Consumer SOS: Brock, Ont. kennel owner didn’t have licence, charged by municipality

Click to play video: 'Toronto owners heartbroken after dog escapes kennel and is killed' Toronto owners heartbroken after dog escapes kennel and is killed
WATCH: (Originally aired Dec. 22, 2021) A Toronto couple is heartbroken and angry after the kennel they trusted to care for their dog allowed it to get away. As a result, Hank was killed by a car nearby. Sean O’Shea reports, the couple is upset because of what happened when the dog’s absence was first detected – Dec 22, 2021

The owner of a kennel in the township of Brock, Ont., was housing animals overnight without a licence, and is now facing municipal charges after the death of a family pet, according to the township’s clerk.

“We don’t have kids; we loved him like a child, he was everything to us,” said Rob Tkatch in an interview, with wife Brooke at his side, describing their dog, Hank.

Hank was their cherished black rescue dog, their constant companion adopted just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But last week, Hank was accidentally killed by a car on a road near a boarding kennel business about 80 kilometers north of Toronto. The couple had entrusted the kennel to care for Hank for two weeks while they were away in Florida.

Somehow, Hank was able to walk away from the fenced property belonging to Wild Dogs Boarding, co-owned by Joe Rutherford.

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“Him escaping — that can happen. It’s everything that happened after that. It seemed they were more interested in covering up the loss of our dog than actually finding him and rescuing him,” said Rob.

The Tkatches say Rutherford’s company did not share information about where Hank was last seen; Rob says Rutherford was not eager to further the search after Hank was declared missing.

“He said to us he was cold and hungry and he thought it was not appropriate to keep searching, but he’d continue if we really wanted,” said Rob.

Later, Rob received a phone call from a motorist who had struck and killed Hank on a roadway. The driver got the phone number from the tag on his collar.

The driver was apologetic and offered to take the dog for emergency veterinary care.

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The couple heard about Wild Dogs Boarding after reading an article on a popular Toronto blog site. It had also been featured by a local television station. As a result, the couple was confident about sending Hank to Wild Dogs for two weeks while they were away in Florida.

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“Their social media and website was fantastic,” Brooke said, explaining that the couple liked the fact that animals appeared to live like guests in a home on the wooded property rather than being placed in crates or cages.

Municipal bylaw investigators went to the Wild Dogs property on Wednesday to conduct an inspection and investigation.

While Wild Dogs was licenced for the last year to care for animals between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., municipal clerk Fernando Lamannna said the business was not permitted to board animals outside those hours.

As a result, the company is facing a charge for violating the township’s bylaws.

When Global News went to the Wild Dogs property, Rutherford originally refused an interview but later agreed.

“Our hearts are just broken,” he said, when asked what happened to Hank.

“This place is my dream. I love dogs. We did everything we could,” he said, appearing emotional.

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In a television interview, Rutherford insisted his company was in compliance with municipal laws and had all required permits.

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He also claimed the company’s website was still online, but it was not.

Lamanna said the municipality instructed Wild Dogs to remove marketing material intended to persuade owners from boarding their dogs at the facility.

A date for a court hearing has not been scheduled.

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