Dog dies in pet sitter's care

Owner found sitter through Rover

A pet owner's dog died while under the care of a pet sitter from a popular app.

Abraham Lazcano has owned Gus Gus the dog for nearly seven years. He went out of town last month and hired a sitter through Rover, an online service. The sitter he chose had good reviews online.

Lazcano says his dog was left unsupervised one night in the sitter's backyard and drowned in the pool.

13 Action News reached out to the sitter for comment. Over the phone, she admitted the dog was left alone in the backyard for a few minutes. She said the dog had pottied out back before without any problems and the area is well lit. She believes the dog had a medical episode and fell into the pool.

A spokesperson for Rover says the sitter's account has been deactivated and Rover has sent out this statement:

"As dog lovers, we are deeply saddened by this tragic accident. Millions of services have been booked on Rover and while situations like this are incredibly rare, we take them very seriously. Prior to this, the sitter had not received any negative reviews, but we have deactivated the sitter’s services as we expect the highest level of professionalism and commitment to dog safety. We know that the loss of a dog is the loss of a family member, and we will continue to work with Gus Gus’s family to support them in this time of need.

Regarding your question on Rover’s training and screening, sitters go through a stringent approval process before listing their services. They must pass a general background check and a quiz about caring for dogs on Rover, provide detailed personal information, submit a profile about their pet care experience and pass a hand-review by Rover sitter quality specialists. We also monitor sitter behavior to ensure they continue to meet our standards, including quick response times to pet parents, positive Meet & Greet feedback, and customer ratings of 4 or 5 stars."

Lazcano is worried about other pet owners using the site and the safety of their pets.

A Rover spokesperson says pet sitters go through background checks and several other screenings.

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