By: Tracey Zysk – February, 2014
School vacations are approaching. As you start planning your trips, you begin to look into pet care options for your pets. You start strolling through Facebook and see sponsored ads for Dogvacy.com, Care.com and a few other sites. All claiming they can help you with your pet care needs. Sounds interesting, peeks your interest. You visit their websites. You say to yourself: Wow, professional looking website, well written presentations, looks legit, and then you fall into the trap. You click, you sign up, you pay a fee and you find a pet care provider. You tell yourself, “That was simple…task done.” But guess what? …. not necessarily.
Are you really educated on what Dogvacy.com, Care.com and these other site are all about? Well, considering these sites currently have several lawsuits against them, it seems like the truth is finally coming to the forefront.
The companies hosting these sites are registered businesses. But the problem is, the people offering pet care services on the sites may not be actual pet care businesses or even have any credentials to take care of animals. Why can these sites present that to an average consumer? Because they are not advertising that the content of the people providing their services have been verified. These companies’ business models are based on offering the general public options to a resource of people that “claim” they are pet care providers.
These sites expect you to do all the background work. They just offer you the name of a person with a cute bio and contact information.
That is the biggest disconnect. You as the average pet care owner wouldn’t know that. In fact, you probably haven’t even thought of it. You just assumed that the people listed on these sites must be the “real deal”. Why would you think any differently? You subconsciously made that assumption. Unfortunately, Dogvacay.com and Care.com are aware that is how you think, and they tapped into that.
Department of Agriculture in states all across the country is in an uproar over the misrepresentation of these sites.
Also, several Attorney General departments have started their own investigations. Why? Well there have been numerous instances of people on these sites stealing animals, not caring for animals properly, stealing from the clients’ homes, not paying for their town licenses or not having any insurance. Not to mention the unfortunate cases of animal abuse that have been reported.
Buyer Beware! Even for a pet care service.
Play it safe. An actual pet care provider will offer the following
3. Registered business with their town.
4. CPR/Animal First Aid certified.
5. Criminal Background checked.
If a person is offering in-home boarding, he will be able to provide all that is listed above plus a kennel license provided by the town.
If you choose to go to someone that can’t provide documentation, and god forbid something happens to your pet, you will have little to no recourse.
For the safety of your pet, please take the time and do your research.
** A great place to start your search for a pet care provider is www.petsit.com
Tracey Zysk, owner of Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care in North Andover MA is a local pet care professional. She has been featured on local radio, TV and newspapers educating the general public on animal care and animal health & wellness. Tracey is a proud supporter of Police, Fire & Military K9 units and National Award winner of the Platinum PAW award. Tracey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a fan on Facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care