Monday, July 4, 2022

Rover pet sitter charged with animal cruelty after 2 dogs die, sheriff’s office seizes 16 animals

Pamala Lynn Rodriguez

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The New Hanover Sheriff’s Office has arrested a woman accused of not properly taking care of dogs she was boarding, leading to the death of two German Shepherds.

Pamala Lynn Rodriguez was charged with two counts of felony cruelty to animals.

RELATED: New Hanover deputies arrest man for animal cruelty, save dog

Rodriguez owned and operated a dog walking and boarding business through Rover, according to the NHCSO release. The office said two German Shepherds, named Nala and Jager, died in her care in late April.

“After five days of being boarded with Rodriguez, she stated she woke up and found Nala deceased,” according to the release. “Later that day Rodriguez’s stated that Jager was acting lethargic, so she took him to the emergency vet, where Jager passed away.”

The animal services unit requested necropsies for both dogs and learned the German Shepherds died of extreme dehydration and starvation. According to a search warrant, there was no food in their lower bowel or intestines, indicating they had not eaten in some time. In a toxicology report, they also found unknown quantities of Pentobarbital, a substance commonly used by vets to sedate or euthanize sick animals.

Deputies issued a warrant to search Rodriguez’s home at 176 Beawood Rd. on May 20 to look for Pentobarbital and any other at-risk animals.

“Rodriguez’s residence was extremely filthy, over 85 degrees with no fans, and smelled of urine,” the release states. “There were multiple dogs in crates that were too small and none of the dogs had water or food.”

Deputies seized 16 animals, including eight dogs as well as turtles and rabbits and ferrets. Rodriguez was taken to the New Hanover County Detention Facility and issued a $2,100 secure bond.

The investigation is ongoing and it’s possible Rodriguez could face additional counts or charges for any other animals who meet the threshold of neglect, spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer explained.

“Everyone knows the nice and friendly side of Animal Services Unit with our adoptions and taken care of animals. There is another side of Animal Services Unit which is investigations,” Sheriff Ed McMahon said. “I have assigned experienced investigators and seasoned Deputies who work full time in the Animal Services Unit. We will not tolerate people hurting animals in New Hanover County.”

In a statement, Rover confirmed pet care providers must pass a third-party background check before being listed on the platform, but it did not mention whether home visits were required. It called the incident “very rare,” citing the company’s nearly 24,000 stays in the Wilmington area with 98% of those reviewed receiving five stars.

“As pet parents ourselves, we are appalled by this incident and our hearts go out to everyone who loved Nala and Jäger,” Rover shared. “Our 24/7 Trust and Safety team immediately launched an investigation when we were alerted to these concerns. We removed the sitter from the Rover platform, and we remain ready and willing to work with law enforcement should they reach out.”

This article was updated to include a statement from Rover and additional information from the sheriff’s office.

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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