'My cats had to suffer': Vancouver pet-sitting service facing more complaints of neglect
VANCOUVER -- More clients of a Vancouver cat-sitting service are coming forward with allegations that their pets were left hungry last month.
When Dan Griffith and his wife left for a trip to India in December, they expected their two cats would be cared for in their home by a hired pet-sitter, as they had been before.
They made arrangements with Kitty Home Care, a business they had also hired in 2018 with no issues. But this time, things didn’t go as expected.
Griffith told CTV News Vancouver the company previously provided daily updates and photos, but when that didn’t happen on their latest trip, they first tried to get answers from the sitter, and then had a friend go by their home.
“It appeared that they had no food, they had no water, the litter box was filthy. The cats had been hungry, so they ripped open a bag of dry cat food. And the place was quite messy,” he said. “I was angry, to be quite frank. I was very upset that my cats had to suffer.”
Recent online reviews of Kitty Home Care show similar complaints.
One customer told CTV News he left out eight cans of cat food for a six-day vacation, and returned home to find only one can had been opened. Another, Ciara Chisholm, found what she described as a "crack pipe" in her apartment after returning from a vacation in Mexico.
Karla Laird with the Better Business Bureau said in cases where services aren’t rendered, consumers have to look into their "options for recourse," including any timeframes for refunds.
She said the method of payment may also factor in: if a person pays by credit card, they can dispute the charges with their bank.
“You need to find what the requirements are that you signed up for, and if those things are not rendered, you might end up having a whole different compensation required outside of money all together. So it really depends on the situation,” she said. “It may be a small claims issue depending on the circumstances.”
Laird added the business is responsible for communicating with the consumer.
Alex Reid has been running Kitty Home Care for years, and told CTV News he has left hundreds of customers satisfied. But he also admitted he missed appointments last month and was unreachable, leaving some clients fretting over the holidays.
"I know I ruined some vacations," Reid told CTV News in an email last week. "I'm trying my best to make it right with those who are upset – even though I know they will never hire me again – because I truly feel terrible."
Chisholm said it also appeared someone had been sleeping in her guest bed while she was away, and provided records from her building that showed someone using her key multiple times in a day – including at 1:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 3:56 p.m. and 11:07 p.m. on Dec. 20.
Reid has admitted he left a pipe in Chisholm's home, but said it was only for cannabis, and he denied sleeping in her home.
In response to an interview request on Monday, Reid said he disputes many of Chisholm's claims and "will address these matters in court, rather than through the press." He said he is contacting clients individually, and that "nothing will change how terrible I feel."
He told CTV News he suffered food poisoning last month, which prevented him from making some feeding appointments, but did not contact clients so they could make alternative arrangements.