Couple heartbroken as Dalmatian puppy killed at Lancaster doggy day care

A couple have been left heartbroken after their 10-month-old puppy was killed at a ‘doggy day care’ centre in Lancaster.

Emma Gee said her liverspot Dalmatian puppy Taylor was her best friend who went everywhere with her and her husband Michael.

"She was our little girl and our very best friend," Emma said. "She came everywhere with us and life revolved around her and spending time together.

"We don’t have children, she was our baby - loved to the ends of the earth and she wanted for nothing."

Liverspot Dalmatian puppy Taylor.

The couple say their lives "changed forever" after they received a call from Heronswood Canine Retreat, also known as A&T Trained Dogs, in Ashton Road, in January, to say that Taylor had been killed.

They were told Taylor was involved in an incident with an older dog which resulted in her death.

According to its website, The Lounge Doggy Day Care is the largest dog care facility in the north west and offers an option for owners who may be out at work all day.

Lancaster City Council's licensing committee concluded last week that on a balance of probabilities, the staff to animal ratio was exceeded on the date of the incident, in that there were not enough available members of staff within the vicinity to act quickly enough in the circumstances, leading to Taylor’s death.

Emma Gee with Taylor.

While they did not revoke or suspend the firm’s license, operated by Tarik Jayousi, the council said it will be amended to state that dogs under one year old are to be kept separate from other dogs, and stock dogs and boarding dogs are not to be mixed with day care dogs.

Mr Jayousi will also be sent a warning letter, and council officers will make an unannounced visit of Herenswood every three months in the next year to ensure that the licensing conditions are being complied with.

Coun Colin Hartley, chair of the licensing committee, said: “This was a tragic case and our sympathies go to Mr and Mrs Gee for the loss they have suffered.

"Following a lengthy investigation, a report was considered by the council’s licensing committee, who decided to issue a warning to the licence holder and strengthen the licensing conditions.

Taylor was just 10 months old when she died.

"A requirement was also imposed that will require that when renewal of the operator licences becomes due, this will need to be considered by the committee rather than licencing officers.

"To check licensing conditions are being complied with, the committee also agreed that unannounced visits by officers should take place on the establishment every three months for the next 12 months.”

Emma said: "We have patiently and painfully waited and now Lancaster City Council has concluded its investigations. We really appreciate how seriously they have taken it.

"We do not wish any other fur baby mummy and daddies to go through what we have suffered over the last six months.

Michael with Taylor as a puppy.

"Our hearts are broken - the worst experience of our lives and something which I do not think either of us will ever get over.”

A&T Trained Dogs have been contacted for a comment.

Liverspot Dalmatian puppy Taylor.
Dalmatian puppy Taylor.
Liverspot Dalmatian puppy Taylor.