January 21, 2008
To whom it may concern,
I recently stopped working at Kennelwood Villages off of Kratky Road for several reasons, including the neglect and abuse going on. I was wondering if you could look into this, or if you know anyone else who could. Ill describe my honest opinion of the business.
Unfortunately for animals, they cannot speak, but if you can empathize then you will be able to understand exactly what the animal feels. There have been some unspeakable things going on at Kennelwood that the animals wish they could tell you.
Even though I had been working there almost a year, I noticed the wrong-doings in the beginning. I stayed there because I needed to have a way of gaining income, and also because I wanted to document my experience at the place.
I have several cameras full of vital pictures taken at Kennelwood. Pictures of big dogs shoved into tiny cages. Pictures of feces accumulation in the "Personal Playtime" yards. Pictures of the unsafe facilities. Pictures of dogs without water. Pictures of one of the Danforth's dogs that was left to die. Pictures of dogs overloaded in camp. Pictures of dogs left in dirty cages for hours. Essentially cold, hard evidence.
A few months after I started, I noticed that many animals do not get the services they pay for. The only proof of service is the door card. If you provide the service, you initial by which service on what day. It is very easy to lie in this respect.
One of my most emotional subjects was the Pet Activities Department. That was the department I was hired into. "Personal Playtime" is supposed to be 10 minutes of personal, one-on-one playtime with a dog or cat. During the tours that Customer Service provides, I have heard many times that Personal Playtime is a "guaranteed 10-15 minutes of one-on-one playtime." Most of the time these dogs are "play schooled" which entails two employees working together, one gets a dog, the other watches the dogs in the yard. When the first employee comes out with a dog, the other goes back in and gets another dog. They do this up and down a run until it is done. Not only is this not the service they state it is, but the time the dogs are outside isn't always even 10 minutes. The dogs eliminate in the yards, and it is not picked up each time dogs are taken out. The result is dogs being in feces and urine accumulated concrete yards, time depending on how fast the employees "get the run done." That's your "Personal Playtime;" your guaranteed ten to fifteen minutes of one-on-one.
The Pet Activities Manager, Jennifer, actually tells her employees to do this. I have brought this up to the General Manager, Tami, as well as the Vice President of Operations, Barb. They did not do anything about it, nor did they seem to care.
Another part of my department is Day Camp. On Kennelwood's website, this service is decribed as: "Happy Campers enjoy romping and playing with their canine buddies all afternoon, in supervised PlayGroups of 10-14 dogs of similar size and temperament."
This is not true either. Most of the time, the average size of a camp is 23 dogs. The dogs are supposed to be grouped according to similarities in size and temperament. This is not the case either. A lot of the time, you'll have 120 pound, uncontrollable labs running around with puppies. One time, I had an uncontrollable 200 pound mastiff in a camp of 30+ dogs! Almost every day I worked there I was in camp, and there have only been about 10 times when I was "satisfied" with my camp. Most of the time, there are uncontrollable dogs running around for 4 hours, attacking or humping other dogs. This is not even the half of it.
On the Kennelwood website, this statement is bolded: "Professional DayCamp Counselors never leave PlayGroups unattended."
Most of the employees don't actually supervise. Many of them smoke marijuana or drink alcoholic beverages, while listening to music, instead. Two of my co-workers actually admitted to "getting smashed" in camp and both of the proceeded to jump the fence, leaving both of their camps unattended. Most of the time the employees don't try to prevent or even stop fights. They'll lazily sit down and talk to each other, and allow dogs to eat other dogs feces and hump. I could keep going on
Another thing about Day Camp that customers do not know is what "Day Care" really is. Dogs that are deemed as "dangerous" (this takes much effort, including talking to many managers about the dog's behavior in camp) go to Day Care. If there is a camp on the side yards, then Day Care dogs get put in single runs for 4 hours. If there is no camp on the side yards, Day Care dogs stay inside in cages all day. They may get walked once or twice. However, the owners are unaware of the actual circumstances. They pay $23 a day for their dog to go to Day Camp, when in all actuality, they stay inside in a cage.
The main priority of most of the employees, management included, is to get their work done. Whether this be done "efficiently" or not is up to the employee. Jobs are not really supervised. It seems that to be a manager, you have to sit around and act like you do not know what is going on, and get paid more.
"Trust, Commitment, Loving Care?" I think not! You can't trust your fellow co-workers. They steal, lie, and gossip. Even the managers! Commitment? To their paychecks. Loving Care? Yeah, if you consider your dog being yelled at and pulled around loving care.
Often, owners come in with specific instructions for the care of their pets. This includes matters related to medication, feeding, watering, and other things. Often, pets have their medications skipped. Food often gets knocked over and falls below the grates. If that food had medication in it, the medicine was not delivered to the animal. In regards to specific instructions, I've seen many female dogs in heat in cages next to males. This causes much anxiety for both animals.
The "Danforth dog" I brought up earlier was a dog that the owners of Kennelwood brought in to let die. The Danforths have many animals, but when the animals get sick they are sent to Kennelwood and stay there until they die.
Woody was a big, old black lab. Every time I saw him, he was laying on pillows and blankets, unable to move. He had a cut on his front leg that was bleeding on the pillows and blankets, and he would always lick up the blood. You could smell this dog all the way from his door, which he was about seven feet away from. It smelled like rotting flesh.
I asked the Boarding department about him. The answer I got was that he was staying at Kennelwood until he died. I asked why he wasn't put to sleep, since he couldn't get up to eliminate or drink water. I was told that Barb, the Vice President of Operations, questioned the Danforths about this issue, and the Danforths threatened Barb with her job if she took matters into her own hands.
I literally saw him there for about two weeks. Same place, different blankets. I began taking pictures of him a few days before his disappearance. I came to take more a few days later, but he was gone! I asked around and found out that he was put to sleep, unknowingly to the Danforths. Poor old Woody!
Other notable facts:
The runs are extremely noisy and if an animal is crying out in pain, it often goes unnoticed.
Animals with kennel cough aren't always separated.
Many animals that come in are too thin to the point where you feel sick to your stomach.
There have been pets that were not licensed to be there. One year, there was a miniature horse that boarded. Often, they take rodents, birds, and just about whatever they can get money from.
The cages come with an outdoor run, but the doors are often closed, so the animals cannot eliminate without eliminating in their 3 foot x 4 foot area.
Runs are extremely smelly and are often wet with urine.
The yards and runs are not cleaned in the winter.
Employees do not always clean with bleach.
Animals are often put in cages too small for them for extended periods of time. They are sometimes even boarded overnight in these small cages.
Animals that die while at Kennelwood are put into the same freezer as the "Yappy Hour" treats. Sometimes the treats were open while the dog was in the freezer.
The facilities are extremely unsafe.
It is very common to see animals without water. For hours.
Animals are yelled and screamed at, and are handled roughly.
And much, much more!
I don't know if you can do anything with this or not. I was hoping that maybe what I had to say would prompt an investigation. I know this is not extremely well-written, I am reporting this out of the kindness of my heart. I don't want to have anything to do with Kennelwood. I regret working there and am embarrassed accordingly. I hope someone can take these horrible people down!
I thought it'd be important to catch this before they start franchising! They plan on building more businesses like this one! I sure hope someone can stop this!
Thanks and please pass this on to who ever it will be useful to!
Saint Louis, Missouri