Retired Utah Utes football coach Ron McBride and his family have filed a lawsuit against a Murray dog kennel, accusing the facility of negligence for letting their German shepherd get mauled to death by two aggressive dogs.
According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Third District Court in Salt Lake City, the incident happened May 1, when Ron McBride and his wife, Vicky, along with daughter Kelly Redican and her husband, Mark, were hosting a wedding for friends at their house. The family decided to board their three dogs — Coach, a Labrador retriever; Flipper, a golden retriever/poodle mix; and Christa, a 10-year-old purebred German shepherd — so they wouldn’t go unsupervised during the ceremony.
Kelly Redican researched pet facilities, the lawsuit says, and chose Unleashed Dog Hotel in Murray. Unleashed’s website promised “our highly trained staff is present 24/7,” which the McBrides say was important for Christa, who tended to sleep more than play.
The lawsuit says Christa was left sleeping in an enclosed play area when Unleashed personnel moved the other dogs out. The employees then let two dogs into the area. The owner of those dogs warned the facility that they “were dog-aggressive and ‘ganged up’ on other dogs.”
The other dogs were left with Christa, unsupervised, for 35 minutes, the lawsuit says. In that time, the dogs attacked Christa, dragged her around the room and mauled her until she died.
Later that afternoon, during the wedding, Unleashed’s owner, Billy Meadows, contacted Mark Redican with the news of Christa’s death. Mark Redican sought an incident report and video footage of the incident, that were never provided.
When he called Unleashed back to arrange transportation of Christa’s body, an employee said the kennel had already disposed of the dog’s remains. When pressed, the lawsuit says, Meadows “became hostile and started yelling at Mark on the phone.”
The McBride family — Ron and Vicky McBride, the Redicans and the McBride’s daughter Jill Baxter and her husband John (who originally owned Christa) are plaintiffs in the case — report they were “overcome with shock and grief” at Christa’s death. Also, the dog’s death “entirely ruined the wedding and guests were shocked and horrified” at the news, the lawsuit says.
On June 29, Mark Redican posted about the incident on Facebook. The lawsuit says Meadows left a note of apology at the McBride house the same day — the only contact Meadows had with the family since Christa’s death.
The family is accusing Unleashed of negligence, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation and breach of contract. They are seeking unspecified damages, to be determined at trial, for costs associated with Christa’s death, emotional distress and punitive damages.
A call to Unleashed seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.
This story will be updated.