Family sues pet sitters after beloved dog, Queenie, drowns in pool while they were away on vacation

‘I feel like I almost have a moral obligation to get the word out,’ dog owner Rebecca Duke said

Kelly Rissman
Friday 07 June 2024 21:26 BST
A family in West Hollywood, California is suing a pet-sitting company after learning that their dog, Queenie, drowned in their pool while they were on vacation.
A family in West Hollywood, California is suing a pet-sitting company after learning that their dog, Queenie, drowned in their pool while they were on vacation. (Rebecca Duke/Instagram)

A West Hollywood family is suing a pet-sitting company after their beloved dog drowned in their pool while they were on vacation.

Dog owner Rebecca Duke and her family filed a lawsuit this week against Trusted Housesitters, a service that connects pet owners to “verified and reviewed sitters,” according to its website. The suit accuses Trusted Housesitters of negligence and breach of contract.

The company told The Independent that it was “heartbroken” of the incident and wanted to find a resolution with the impacted familly.

The drowning occurred last November when Duke went on a trip to San Diego for a weekend and she left her dog, a 16-year-old mini schnauzer, Queenie, with a sitter she found on the site.

Duke recalled the sitter calling her “hysterical” with the terrible news: Queenie had fallen into the pool.

“When I left here, she was not dying,” Duke told KCAL. “It never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that she wouldn’t be here. I would have never have gone.”

A family in West Hollywood, California is suing a pet-sitting company after learning that their dog, Queenie, drowned in their pool while they were on vacation.
A family in West Hollywood, California is suing a pet-sitting company after learning that their dog, Queenie, drowned in their pool while they were on vacation. (Rebecca Duke/Instagram)

“I feel robbed. I feel she stole my dog’s last few days,” she said.

Duke said her family chose the sitter, feeling she was the best for the job, after interviewing multiple candidates. A neighbor had recommended the service.

“I gave her very specific instructions not to let Queenie out in the dark at night, especially at night, but not to let her in the back garden where we have a swimming pool,” Duke told the outlet.

The drowning occurred last November when Duke went on a trip to San Diego for a weekend and she left Queenie with a sitter.
The drowning occurred last November when Duke went on a trip to San Diego for a weekend and she left Queenie with a sitter. (Rebecca Duke/Instagram)

Security footage, obtained by the outlet, captured Queenie exiting the home and swimming in the pool until she tried to escape, in vain. The dog then stopped swimming, and at some point, the sitter ran to the dog and started performing CPR.

“I feel like I almost have a moral obligation to get the word out,” Duke said about the outlet. “Frankly, I don’t want anyone else to go through the pain that we have been through as a family.”

Its unclear how much money the family is seeking in the lawsuit.

“We are heartbroken by this tragic accident and deeply sorry for the loss of Queenie. Our deepest condolences and full support is with Rebecca Duke and her family,” a Trusted Housesitters spokesperson told The Independent.

“At TrustedHousesitters the safety of pets is our top priority, and we are committed to supporting both Queenie’s family and the pet sitter during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone touched by this tragic accident. We will continue to provide support to our members as we work towards finding a resolution.”

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