The Mission District location of Wag Hotels received a visit last week from Animal Care & Control, which followed a Chronicle investigative report into over a half dozen cases of dogs allegedly being neglected or injured while in the hotel chain's care.
It all started with a TikTok video last summer. A popular TikToker, Michelle Nguyen, posted a highly negative review of the SF location of Wag Hotels after her dog Miso came home covered in urine and, she said, in a "horrifying state." That led directly to the Chronicle doing their own investigative footwork, looking into other reported incidents of dogs being returned to their owners dirty, unfed, or in some cases with injuries they allegedly received while in the hotels' care.
SF Animal Care & Control conducted an inspection of the Mission facility last Wednesday, a day after the Chronicle story came out. And they only confirmed to the Chronicle today that, yes, an inspection occurred.
As for the mistreatment or neglect of dogs, Animal Care & Control spokesperson Amy Corso only told the paper in an email, "We are looking into the matter."
Wag Hotels spokesperson BJ Kalay put out a statement saying, "During [Animal Care & Control's] visit, we gave their team access to all of our operations, as is common practice in our industry. We have already requested a copy of their report findings and are happy to share the document with you as soon as we receive it."
Complaints seem to stem from both the alleged overcrowding of dogs in a group play area — where, some anonymous staff told the Chronicle, dogs are walking or rolling in each others' urine and excrement — and from under-training of staff and understaffing overall.
Wag Hotels has only admitted to the fact that "during COVID, there were cases where the care we provided fell short," and they say that 93% of customers are fully satisfied with their dogs' stays.
SF Animal Care & Control only has jurisdiction over the SF location, but some of the most serious dog injuries the Chronicle looked into occurred at other locations, including a location in Los Angeles. The company was founded in West Sacramento, and there are five total locations in the Bay Area alone.
In a city that's notoriously home to more dogs than children, with plenty of residents with the disposable income to pay for $155-per-night stays in a "luxury" kennel and the desire to see their "fur babies" well care for, the story takes on bombshell significance. And now it looks like a city agency will even be making an official report.
"Hopefully, somebody will be held accountable for how terrible these dogs have been treated," says Josue Rodriguez, who formerly worked as a bather at the SF location and who spoke to the Chronicle on the record.
BJ Kalay, the Wag Hotels spokesperson, said in a statement, "From our inception, we have been on a mission to provide the highest level of care and service in a clean, safe and hygienic facility designed specifically for dogs and cats."
There is no timeline for Animal Care & Control's investigation, but we'll update you if we learn more.
Photo via Wag Hotels