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Golden Hill ring camera finds pet-sitters not honest

Dogs left alone until concert over

From Rover.com
From Rover.com

Caryn White of Point Loma was heading to a concert recently, she hopped online to find a dog sitter for her four-month-old puppy. "I was only going to be gone for four to five hours," she told me on July 16. White requested the dog sitter to remain in her house as the puppy was not yet fully vaccinated. But the dog sitter did not listen, and "She texted me to have her boyfriend over," White continued. "She then texted if she could leave to go to her boyfriend." White told her "no" twice, and the dog sitter "took my dog and tried to go to her boyfriend but got caught. It was an awful experience."

While White did not tell me which app she used to hire her dog sitter, there are a lot of sites and apps where fur parents can hire a pet sitter. Popular petsitting websites and apps are PetBacker, Care.com, Fetch!, PetSitter.com, Meowtel, Bay Area Pet Pals, Sniff and Go LLC — and NextDoor, where I met White.

I also met Paul Fischer from Golden Hill on the NextDoor site.

Fischer hired a "Kourtney" on the most popular of the petsitting sites and apps — Rover.com. He recently hired her to housesit his two dogs. Then "she left them alone for 16 hours while trying to deceive us by sending photos that were taken earlier in the day," he explained on July 3. The dog sitter made "it seem like she was home with" the two dogs, but Fischer was not buying it. Unbeknownst to the dogsitter, who had a 4.5-star rating out of 5 on Rover.com, Fischer had two additional Ring cameras aside from the one monitoring his front door.

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He continued: "Our dogs were left alone in the dark until she stumbled in with her three friends at midnight." Then Fischer called the dogsitter's bluff to ask what was going on back at the house, and "she lied and said she was the only one there, but we clearly saw a young man sneaking out the back the next morning, after doing who knows what in our house." Fischer ended his trip early and hurried back to San Diego as he grew concerned for his pooches' safety. When he finally arrived, his dogs were OK, but Kourtney was long gone.

A Roxanne on NextDoor recognized Kourtney's profile photo and said it has been posted on NextDoor "many times."

Fischer said he's waiting to hear back from Rover. "Best case, I think she gets banned, and we get our money back." On a quick search on the Rover site, Kourtney's profile was deactivated.

Since the pandemic, lonely San Diegans adopted cats and dogs during the lockdowns. About one in five U.S. households, approximately 23 million adopted cats and dogs since the pandemic's beginning — according to a 2021 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals survey.

Given stay-at-home orders and remote working and schooling, raising and cuddling with a pet sometimes filled the social void San Diegans longed for and lifted many's spirits in those difficult times.

Then, as the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency neared, and San Diegans returned to work, some relinquished their pets back up for adoption. “Intake of animals is up 4 percent, but our adoptions of animals are down 10 percent,” said Lisa LaFontaine, the CEO of Humane Rescue Alliance, in a PBS News Hour story in February.

Other local fur dads and fur moms keep their fur babies but look at pet sitters and dog walkers for their services.

Consequently, the market size of the dog walking services industry increased by 4.7 percent in 2022, which was equivalent to $1.3 billion — according to [IBISWorld][2], a 50-year-old industry research company. [2]: https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/dog-walking-services-united-states/

Dog sitting and dog walking services increased in 2022. Rover.com said that in 2022, their "revenue increased 58 percent to $174 million, compared to $109.8 million in 2021."

Rover.com or just Rover, is "the world’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers," the site proclaims. Rover links pet parents with pet care providers who offer overnight services, which include in-home pet sitting and boarding. Then they provide daytime services, including dog walking, doggy daycare, and drop-in visits. "Millions of pet parents have booked a service on Rover, with more than 500,000 pet care providers across North America and Europe."

But, some of the pet sitters on the sites and apps are not fully qualified to watch animals. While they may love pets, as indicated earlier in the article, some are not mature enough to follow orders and respect the pet parents' wishes.

"We found a cat sitter on NextDoor," posted Morgan S. on the NextDoor app recently. "She advertised her services and claimed she had years of volunteer experience caring for animals. She starved our cat, all the while texting us that he was doing great and that she’d 'try to snap a photo' of him next time she came. Our cameras/alarm showed that she only came to our house once for five minutes during our eight-day trip." Luckily, Morgan's Mission Hills neighbor came over to feed the cat and clean out the full litter box; the neighbor also showed the cat some affection.

