A husband and wife left on a Caribbean break and had paid House and Home Sitters Ltd £540 (RM2,980) to look after their home along with their chocolate Labradors Rhea and Delphi full-time over the course of 12 days.
But only 4 days into their vacation, the wife, Denise Maguire, 55, received a Whatsapp message from the live-in sitters telling the couple that their seven-month-old Delphi had died.
Denise who suffers from cancer was left distraught when seconds later after receiving the devastating news, it was followed by ten photos of her dead pooch lying on the carpet.
Denise and her husband Peter Depledge, 56, cut their holiday short to fly home, and they were outraged when the live-in sitters suggested that their older dog might be responsible for the death of Delphi.
“I was hysterical, it was horrendous. My dogs are my babies.
“To get the news like that – in that insensitive way, and for it to be followed up by those photos was devastating. It was so unprofessional. Nobody wants to find out like that. They had our phone number, the number for the hotel and for our breeder.
“And then for him to blame Rhea – those dogs loved each other and I just don’t accept it.”
It was agreed that director David Price and his partner Mai would live in the home and it was understood that they should not leave for more than four hours at a time with a hefty price.
David should have called the hotel to let the couple know over the phone instead of dropping them a message and then pictures of the lifeless dog.
The message reads,
“Hello Denise and Peter, oh my God, I’m sorry to tell you this.
“We left at 11 am to visit Manchester. We got caught in traffic coming home and got back at 16:30 to find Delphi dead on the kitchen floor, Rhea still twisting her collar in her jaw.”
Photos of Denise’s dead dog came without warning 26 seconds after the long message was sent. The pooch was sprawled out on the carpet on its side, eyes just open, with blood on a mat under its body and what looked like saliva around its face.
No animal lover would want to find the pet in this state, the least you could do is to close the eyes of the poor dog. Did you think that the owners would like to see the “crime scene”? NO! These dogs are family members to Denise and Peter!
“I’m not a well person – I have angina, and cancer and I also suffer from depression. So to get that message, was a huge shock.
“I started screaming. People were coming up to me and really it is all a blank because it was so traumatic.”
Then David tried to explain the situation:
“On getting back to their home and finding the older dog with the younger dog’s collar twisted in its jaw, I immediately thought I would have to administer CPR and mouth-to-mouth to the younger dog, but then found its body already cold and stiff.
“A kitchen chair was overturned and there was blood on and under a mat, and the whole scene appeared inexplicable. In terms of our instructions and mandate to keep them informed, as we have been doing daily via WhatsApp, I broke the sad news and then sent them photos of what we found on our return home.
“The dead dog merely appeared to be sleeping or unconscious. There were no visible bite marks and a tiny bit of blood, probably not even visible in the photos. There were mutual sadness and commiseration between us, the homeowners and the breeder.”
Denise and Peter paid £400 extra for earlier flights and flew back the next day, picked up Rhea from friends and ordered a post-mortem for dead Delphi.
The vets concluded that she had no bite marks or evidence that she had been attacked by Rhea, but she does have a broken neck. Delphi may have fallen due to over-exuberant play hence the micro fractures to her neck.
The couple also received a report from their home security system revealed that nobody had been in the home for the 6 hours before the dog was found.
It can’t be helped that David and partner were delayed by motorway congestion but it confirms that the dog must have already been dead for some hours before they returned.
Denise did look into claiming on the house sitter’s company’s insurance or take legal action but was told that she needs to prove that David was negligent.
“The insurance company rejected the claim, finding House and Home Sitters neither negligent nor liable, based upon the vet’s post-mortem report, which confirmed the older dog killed the younger one, citing possible ‘puppy exuberance’ which could’ve easily happened when they themselves were home.”
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Source: Daily Mail