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Wag Hotels Sued for Pet Mistreatment and Neglect

Posted by Eric G. Young | Jan 21, 2024 | 0 Comments

Pets hold a special place in the hearts of millions around the world, serving as loyal companions and cherished family members. The bond between us and our furry, feathery, or scaly friends is built on a foundation of unconditional love, trust, and companionship. For many, pets offer a source of joy, comfort, and emotional support, creating a unique and irreplaceable connection. The significance people place on their pets goes beyond the superficial; it becomes a profound relationship that enriches their lives in countless ways. If you mess with that relationship, you do so at your own peril.

This is the lesson that Wags Hotels, Inc. ("Wags") learned the hard way on January 16 when the company was sued in San Francisco Superior Court in a class action lawsuit alleging it returned customers pets to them neglected, injured, and even covered in feces. Wags markets its facilities throughout California as a full service boarding, grooming, day care, and spa experience for pets. The company website represents Wags as having "the best people with the biggest hearts." The company website goes on to say:

"We believe in the power of the bond between humans and animals. Not only are our handlers trained and experienced caretakers - we are all huge animal lovers!"

According to the lawsuit, Wags' advertising about the quality of care of its facilities was deceptive, falsely marketing its facilities as luxurious, sanitary, and safe places for pets. The complaint alleges that Wages is “often overpopulated with pets and understaffed." Pets are returned to their owners smelling of urine and feces with both minor and severe injuries, often requiring veterinary care. As if these allegations are not damning enough, the complaint also alleges that whistleblowers from within Wages have complained about moldy dog food as well as unclean and unsafe conditions. The complaint contends that Wags' mistreatment of the pets in its care may rise to the level of federal and state law violations. The complaint is entitled Piper et al. v. Wag Hotels, No. CGC-24-611665, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court. 

Wags is not alone among companies that purport to offer large-scale pet services. In late 2023, whistleblowers came forward to allege extreme instances of animal cruelty against PetSmart. You can read about these allegations here and here. Allegations such as these against PetSmart were nothing new. Instances of the gross mistreatment of animals have plagued PetSmart for years, including a 2022 report that dead animals routinely piled up in PetSmart's freezers and were disposed of by store employees. In 2021, the federal government cited both PetCo and PetSmart for animal cruelty, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ("PETA").

Wags is just the most recent pet services company to come under intense scrutiny. If the allegations against Wags are true, the company should be put out of business and pay substantial damages. 

Animal rights are evolving in the direction of greater civil and criminal protections. Young Law Group is a progressive firm that devotes its pro bono hours and a portion of the firm's profits each year to animal rights and welfare charities. We commend the tireless devotion of those who work for the betterment of the lives of pets and wildlife, but we condemn in the strongest possible terms any neglect or mistreatment of animals and their habitat. Animal cruelty is anti-social behavior and inexcusable...period.

About the Author

Eric G. Young

Mr. Young began representing seriously injured persons in 1997. Since that time, Mr. Young has worked on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, so he has experience working with the "other side," which he feels gives him a unique perspective on how to best represent injured person. Over his...

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