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Caryn White of Point Loma was heading to a concert recently, she hopped online to find a dog sitter for her four-month-old puppy. "I was only going to be gone for four to five hours," she told me on July 16. White requested the dog sitter to remain in her house as the puppy was not yet fully vaccinated. But the dog sitter did not listen, and "She texted me to have her boyfriend over," White continued. "She then texted if she could leave to go to her boyfriend." White told her "no" twice, and the dog sitter "took my dog and tried to go to her boyfriend but got caught. It was an awful experience."

While White did not tell me which app she used to hire her dog sitter, there are a lot of sites and apps where fur parents can hire a pet sitter. Popular petsitting websites and apps are PetBacker, Care.com, Fetch!, PetSitter.com, Meowtel, Bay Area Pet Pals, Sniff and Go LLC — and NextDoor, where I met White.

I also met Paul Fischer from Golden Hill on the NextDoor site.

Fischer hired a "Kourtney" on the most popular of the petsitting sites and apps — Rover.com. He recently hired her to housesit his two dogs. Then "she left them alone for 16 hours while trying to deceive us by sending photos that were taken earlier in the day," he explained on July 3. The dog sitter made "it seem like she was home with" the two dogs, but Fischer was not buying it. Unbeknownst to the dogsitter, who had a 4.5-star rating out of 5 on Rover.com, Fischer had two additional Ring cameras aside from the one monitoring his front door.

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He continued: "Our dogs were left alone in the dark until she stumbled in with her three friends at midnight." Then Fischer called the dogsitter's bluff to ask what was going on back at the house, and "she lied and said she was the only one there, but we clearly saw a young man sneaking out the back the next morning, after doing who knows what in our house." Fischer ended his trip early and hurried back to San Diego as he grew concerned for his pooches' safety. When he finally arrived, his dogs were OK, but Kourtney was long gone.

A Roxanne on NextDoor recognized Kourtney's profile photo and said it has been posted on NextDoor "many times."

Fischer said he's waiting to hear back from Rover. "Best case, I think she gets banned, and we get our money back." On a quick search on the Rover site, Kourtney's profile was deactivated.

Since the pandemic, lonely San Diegans adopted cats and dogs during the lockdowns. About one in five U.S. households, approximately 23 million adopted cats and dogs since the pandemic's beginning — according to a 2021 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals survey.

Given stay-at-home orders and remote working and schooling, raising and cuddling with a pet sometimes filled the social void San Diegans longed for and lifted many's spirits in those difficult times.

Then, as the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency neared, and San Diegans returned to work, some relinquished their pets back up for adoption. “Intake of animals is up 4 percent, but our adoptions of animals are down 10 percent,” said Lisa LaFontaine, the CEO of Humane Rescue Alliance, in a PBS News Hour story in February.

Other local fur dads and fur moms keep their fur babies but look at pet sitters and dog walkers for their services.

Consequently, the market size of the dog walking services industry increased by 4.7 percent in 2022, which was equivalent to $1.3 billion — according to [IBISWorld][2], a 50-year-old industry research company. [2]: https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/dog-walking-services-united-states/

Dog sitting and dog walking services increased in 2022. Rover.com said that in 2022, their "revenue increased 58 percent to $174 million, compared to $109.8 million in 2021."

Rover.com or just Rover, is "the world’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers," the site proclaims. Rover links pet parents with pet care providers who offer overnight services, which include in-home pet sitting and boarding. Then they provide daytime services, including dog walking, doggy daycare, and drop-in visits. "Millions of pet parents have booked a service on Rover, with more than 500,000 pet care providers across North America and Europe."

But, some of the pet sitters on the sites and apps are not fully qualified to watch animals. While they may love pets, as indicated earlier in the article, some are not mature enough to follow orders and respect the pet parents' wishes.

"We found a cat sitter on NextDoor," posted Morgan S. on the NextDoor app recently. "She advertised her services and claimed she had years of volunteer experience caring for animals. She starved our cat, all the while texting us that he was doing great and that she’d 'try to snap a photo' of him next time she came. Our cameras/alarm showed that she only came to our house once for five minutes during our eight-day trip." Luckily, Morgan's Mission Hills neighbor came over to feed the cat and clean out the full litter box; the neighbor also showed the cat some affection.

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