Wag and Rover, nicknamed the “Uber for puppies” and “canine bnb,” offer on-call for canine on foot and dog sitting offerings thru your cellphone. The favorite apps have made it less complicated than ever to locate someone to walk and watch your pets, but a growing number of stories of dogs being mistreated are raising new questions about how nicely these apps screen their walkers and sitters.
Colleen Nolan blames Rover for the death of her dog. Nolan informed CBS News’ Chip Reid she built her lifestyles around her 12-yr-old Japanese chin named Mooshu, adopted at eight weeks antique. When a work trip came up closing year, Nolan stated she turned into involved about leaving him, Mooshu changed into now not simply antique, he changed into blind.
“He becomes the only dog that changed into intended for me,” Nolan stated. “I desired to ensure that he was cozy in his surroundings. That he stayed inside the domestic. So I reached out to Rover to try to find a sitter.”
Rover and Wag advertise “rigorous screening” and “historical past checks.” Nolan says she chose a Rover sitter who had badges on her profile for operating with senior and special needs dogs. Nolan stated she gave the sitter particular instructions: Mooshu become to be taken out of the house simplest for brief walks. Those commands, she later found out while she was given an emergency text from the sitter, was not noted.
“I referred to as she and I said ‘what passed off?’ And she stated Moosh fell off my porch,” Nolan said. “I stated, ‘What do you mean ‘your porch?'”
According to Nolan, the sitter then informed her that Mooshu had fallen memories. Rover, she stated, supplied to cover half of the prices following Mooshu’s loss of life including vet bills, cremation and the value of a brand new canine, totaling $2,600, however with one circumstance: signal a strict confidentiality agreement. Nolan says she “by no means called them to lower back.”
Rover advertises that fewer than 20 percentage of sitters who observe are accepted. They say all must pass a background check and be approved via a group of experts.
“I thought that with Rover announcing that they handiest choose a small few and they hand assessment every this type of sitters that actually those badges needed to mean that they vetted that,” Nolan stated.
Nolan’s isn’t the handiest case. CBS News spoke to 14 households who say their dogs died at the same time as within the care of Rover or Wag sitters. Twelve of those incidents worried Rover sitters. One person said she observed her Rover sitter had a crook document and customers of each app instructed us they had also been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements following incidents.
In December, a Wag walker was caught on surveillance video kicking and intimidating a dog. The Better Business Bureau is currently investigating Wag over claims made in their advertisements, consisting of that walkers are “vetted through a rigorous screening system.”
In a statement to CBS News, Wag informed us that in addition to background checks, they acquire real-time facts via the app to frequently verify walkers. Rover advised us sitters have also to offer snapshots, testimonials and skip a protection quiz.
Pet care enterprise experts including Carmen Rustenbeck say the industry is beginning to undertake more excellent policies. However, for now, puppy proprietors have to be looking for pet care vendors with export licenses.
“Just pasting a badge on the website isn’t going to paintings anymore, they are going to ought to again that up with some type of education,” Rustenback said. “If you had an infant, might you take delivery of a person on an app to take care of your infant? Or might you do extra investigation? And that is what I inspire all pet proprietors to do.”
Rover and Wag informed us that incidents like Nolan’s are “uncommon” but declined to offer precise numbers. In a report acquired by using CBS News from a lawsuit against Rover in California, the app says they don’t keep track on their platform of how many puppies have died. They also advised us that the nicely-being of pets is their “top priority” and they may be “constantly operating to improve protection.”
Wag informed us that they’re “committed to constantly enhancing their provider” and “care deeply approximately the safety” of puppies.