KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Missouri animal kennel and daycare is being investigated for animal neglect and abuse after the death of a dog in its care.
Before going out of town for a wedding, the Rayboulds dropped off their 14-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog at the Winding River Pet Village in Kansas City. They did not know that when they said goodbye it would be the last time they saw their dog Luna alive.
"I regret going to the wedding. I regret leaving her there," said Will Raybould. “I loved her, and she loved us, and we took such good care of her, and we thought we were doing the right thing taking her to this place."
Raybould said the staff at Winding River Pet Village lost track of her Luna, who was left outside for well over an hour on June 16, when the temperature was 95 degrees and the heat index over 100. She said Luna was found in distress, "and she was trying to get somewhere where she could find a little bit of shade, and she was able to get herself under this little ramp."
"I cannot believe this happened. It was so needless. It was because no one was watching her along with many other dogs that day, and she died from that."
Another dog owner, Maria Canant, said she got a similar phone call from Winding River Pet Village while on vacation in 2016. Her dog Nina overheated and died, but in her case, Nina was inside her kennel.
“When we went to go visit the kennel where Nina was kept, most of the days we found it to be very hot. I was sweating. I had trouble breathing in the kennel,” said Canant. “We didn't realize the kennels weren't air conditioned fully."
In the most recent incident, when KCMO Animal Control investigated Luna's death, the temperature inside the kennels was 85 degrees, almost as hot as the 90 degree temperature outside.
Animal Control reports there were only two attendants and a groomer taking care of more than 50 dogs, but sources estimate there were nearly 100.
“They bring their pets to us. They entrust us, and we dropped the ball,” said Winding River Pet Village co-owner Becky Walker.
She and co-owner Heather Best told WDAF they want to take full responsibility and said they have made changes to the way they take care of the animals in their facility.
“We have put in new sprinkler systems already," Walker said. "We are putting up a new shelter. We hired two new employees today to make sure we have more people on staff. They are going into a training program for extreme weather . We are just going to do everything we can possibly to make sure that this never happens again."
KCMO Animal Control is continuing to investigate. Investigators expect there will be several violations that come out of this investigation.