startling: charges for grand theft and fraud.
“All I can do for Togo is to share that story, to warn others so this hopefully doesn’t happen again,” Leturia told CNN Business.
In other cases, dogs have gone to Rover sitters and are never seen again. This is unfortunately what occurred with Nia Morgan’s puppy, Zorro, earlier this year in Illinois.
The day before Morgan was set to return from her trip, she was told that Zorro “got loose” and that the sitter was unable to find him. It turns out that Zorro had actually gone missing on the first day Morgan was gone and the sitter had been fabricating updates for her the entire time.
Rover had initially offered a $100 reward for the safe return of the dog and also helped coordinate flyers and an Amber alert robocall in the area. But to this day, Zorro is still missing.
Plenty of people use the service without issue — but it does have a dark side, as shown in a recent in-depth report of the company from CNN Business.
“We feel terribly that some pet parents believe we’ve fallen short of our obligation to them,” said Rover spokesperson Dave Rosenbaum in the article. “We’ll continue to work hard to live up to our community’s expectations.”
More than 2 million pet parents have turned to Rover’s network of “trusted sitters” to book services like house sitting, daycare, and boarding, according to the company.
“Rover continues to provide blanket statements to the media about their support for my case and others similar to mine,” Morgan recently posted on Facebook. “It’s time they actually step up and make a change.”