No dog walker should be allowed to continue their business after neglecting a dog, especially not after it happens twice. Scott Howley from Fun Dog in Toronto has now had two dogs die in his care. Both instances occurred after he forgot the dog in a hot car.
Even though the deaths seemed to be an accident, that doesn’t excuse Howley’s actions. He was in charge of caring for the dogs, and he failed to do that. The family of the most recent dog hasn’t even received an apology from him, and they just want him to own up to his mistakes. Now, many dog lovers are fighting to make sure Howley never runs a dog business again.
Chilly Never Came Home
Howley has been a dog walker for Jeff Cochrane and Anne Chirakal since 2014. He walked their previous dog, and they had no issues, so they hired him to walk their most recent dog, Chilly, too. Chilly is a four-year-old Samoyed that the couple brought home after his first owners left him behind at a groomer.
Usually, Howley picked Chilly up around 1:30 pm and dropped him off at 3:30 pm. But one day, it was 5 pm with no contact from Howley. So, Cochrane texted and then called the dog walker. When Howley picked up the phone, Cochrane asked him where Chilly was. On the other end of the phone, Cochrane heard someone drop the phone and frantically run away.
“I heard a door open and I heard him run screaming to the car and then open the door and then more screaming. And then him saying repeatedly, ‘He’s dead, he’s dead,’” Cochrane said.
Howley allegedly forgot to take Chilly out of the car after the walk, and the Samoyed sat in the sweltering vehicle for two to three hours. When Cochrane and Chirakal saw Chilly, he was covered in sweat, and his tongue was blue. Howley didn’t face them. Instead, his wife was there to give them their deceased dog. She begged them not to press charges.
This Isn’t the First Incident
Chilly’s death wasn’t the first time Howley’s actions caused a dog to die. In 2018, a mixed breed named Teddy also passed away after being left in a hot vehicle. Clarke Struthers, Teddy’s human, said Howley claimed to have dropped Teddy off despite the dog not being home. When Struthers noted there were cameras at the house, Howley then said that the dog had gotten lost, so Struthers and his friends searched for the “lost” pup.
However, after searching for a little while, Howley eventually admitted that he had Teddy, but the dog had died in a hot car. Struthers couldn’t believe how dishonest the dog walker was. Howley’s excuse was that his father-in-law had passed away, so he was not in the right state of mind.
Cochrane recalled that Howley had approached them in 2018 and gave them a vague explanation of what happened to Teddy. Howley said it in a way that sounded believable, and since it was a one-time situation, Cochrane trusted him. But now, he wishes he had been more cautious back then. If they had switched dog walkers, Chilly would still be alive.
“Our dog died alone and in pain, probably scared, no idea what was going on,” Cochrane said. “It’s a huge betrayal, huge and just so preventable.”
Justice for Chilly and Teddy!
Cochrane and Chirakal have said that they don’t want Howley punished in the criminal justice system, but they want other forms of justice. They don’t want Howley to be allowed to care for pets anymore. They also want a genuine apology from him, which is something they haven’t yet received.
“(We just want) him to express how sorry he is about this of his own free will — not coming at the other end of a police investigation,” Cochrane said.
Chilly was very close to all his family members, so the couple was devastated to break the news to their children. They haven’t gathered the strength to empty his food and water dishes or put away his leash yet. They also said they’d be hesitant to trust any dog walkers again in the future.
To Howley, these two incidents might have just been tragic accidents, but they also caused two families to lose loved ones. It’s heartbreaking that he can’t even face them to tell them how sorry he is.