Family of dog mauled at Walnut Creek kennel searches for answers

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Nearly a week after a Concord family’s dog was mauled and left with 18 puncture wounds and tears to his ear and head, they still have no answers about what happened at the Walnut Creek kennel where the dog was staying. 

“He’s doing terrible,’’ said owner Elizabeth Iannaccone, whose dog Shadow was injured at Northgate Kennels and Cattery in Walnut Creek. “He’s crying and growling. Right now he’s just not himself.” 

She said the kennel waited two full days to notify the family about the attack and has steadfastly refused to give them information about the other dog and what happened. Calls to the kennel were not returned Thursday. 

State law requires kennel owners to notify guest animals’ owners immediately of illnesses or injuries. Kennels are also required to have an up-to-date county business license, which North Gate does not. 

Frustrated with her lack of answers, Iannaccone shared her story on Facebook this week and it has now been shared more than 10,500 times and has more than 10,000 comments.

The family’s ordeal began last Thursday, when Iannaccone dropped off Shadow, her 4-year-old rescue mutt, and Max, her 5-year-old yellow lab mix, at the kennel so they could head to Lake Tahoe for a holiday vacation.

Both dogs had long ago been neutered and have never been aggressive with each one another or other animals, she said. Iannaccone and her husband Alan had used the kennel several times before over the last few years without any problems, she said.

“When we moved to the area three years we looked at Google and Yelp and checked it out in person,’’ she said. “I thought it was a good place.” 

Two days after she dropped off the dogs, an employee at the kennel called with bad news.

“An employee called and said there had been an attack and my dog was badly injured,’’ she said.
But on the telephone, the employee mixed up the details. The employee said it was Max, not Shadow, who was injured,’’ Iannaccone said.

“They didn’t even have the right name.” 

Shaken and scared, the family abandoned their vacation plans and headed home to the East Bay. When they arrived at the kennel, what they saw was horrifying. 

“He was laying on a mattress crying and shaking. He was not even wagging his tail or moving,’’ she said. “It was horrible. I was so upset.” 

She asked an employee for an explanation of what happened, information on the attack dog and to see the area where the mauling occurred. The employee refused, she said. Iannaccone also asked to speak with the kennel owner, and again the employee refused, but left him a message. He never got back to her.

“It was outrageous,’’ she said.

The employee did tell Iannaccone that Shadow had a follow up appointment at the veterinary hospital, where he had been treated. But when she arrived for the alleged appointment, the staff said there was no record of an appointment.  

It was then that Iannaccone learned from vet staff the actual day Shadow had been brought in and that the kennel had waited two full days to notify her about the attack.

“The whole thing is just horrible,’’ she said. 

Right now she just wants Shadow to heal and return to his old self. 

“He was the friendliest dog. He never even barked,’’ she said, adding that he bound for her and her children when they arrived home, rolled over for belly rubs and even cuddled with family members. “His whole temperament has changed drastically,’’ she said.