yachtdog.jpgThe owner of a deceased pet is suing the dog boarding company she entrusted her dog Maximus to, only to hear that her dog ran off and was found later, dead. Constance Tyler gave Maximus, an English bulldog, to high-priced kennel Doggie Diva before taking a trip to California. Doggie Diva owner Alice Moss, took Maximus and a number of other dogs from the business' Bronx facility to a property in upstate New York. Tyler was alarmed when she received a call from Moss. From the Post:

"Hysterical and screaming, Alice advised Constance that Maximus ran off into the woods and was missing," court papers say. After that initial phone call, Moss wouldn't answer Tyler's increasingly frantic calls, the suit says.

Determined to find her pet, Tyler rented a cottage in the Berkshires and spent weeks combing the woods for Maximus. She even met with the sheriff, went on local radio shows, and offered a reward for her dog's return.

"In the end, the massive search effort undertaken by Constance, which had enacted an enormous emotional toll on her, was for naught," the suit says. "Maximus' lifeless body was found floating in a pond near [Moss'] property."

The bereaved pet owner is suing Moss for $80,000, citing breach of contract and negligence. Moss, in turn, is claiming that Maximus was a "mad dog" that killed a dauchsund also in her care before fleeing into the forest. In her own defense, Moss claims that she was traumatized by Maximus and had to go into therapy to recover from the loss of not just the bulldog, but the dauchsund he killed (gladiator-style?).

And apparently this legal case is revealing some things that are probably upsetting to clients who boarded their pets with Doggie Diva. The seemingly upscale service that charged as much as $5,000 for packages including overnight stays, with yacht trips, organic shampoos, and limousine transportation, was apparently operating illegally in the Bronx. The facility on Zerega Ave. was padlocked in January, when authorities were notified it was operating without a permit. Neighbors had numerous complaints about the kennel, including after hours construction without permits, and debris falling from the building. And check out this Urbanhound discussion about Doggie Diva - some dog owners mention that their dogs were lost after dropping them off.

(Photo of dogs on a yacht from Doggie Diva's website)