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Scott G Winterton, KSL

Former U. coach sues dog boarding facility over death of beloved pet

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Oct 17th, 2018 @ 4:08pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Former University of Utah and Weber State football coach Ron McBride is suing a dog boarding facility in Murray after his family's longtime pet was killed by two other dogs there.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in 3rd District Court against Unleashed Dog Hotel, 5241 Commerce Drive in Murray.

McBride, his wife Vicky McBride, Jill Baxter (the McBrides' daughter) and her husband, John Baxter, Mark Redican and his wife, Kelly Redican (the McBrides' daughter), are all listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The Baxter family adopted a dog named Christa, a purebred German shepherd, in 2008 when it was 8-weeks-old, according to the suit.

"Christa was obedient, trained, and well-socialized with people and other dogs. Christa got along well with both Coach and Flipper, the two other dogs living in the McBride/Redican home, and became a beloved family pet of the McBrides and Redicans as well as the Baxters," the lawsuit states.

On May 1, the McBrides and Redicans hosted a wedding at their Holladay home and decided to board their three dogs at Unleashed Dog Hotel during the event. The lawsuit contends Unleashed Dog Hotel was picked after "substantial research" because it promised a "rigorously trained staff, constant supervision and monitoring."

While the dogs were at the facility, employees had all of the dogs deemed to be well-behaved in an enclosed play area. But when the dogs were removed from the area, employees did not account for Christa who had fallen asleep, the lawsuit states.

Employees then let two other dogs in the play area whose owner had warned "were dog-aggressive and 'ganged up' on other dogs. He warned that his two dogs would seriously harm another dog," according to the lawsuit.

After putting the two aggressive dogs in the play area, employees failed to watch the area, according to the lawsuit.

"No one stayed with the dogs to supervise them and no one monitored the cameras that surveilled the enclosed area where (the) two dogs had been left all alone," the lawsuit states, noting the dogs were left unmonitored for 35 minutes.

When the two aggressive dogs found Christa sleeping, "both dogs attacked her simultaneously, dragging Christa around the room, viciously attacking and mauling her. There was no escape route from the enclosed area and Christa suffered a brutal attack for 15 minutes before she was killed," according to the lawsuit.

The attack was recorded on the company's surveillance camera.

After the attack, Unleashed Dog Hotel posted on Facebook that the company was "heartbroken and grieve with the Redican family over the loss of their beloved Christa. While the circumstances leading up to the incident were unforeseeable and unexpected we are responsible for an irreparable loss. We have expressed our apologies and our condolences to the family and have taken measures to ensure this will never happen again."

The McBrides have asked for a jury trial to determine how much the company should pay. In their lawsuit, they claim the business was guilty of gross negligence, breach of contract and intentional misrepresentation.

A call placed on Wednesday to the boarding facility was not immediately returned.

Pat Reavy

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