“And then he’ll be so submissive, he’ll roll over on his back and want you to rub his belly,” said Alan Iannaccone Jr., 21, who came home from the University of Portland for the holiday break to a dog with stitches (and drains) all over his body, wearing a cone and curled up in the corner by the sliding porch door.
“He’s never growled at us, ever,” said Elizabeth Iannaccone, who was still seeking answers Wednesday night about how Shadow was so badly hurt during a planned four-day stay at the North Gate Kennels in Walnut Creek.
“We know he’s doing it because he’s in such pain.”
Elizabeth said her 4-year-old mixed breed, a rescue dog, was attacked by a pit bull last Friday at the kennel. Kennel employees took Shadow to a Walnut Creek veterinarian right after the attack where some 18 puncture wounds were stitched up, according to Elizabeth.
The family had left Shadow at North Gate ahead of a holiday trip to Lake Tahoe with extended family. Even though the attack appears to have happened midday Friday, the Iannaccone family was not notified until Sunday, Elizabeth said.
Shadow had stayed at the kennel a few times previously without incident, she added.
A woman who answered the phone at North Gate late Wednesday afternoon advised a reporter to call back after Elizabeth gave her side of the story, “and I’ll tell you if it’s true.”
Two messages were left early Wednesday evening and had not been returned by 7 p.m.
NorthGate Kennels & Cattery in Walnut Creek
State law has some provisions for how commercial kennels should protect guest animals. Senate Bill 945, signed into law in September 2016, says kennels must be maintained well enough to protect contained animals from being injured, to keep other animals out, and to promote animals’ health and well-being. The state law also requires kennel owners to notify guest animals’ owners immediately of illnesses or injuries.
When the employees at North Gate Kennels failed to respond to her repeated requests for more information, Elizabeth said, she posted her experience — and sad photos of Shadow, with his wounds and drains — on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon.
The post went viral, having elicited more than 10,000 responses, including hundreds of comments. “I didn’t expect that; it’s been overwhelming,” she said.
She said it hasn’t been decided whether she and her husband Alan will lodge formal complaints or hire an attorney. For now, she wants answers and wants to impart advice to others who plan to leave their dog (or cat) at a commercial kennel.
“I would ask to see where (the animal) is being kept, check out his surroundings, ask questions,” Elizabeth said.
In the meantime, the Iannaccones wait for answers, clean Shadow’s wounds, try to make sure he eats and goes outside, and hope the wounds heal. And they listen to Shadow’s muffled growls.
“This is not him, this is not how he is,” said Elizabeth, on the verge of tears. “I’m not sure he’s even going to get better.”