More Trouble for Wag!
A little dog made headlines in the big city of New York last week. The pet parents of Benny, a Shorkie mix, claim their pup was taken by a Wag! dog walker. Max and Sophie Troper used Wag! every day to have Benny walked. Last Thursday, their original walker canceled, so they scheduled a new one. When the second walker arrived at their apartment, Benny was gone. Surveillance footage revealed an unknown man taking Benny.
Police have since revealed that this man was the original Wag! walker. They believe he used a lockbox code provided on the Wag! app in order to obtain the key to the apartment. The case trended on social media and was even publicized by actress Olivia Munn, who is also a spokesperson for Wag!. Luckily, the police tracked Benny down and found him in the suspect’s home last Friday.
However, another safety incident involving Wag! didn’t have a happy ending. In January, Pet Business covered a disturbing tragedy—a Houston couple’s cherished dog reportedly died while in the care of a dog walker hired through the Wag! app. Even more shocking was that the couple claimed Wag! covered up details and tried to make them sign a non-disclosure in exchange for covering pet cremation costs.
According to the Tropers, it seems that Wag! is acting similarly in their case. They haven’t received an explanation or apology from the company.
“We want to speak to Wag! to better understand how this happened and what they are doing to prevent this from ever happening again,” said the Tropers in an interview with Buzzfeed News. “We will never use Wag! again and encourage others to do the same until serious changes are made that make the platform safer."
A Wag! spokesperson told Buzzfeed they were changing the app’s algorithm so that lockbox passcodes can’t be shared via the Wag! notes feature.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we also emailed all pet parents to encourage them to change their lockbox codes, and called pet parents who had direct experiences with the offending individual to make sure they are aware of the situation and that they change their lockbox code right away," the spokesperson added.
As the Tropers wait for an apology, they’ve started a #BoycottWag social media campaign. If this hashtag catches on, it could spell further trouble for the app and others like it. Between this theft and December’s tragedy, these high-profile incidents are making pet parents question how thoroughly pet apps vet their caregivers and how much compassion they have for their customers.