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Louisville family says a sitter they hired through Rover lost their dog

The Lawsons were one day into their trip when they heard something was wrong.
Credit: Ian Hardwitt/WHAS-TV
Missing dog flyers pictured above show Maverick, the Lawsons' dog.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Angela and Michael Lawson were preparing for a trip out-of-state in August and looked for a sitter through Rover, a website that provides "pet sitters you can trust."

The website promised sitters went through background checks and approval from a "team of sitter specialists."

"I found a person, they came over and everything was, I thought, very comfortable," Angela said. 

When the Lawsons did eventually go on their vacation, they dropped their 10-month-old dog Maverick off at the sitter's house.

The Lawsons were one day into their trip when they heard something was wrong. A family friend told them a photo of Maverick had been posted to the Ring app saying he was missing. 

Angela said she had not heard from Rover or the sitter, so she reached out. 

"I said well let's do a Facetime, I would like to see him," she recalled. "When the phone call came, it was the mother of the [sitter]. She said I have bad news for you. Maverick got away."

Maverick, the puppy Angela adopted to fill a void when her daughter went off to college, was gone.

"I was just really hoping that this was not true," Angela said. "I was hoping there was something wrong, you know? Maybe this wasn't right. The story didn't go together but when we did find out it was devastating." 

Attempts to speak with the sitter and her family went nowhere. When Angela's daughter tried to speak with the sitter's family and collect Maverick's things, a video shows a woman telling them to get off the property and asking someone to get her gun.

When the Lawson's reached out to Rover, the family said the company helped them to print missing posters and offered a $500 reward. Angela said that does not fill the hole left by Maverick's disappearance. 

Later, the Lawson's learned, this issue has happened before with Rover.

Stories surfaced from San Francisco to Chicago to Las Vegas.

While Rover said in a statement this occurrence is very rare, Michael hopes other pet parents do their research.

"Do your due diligence because a lot of apps like Rover are not located in your state," he said. "Trying to contact them or go after them legally is almost impossible." 

In Rover's statement, the company went on to say, "As soon as we were alerted that he was missing, our 24/7 Trust and Safety team took action to support the search, including offering a $500 reward, paying for flyers, and posting on online pet-finding websites, which send alerts to local shelters and veterinarians."

The company added, that 50,000 stays have been conducted through its platform, and "98% of reviewed stays [received] 5 stars."

► Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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