Lawmaker pre-files dog boarding facility bill after Live 5 News investigation

Surveillance footage showed Zane (highlighted) walked under a metal pool before becoming...
Surveillance footage showed Zane (highlighted) walked under a metal pool before becoming trapped beneath it. (Source: Mt. Pleasant Police)
Published: Dec. 16, 2016 at 11:00 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2016 at 11:47 PM EST
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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A Live 5 News investigation into the death of a dog at a boarding facility has prompted a state lawmaker to pre-file legislation to regulate dog daycare facilities.

Our investigation in May revealed that South Carolina has no laws to regulate the day care facilities. Operators only need a business license.

We began our investigation after we were contacted by Judith Von.

Von's pet dog Zane died at Paws and Paradise in Mt. Pleasant in August, 2015.

Surveillance video obtained by Live 5 News showed the dog going under a propped up pool that fell on him and trapped him inside.

The video showed that no employees saw the pool fall on Zane.

Five hours later an employee found the dog dead under the pool.

Von sued Paws in Paradise for negligence. She contacted Live 5 News to tell her story and make a plea for stronger laws for doggy day care.

That is how State Rep. Mike Sottile learned of Von's story.

"Mrs. Von or anybody else should never have to go through a situation like this," Sottile said.

Sottile drafted a bill to regulate doggy day cares. Sottile pre-filed the bill Thursday in hopes it will become law in the upcoming legislative session.

"The main thing is it establishes a caretakers board," Sottile said.

The board would have nine members appointed by the governor. Six members would be licensed veterinarians who also operate boarding facilities.

Sottile says the bill also would require doggy daycare operators to register and obtain a certificate from the board to be certified. Operators also will have to pass a test.

"That's the main thing, just being certified and knowing what you're doing," Sottile said.

We went to Paws in Paradise to find out if they've made any changes to procedures in the wake of Zane's death.

We were told the owner wasn't there.

We left a business card but haven't heard back from her.

We also reached out to the attorney representing Paws in Paradise in the lawsuit, and haven't heard back from her either.

Von is thrilled that Sottile is pushing for the doggy daycare law.

"I want to personally thank Mr. Sottile. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and Channel 5 because if you hadn't been willing to be out there and be the voice for those animals, none of this would have happened," Von said.

Sottile says his bill will be taken up by several committees and go through public hearings before it goes to the house and senate.

Judith Von's attorney told us they are in settlement talks to resolve Von's lawsuit against Paws in Paradise.

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