Hidden Cameras Show Pet Caregivers Leaving Early

If you are a pet owner you know that your pets are a very valued part of your family.  Similar to your children when you leave your pets with a caregiver, you are entrusting that caregiver with an important and valued part of your family.

ABC Action News in Tampa Florida found that some pet caregivers are not giving the love and companionship to your pets that you expect when you paid for their services.

Using hidden cameras, investigators wanted to find out if in-home pet caregivers really cared for your pets for as long as they claim. They asked several pet owners to set up 30-minute visits with local pet caregivers.  The visits cost $15 to $23 dollars, depending on the caregiver.
As described on their website Mary Alexander of St. Pete Beach hired “Give Me Your Paw” pet services to care for her two labs for “approximately-30 minute”

“All I wanted was for her to give them a half-hour of TLC,” said Alexander.
On the first day when the caregivers arrived, the hidden cameras show she took the dogs out for a walk. But after just 4 minutes, she came back in, filled out a comment card, and took off.  The total time she spent at the house was just 10 minutes.  The next day, she was in and out in just 8 minutes.
“If someone told me they were going to give me a half-hour massage and they stopped at 15 minutes, I’d be a little angry,” Alexander said.

Investigators also looked at other home pet caregivers as well.  Joey Trowbridge has been using Wags and Wiggles for years to watch her cats: Liam, Lola, and Lucy.

“I travel on business often, so it’s kind of a requirement for me,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge’s own security cameras caught the caregivers skipping out early again and again. Instead of the 30 minutes she says she paid for, her video’s time stamps show the sitter leaving in 15 minutes, 6 minutes, and in one visit, after just 4 minutes.

Describing her first reaction to the video Trowbridge said “I was like, ‘You’ve got to me kidding me.’ This can’t be right,”

Investigators had hidden cameras rolling as “Wags and Wiggles” sat for another pet owner in Tampa over two days. In these visits, “Wags and Wiggles” delivered exactly what they promised, walking the dog for a full 30 minutes.

“Alone At Home” pet services in Largo also gave the dog the full 30 minutes of attention they promised.

“These are my babies. They couldn’t tell me, “Hey mom, she’s spending five minutes here.”  I didn’t know. I had to find out on the security camera,” Trowbridge said.

The Better Business Bureau says anyone using a pet caregiver should get in writing exactly what you expect your caregiver to do, and you should ask for references before you hire someone.

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