Instagram | @kirstenkinch

Woman Goes To Pick Up Dog From Kennel Only To Receive Its Tape-Wrapped Body

Amy Pilkington 6 Oct 2019

I have two dogs, so when I'm going to be away for more than 8-12 hours, I have to find some way to make sure they'll be taken care of.

Thankfully, I can usually conscript a family member to help, but at some point, I'm probably going to have to trust a kennel to take care of my boys.

It can be terrifying to leave your dog in someone else's care.

Instagram | @designerkennelsltd

No matter how much you research a kennel's reputation and check their licenses, leaving your dog in the care of strangers is going to cause anxiety — and sadly, this story about Kirsten Kinch and her dog Nova isn't going to change that for anyone.

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Kirsten and her family were all headed to Iceland for the last few days of 2018.

Instagram | @kirstenkinch

This meant that for the first time, her husky Nova would need to be placed in a kennel for three days.

To add extra anxiety to the situation, Nova had been suffering from colitis and required regular doses of steroids to manage the condition.

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Kirsten chose P&E Boarding Kennels and Cattery in Dublin, which advertised that it would cater to dogs with medication needs.

Facebook | Kirsten Kinch

In her Facebook post about the incident, Kirsten explained:

"I gave multiple written and verbal instructions on how the steroid was to be given separately to her food and that she needs to get this twice a day."

She also repeated the post as a negative review on the kennel's Facebook page.

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The family went on their trip, returning New Year's Eve.

Facebook | Kirsten Kinch

When Kirsten and her mum arrived at the kennel and said which dog they were there to pick-up, they were asked to come around to the back gate.

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There, they were told that Nova had been found that morning dead in her kennel, with blood pooling from her rear end.

Instagram | @desinerkennelsltd

This is honestly every pet parent's worst nightmare. I don't even want to imagine how she must have felt.

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But what was worse was how the kennel employees had dealt with the poor dog's body.

Facebook | Kirsten Kinch

"I was then brought in to see my gorgeous dog who had been wrapped in what I can only describe as a ball in a black bag which was covered in masking tape."

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"There was clearly so little care and empathy in the way she had been handled and dealt with since finding her."

Instagram | @appybluejojo

The kennel said that all medication had been given as instructed, so Kirsten rushed to the vet, who was shocked at what had occurred.

Scanning for a microchip confirmed that the body was indeed Nova.

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The vet decided to do a post-mortem on Nova to figure out what happened and Kirsten began to try to get answers from the kennel.

Facebook | Kirsten Kinch

She says that she never received any responses to her messages or emails. In an interview with Metro after the story went viral, owner Paddy Cullen said they had no record of her attempts to contact them.

In the days after Kirsten's review was posted, the review section of the kennel's page was taken down.

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According to Cullen, the dog died of parvo virus and the body was wrapped up at a vet's instructions to avoid passing the virus to other dogs.

Instagram | @kirstenkinch

Parvo is a highly infectious virus that causes symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Dogs who contract it can die in as little as 72 hours.

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Since Nova was found with signs of bloody diarrhea, it's not a wild assumption.

Instagram | @baneboythedober

However, that could also be a symptom of many other conditions.

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Bloody stool is also a symptom of colitis, which was what Nova's medication was meant to manage.

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Colitis is an inflammation of the colon and can be exacerbated by stressful situations, which staying in a kennel can be for a dog.

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Kirsten also says that parvo was never mentioned as the cause when she picked Nova up that day.

Facebook | Kirsten Kinch

In a follow-up post, she confirmed that the vet found no signs of parvo when investigating Nova's cause of death, which was deemed to be internal bleeding.

Nova was also up to date with her vaccinations and besides the colitis, had a clean bill of health.

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Nova's story caused a massive backlash against the kennel and Cullen himself.

Unsplash | Kon Karampelas

P&E Boarding Kennels and Cattery has since been shut down, though I couldn't find any confirmation on whether it was forced or voluntary.

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However, another animal welfare page shared an image that they say is of Cullen at his new animal charity.

Facebook | Justice For Hutch

This is a difficult situation. If Nova died contracting something from another dog, the kennel wouldn't be at fault.

However, if she died because her medication wasn't correctly administered, how can others trust their dogs in this kennel's care?

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As for Kirsten, she just wants people to know about Nova's story and be extra diligent when choosing a kennel.

Instagram | @kirstenkinch

There's no way to know if Nova's sudden death could have been prevented by the kennel's staff or if it was due to their negligence.

All you can do is aggressively research every potential place you may be considering leaving your furbaby with while you're away.

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