Dogs die under care of pet-sitter

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by Meredith Yeomans, @Meredith3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 19 at 4:58 PM

SCOTTSDALE -- They walk, swim, eat and sleep side by side, but the four dogs aren't just best friends, they're family to John Reynolds and his wife Joanna O'Neal.

“Our life revolves around our dogs, from the second we wake up to the time we go to bed,” O'Neal said.

The couple even wanted to take them on their vacation to Mexico over the holidays.

“That wasn't an option,” Reynolds said.

The couple tried another route and contacted a woman named Amanda Turner with a business called Amanda's Pet Sitting.

O'Neal said Turner visited their home before deciding to hire her. She wanted Turner to meet their four dogs and to discuss their food, sleep and play schedules.

“She seemed great!” O'Neal said. “I mean, I got a very good feeling from her.”

O'Neal says Turner agreed to stay overnight at their home -- 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. -- for the three nights they were away.

When the couple returned from their vacation, however, they made a horrifying discovery.

“It was a bloodbath back here,” O'Neal said.

Two of the dogs -- Jack and Reggie -- were dead, both reportedly attacked by a bobcat in the backyard. Reynolds and O'Neal say an animal control professional helped confirm that claim.

The couple believes Turner did not stay overnight like she was paid to. Instead, they believe she left the two larger dogs outside overnight, which is when the attack happened, killing Jack, and injuring Reggie so badly that he had to be put down.

“He survived a brain tumor and skin cancer, and this just isn't how I thought I was going to have to say goodbye to him,” Reynolds said. “It's been tough.”

We found Turner on Facebook.

We also found her mugshot. It turns out, Turner is a convicted felon who is still on probation for theft.

“This person should not be having a job where she has keys to people's house,” O'Neal said.

We couldn't find Amanda's Pet Sitting at any of the addresses listed for the business.

Turner declined our request for an interview but, over the phone, told 3 On Your Side that her theft conviction is completely unrelated to her pet-sitting business.

As for Jack and Reggie, Turner says she was at the home but doesn't know how she slept right through the attack.

In the meantime, Reynolds and O'Neal have paid to have bobcat traps on their property to try to protect their remaining two dogs, dogs now without their best friends and owners still trying to figure out how this could have happened.

“This should've never happened,” O'Neal said.

“Nothing we can do will bring, will bring those two back,” Reynolds said.

The couple has filed a lawsuit against Turner in justice court.

If you're looking for a pet sitter, your best bet is to find one through word of mouth. Ask around, and once you find one, be sure to check references.

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