Monday, July 4, 2022

Rover pet sitter accused of animal cruelty faces 15 additional counts

Pamala Lynn Rodriguez

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A woman arrested by New Hanover Sheriff’s Office for animal cruelty earlier this week is facing 15 additional charges.

Pamala Lynn Rodriguez was charged with two counts of felony cruelty to animals after two German Shepherds died in her care. Upon further investigation, she was charged with six misdemeanor counts for failing to vaccinate her animals and nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

Thomas Skiff, her boyfriend, was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of failing to vaccinate his dog.

Sheriff’s office spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer said earlier this week the investigation was ongoing and indicated it was likely Rodriguez would face additional charges for other neglected animals.

Rodriguez operated her dog walking and boarding business out of her home, according to the NHCSO release. Necropsies revealed the two German Shepherds who died on her watch were extremely dehydrated and starved. In a toxicology report, unknown quantities of Pentobarbital were found, a search warrant states. Pentobarbital is commonly used by vets to sedate or euthanize sick animals.

Deputies issued the warrant to search Rodriguez’s home at 176 Beawood Rd. on May 20 for Pentobarbital and other at-risk animals. The sheriff’s office described the residence as filthy, over 85 degrees with no fans and smelling of urine. It also noted dogs were kept in crates that were too small and lacked food and water.

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

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 incidents such as Rodriguez’s case as “very rare,” citing the company’s nearly 24,000 stays in the Wilmington area. Of those reviewed , 98% received 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.”

Nala and Jager allegedly died on Rodriguez’s watch. Necropsies revealed the two German Shepherds were extremely dehydrated and starved, according to the sheriff’s office. (Courtesy of New Hanover County 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 alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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