Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pet Store Whistleblower Describes 'Pitiful' Dogs and Public Deception

June 16, 2010 6:32 PM
Tanya Mendis

What one former worker at The Pet Company saw still haunts her.

"I think it's so pitiful it makes me want to cry. No dog should have to live walking in its own fecal matter. It's disgusting and i'ts wrong," the young woman says.

She says her reason for coming forward is simple: If she didn't, no one else would. But because she's worried about compromising McKamey's case, we're hiding her identity until she testifies next week.

The former employee's love of dogs is what led her to start working at the store in Hamilton Place mall: It's also what led her to call McKamey after what she saw.

"They can't speak for themselves. They can't say help me or do anything. No one else was gonna help 'em."

She blew the whistle. Tuesday, McKamey animal services officers and the department of agriculture investigated and eventually removed 37 dogs and 26 rabbits, ferrets and gerbils. They recorded temperatures in the back room in excess of 85 degrees, and found dirty, empty water bowls and broken cages; something this worker says she saw every day, and worse.

When asked if she ever saw sick animals, she replied: "Oh yeah. Definitely.They were hidden so no one else could see, customer wise." Something she says, was misleading to the public. "People have told customers things that were so far beyond the truth."

NewsChannel 9 was there outside of city court as the executive director of McKamey, Karen Walsh, dropped off a heavy stack of citations against The Pet Company Wednesday.

It's been an overwhelming week for McKamey. On top of the Pet Company problems, McKamey took two dozen cats taken from a suspected animal hoarder earlier this week.

"It depletes us greatly," Walsh says.

But it's a cost that's much less than what could've happened, if this worker, didn't speak up.

"I was just trying to help. I'm not some huge hero or anything. I just did what I believed in, and i was trying to help them."