HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston couple claims that their puppy died while on a walk with the popular dog walking app Wag, which, they say the app tried to buy their silence.
On Dec. 10, Nick and Sara Moore hired a dog walker through Wag as they had countless times before to walk their 10-month-old Wheaton puppy, Winnie.
The couple said this time was different even from the beginning. Each walker's profile shows his or her name, as well as a small paragraph about that particular person. The walker that was with Winnie had a different name in her bio paragraph than what was shown on her profile. Sara asked the walker what her name was, but the walker did not provide an answer. They say this was concerning, but she was already with Winnie.
When Sara did not receive the confirmation that Winnie's walk was over, she became even more concerned. Sara texted the walker, but did not receive an answer. When Sara called the walker, the walker answered and assured Sara that Winnie was home safe. Five minutes later, Sara says she received a call from a Wag representative saying that Winnie was not home safe, but had been hit by a car and did not survive.
The couple said they experienced several major inconsistencies in this incident. Any history of Winnie's last walk, which was recorded by GPS through the app, was deleted. The couple never found out where the accident took place or who even took their dog to the vet after she was struck.
The couple says Wag offered to pay for Winnie's cremation expenses, but only if they signed a non-disclosure agreement. They decided not to sign the document.
After much debate, they shared a heartbreaking video of Nick playing with Winnie, commenting on the incident. The Moores said their intentions were not to cast blame on the company or seek revenge but to hopefully inform other Houston dog owners of their personal experience with the company.
A representative from Wag provided the following statement regarding Winnie's death:
"We extend our sympathy to the Moores during this difficult time. As a company of dog lovers and pet parents, we were devastated about what happened to Winnie.The hit-and-run accident involving Winnie was an unusual situation, and we provided the Moores with updates as we investigated what happened. We're addressing concerns about our response procedures, and we're changing our policy for paying claims to reflect a higher level of sensitivity to each situation.
We've reviewed the walker's records and can confirm that she is who she said she was, and that the name she used on her profile is a nickname. We cannot speak for the walker's response to the pet parent, but we do know that she, along with a good Samaritan, took the dog to a nearby veterinarian immediately after the accident. The walker has been deactivated from the Wag! platform. Prior to this incident, she had very high ratings for her walks and no safety incidents.
We care very deeply about the health and safety of the dogs walked on our platform. We use a robust vetting process that includes an application and verification process, a third-party background check, and online tests covering dog safety and handling knowledge that each applicant must pass to be approved to work on our platform."
Wag app tried to pay for silence after dog's death: Houston couple