Published: 16:05, 16 August 2019
| Updated: 16:29, 21 August 2019
A dog boarding company has been temporarily closed amid a furious row about the death of a beloved pet.
Mum-of-two Lindsay Standen had taken 10-month-old Sashca, to Maidstone Springers while her family went on holiday.
She says when she picked up Sashca, and her two other dogs, the pomeranian was given back to her unconscious, with a swollen head.
But Leslie Roberts who owns the company, in Maidstone's Huntsman Lane, says the dog was not unconscious but asleep and does not know how she suffered her injuries. He also says in all the years he has been running he has never had a complaint about the care he gives to dogs.
The mother, from Charing, has reported the owner to police, Maidstone council and the RSPCA. The council confirmed Maidstone Springers has been asked to stop trading while an investigation is carried out and the RSPCA said it was aware of the issue.
Mrs Standen said she kept in in touch with Mr Roberts over email, throughout her two-week trip, to check the three dogs were ok during their stay. No problems were mentioned.
When the family collected their pets last Friday, they were shocked and immediately rushed Sashca to the vets.
Mrs Standen said: "Her head was three times its normal size.
"She was rushed straight into triage, she had brain damage, she couldn't walk and she was given methadone and painkillers to help with the pain. We were told it was the worst case they had ever seen.
"The vets couldn't do any more for her so I decided to bring her home."
Mrs Standen, 38, hoped Sashca would recover by being around her family, but tragically she did not walk again.
"Sadly we made the decision to put her to sleep."
Mrs Standen claimed she emailed Mr Roberts to say they were on the way to collect Sashca and he responded saying they needed to call as soon as possible. She claims she was told over the phone Sashca had taken a bump to the head.
She said: "He told me he had taken her to the vets on Friday morning and she had been given anti-inflammatory drugs but at no point had he told us. If he had we could have gone straight away.
"I feel guilty, like I am responsible, because I was supposed to be her protector."
A post widely shared on Facebook suggests the young dog's injuries were consistent with being stamped or kicked on.
Mr Roberts said he had 'no clue' about what had happened to Sashca, but said he knew something was not right and took her to the vets.
He said: "The owners had requested the dogs stay together so they were all in the same crate with food and water.
"If anyone or another dog came near it, it would squeal its head off. If I had trodden on it, kicked it or thrown it, it would not have stopped. I am not a man capable of doing anything like that.
"I refute the disgusting accusation that I hurt this dog.
"I don't know how they know it was blunt force trauma, there is no proof and if there was I would love to see it myself.It's not anything I have done maliciously or purposely."
He acknowledged the dog had a swollen head, but claims he did not know the cause ofthe injury.
He added: "The dog got injured and it died, I am not trying to sound grim or flippant, all I can say is I don't know what happened.
"It could have run into something, for the life of me I do not know.
"Once I was aware she wasn't right I took her to the vet on Friday morning. I didn't know what to do I just knew there was something wrong."
The 62-year-old also said he has been forced to turn off his phone after receiving verbal abuse and multiple death threats.
The family had looked at placing the dogs in a pet resort but it was around £2,000 for the stay so they chose Maidstone Springers. They thought it was a good decision as the dogs are not kept in kennels, stay in the home and could be kept together. The couple paid £600 for their three animals.
Mr Roberts told the KM he had told Maidstone council how he intended to run his business and asked what licence he needed to have. He said he did not hear anything back, but when licensing regulations changed he again contacted the authority to ask what he should have in place. Hearing nothing, he continued to trade.
A Maidstone Borough Council spokeswoman said: “We were made aware earlier this week of allegations that Maidstone Springers has been running a business without the necessary licence in place. The matter is being actively investigated by the council and the company has been instructed to cease carrying out licensable activities in the absence of the correct documentation.”