ANOTHER DOG KILLED UNDER CARE OF PET APP WAG: SUIT
By Gabrielle Fonrouge July 1, 2019
The day before actress Olivia Munn came to the rescue of embattled dog-walking app Wag after one of its walkers stole a Manhattan dog, another city pooch was killed during a walk with a different Wag worker — who also stole the pup’s crystal necklace, a new lawsuit charges.
The suit, filed in Nassau County federal court Monday, claims a Hudson Yards couple’s tiny Yorkshire terrier, Whiskey, was hit by a car and killed on June 13 while out with a walker hired through the app.
Wag told the distraught couple their beloved pup had slipped out of its harness — but the NYPD told them their dog had no harness or collar when it was taken on the walk, and their home surveillance system showed the walker coming back to the home without Whiskey and taking the forgotten harness from the kitchen “to cover his tracks,” the lawsuit alleges.
The suit also claims the Wag dog walker lifted the dog’s jewel-encrusted necklace at some point during the incident. Wag told The Post that walker has since been banned from the platform but declined further comment.
That very same day and just a few miles away in Battery Park City, a Wag walker allegedly stole another couple’s Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix, Benny, from their home.
As the couple frantically tried to find their dog, Munn — a Wag investor — intervened to personally calm the couple down. Benny was found and the walker was busted the following day.
Whiskey is at least the 11th dog lost or killed by Wag in the Big Apple since 2015 — and at least the 14th nationwide, according to records kept by The Post.
The new suit, filed by high-profile lawyer Susan Chana Lask, is not over Whiskey, but rather accuses Wag of deceptive and fraudulent marketing on behalf of another plaintiff, who says she tried to book a dog walker on the app but suspected Wag wasn’t being truthful in its advertising.
The attorney alleges that Wag’s website was rife with “deceptive and misleading” claims.
For example, on its website, Wag says pet parents are guaranteed up to $1 million if anything goes wrong. But in its terms of service — which is “not easily accessible nor prominent, but hidden away at the very bottom of the page as one of many links” — it states Wag is not liable for anything that occurs by the “Pet Care Provider” and limits liability to a mere $500, the suit charges.
The terms of service also state Wag has “no control” over the conduct of its dog walkers.
Lask also questioned Wag’s claim they’ve made more than 10 trillion steps while dog walking, saying the number doesn’t square with their annual gross revenue.
The suit casts doubt on Wag’s purported “robust vetting process” and “thorough background check” that the company says all walkers must undergo.
Those checks “are evidently not in place by virtue of the demonstrated criminal conduct of their walkers dispatched to consumer homes,” the suit charges.
In October 2018, a sitter allegedly destroyed an Upper West Side couple’s apartment and even left blood all over their shower after getting drunk and becoming suicidal, The Post reported at the time.
Two months later in December, a Wag walker was caught on camera kneeing a California couple’s dog in the chest repeatedly while whipping it with a leash, KTVU reported. That walker, Adam Vavrus, has since been charged with animal cruelty, according to the outlet.
Lask’s lawsuit seeks $5 million in compensation to people who used Wag in the past three years. Lask, who has previously called on local lawmakers to create new laws regulating the industry, is also asking the the court to impose stronger regulations so consumers will have more protections.
“Wag’s marketing is so misleading that it actually convinces consumers to basically give their baby to a stranger on the street for 20 bucks,” Lask told The Post of the lawsuit.
Lask has previously called on local lawmakers to create new laws regulating the industry.
“It’s a no-brainer why so many precious dogs are killed, abused and stolen under Wag’s watch, and why consumers deserve the attention of their attorneys general and legislators to create laws mandating training, licensing and bonding of dog walkers,” she added.
Lask called Munn a “hypocrite” for not stepping up to Wag.
“When just one dog died on a United flight, she urged the public to never fly United again, but when over 11 dogs and counting are dead and abused by Wag’s walkers, she encourages the public to look away,” Lask said in reference to the French bulldog named “Kokito” that was killed in March 2018 after a flight attendant made the dog’s owner store the pooch in an overhead compartment.
Munn did not return a request for comment.
Wag said in a statement that the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation but is committed to ensuring the safety and security of its platform and those who use it.