A New Jersey dog owner is suing a pet sitter who billed herself as the "ultimate caregiver" after her pup was so badly mauled by another dog it lost an eye.
Dog owner Gina Luongo dropped her 5-year-old Maltese/Shih Tzu mix off at the house of Nicole DeBellis, a Fairfield-based pet sitter, before she went on vacation to Aruba. Luongo said she was very distraught when she received a call from DeBellis, who said her larger dog had attacked Luongo’s dog Louie when he wanted his food.
“I should have never gone on that vacation, and it breaks my heart every day,” Luongo said. “Louie brought so much joy into our lives. They’re your animals, they’re your baby – at least he’s mine.”
When Luongo returned home, she discovered Louie was mauled so badly he lost his right eye.
Luongo and another woman who put her dog in DeBellis’ care filed a lawsuit against DeBellis – they claimed she had advertised herself “…as the ultimate caregiver that provides 'Lots of love, hugs, and kisses' and lives on "3/4 of an acre of fenced yard for hours of playtime," she has proven to be, at the very least incapable and/or severely incompetent at caring for animals."
Luongo’s attorney Darren Del Sardo said the women want justice to be served for the pain they and their dogs have suffered.
“These clients don’t want money – they want acknowledgment about what happened and they want to know what happened to their dogs that day,” Del Sardo said.
Luongo said she wants to warn others to learn from her mistake and do their research.
“When you go on vacation, know who’s watching your dog,” she said.
DeBellis’ attorney said she is no longer working as a dog sitter but that they will fight the suit.