TALLMADGE, Ohio -- Video from the Tails R Waggin Dog Daycare in Tallmadge showing the day care owner kicking and dragging a dog went viral after the dog's owner, who was on a trip in another country, recorded the video and it was posted to Facebook.
The owner, Mike LaSalvia of Cuyahoga Falls, immediately cut his vacation short and came back to Northeast Ohio. The dog, Leo, is a playful and energetic pit bull about 18 months old. According to the family, Leo had been to the day care six times before with no problems.
“He’s like the most playful, loving, little puppy and you can tell in the video he’s wagging his tail and happy and you can tell he’s trying to be playful. I don’t know; it made me mad,” said Jessica Christie, LaSalvia’s niece.
Christie was the person who originally shared the video on her Facebook page. In just a few days she had nearly a million views.
The woman in the video, Amy Beach, is the franchise owner of the Tallmadge and Macedonia day cares. Earlier this week, she released a statement to the media apologizing and explaining her actions:
The video clip now circulating on the internet of an incident that occurred in our Tallmadge location shows me handling a dog roughly.
I agree that the video itself, viewed without context, is very disturbing. I want my fellow dog-lovers to know the rest of the story directly from me.
At the beginning of the video, as I let the pit bull out into the common area, it immediately approached another dog’s back. The pit bull’s hair was standing up and he was low-growling – three very distinct signs of an impending attack. It was at that very moment that I made a split-second decision to subdue the pit bull for the protection of myself and the two dogs. In the emotion of the moment, I was scared and reacted instinctively.
I have worked with dogs for 9 years and I have seen the horrific damage a dog-on-dog attack can cause, and I moved quickly to shut-down that possibility.
I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for the heartache this has caused the pit bull’s owner and family, as well as our clients.
I just feel awful about what happened.
Amy Beach, owner
Tails R Waggin, Tallmadge, Ohio
While law enforcement investigates what happened and if charges are warranted, Leo’s family is taking action to protect other dogs. They want to create, “Little Leo’s Law."
“We feel that there should be cameras in every single room where your dog is going to be even where they sleep,” said Annette LaSalvia Katz, LaSalvia’s sister.
In Ohio, there is no statewide regulation for dog day cares.
“She had kicked him into another private room that had no cameras in it and we don’t know what happened and that’s the most disturbing thing; we don’t know what happened,” Christie said.
The family started a petition they will take to lawmakers and animal rights advocates. So far they have more than 15,000 supporters. In the meantime, the family wants all dog owners to be on alert whenever they leave their dog in someone else’s hands.
“Ask questions when you take your dog to a day care center. Ask the questions so that you feel comfortable,” said LaSalvia Katz.
You can find the petition here.
You can also follow the family’s efforts on Facebook.