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Dog fight at dog day care raises concern about staff protocol

Posted at 3:51 PM, Mar 21, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Disturbing surveillance video of a dog fight that broke out at a dog day care surfaced on Facebook, generating more than 174,000 views in three days before it was taken down Tuesday.

The 42 second video shows two dogs fighting at Green Paws Unlimited in Grand Rapids, located on Plainfield, mid-afternoon on Oct. 12, 2016. The video shows two dogs barking at each other, then as one of the dogs starts following the other, a third dog intervenes and A fight breaks out between that dog and the other. No staff is present until about five seconds after the fight breaks out, and it takes about 25 seconds for three staff members to separate the dogs with a smack.

The video raised concerns among more than 1,700 people commenting on Facebook about how the fight broke out and then how it was handled. In response, the owner of Green Paws Unlimited Peggysue Pearson wrote FOX 17 the following statement in part stating that her staff received further training because of this incident:

"Our priority is to provide a safe environment for dogs to interact and we were all saddened by what happened.  Please know that the dogs in this video were provided with emergency care and the owners were contacted.  The video was reviewed to determine how we could take additional measures to prevent anything like this from happening in the future.  Although every person on our team was provided initial training, it was clear that we could do more to better equip them.  As a result of this, we implemented additional and ongoing training and certification focused on dog behavior and specific play group management.  Please know that our team of people care deeply and are all committed to providing a safe and healthy environment."

The Facebook page No Place Like Home Rescue of Michigan in Rochester initially posted this video March 18. The rescue owner told FOX 17 her friend owned the husky involved in the fight, then removed the video after our questioning March 21.

Watch the video in full here:

We also spoke with former Wyoming Police Officer Randy Adams, who trained police K-9s for 21 years and now is the owner of Adams K-9 boarding, training, and day care for dogs. He said staff should always be present monitoring dogs in day care, adding there should be toys for some of the dogs as well.

“They should have someone monitoring the dogs," said Adams. "It looks like from the video it probably could have been prevented if someone was in there to interrupt it: a couple of dogs were barking at each other prior to this occurring.”

Adams says when someone is looking for a dog day care, boarding, or training facility, you should trust your gut and look for someone with at least 10 years of experience working with animals.

“I think the best thing is to visit the place, spend a little bit of time there, watch what’s going on, and if your gut feeling says this isn’t a safe place then go somewhere else," said Adams.

“With dog trainers, people that take care of dogs, there’s no state certification to be a dog trainer. So that’s something you’ve got to go by more of the person’s experience with the dogs.”