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Pets are family; everybody agrees. And, just like any other pet owner, Luke Mullaney loved his dog from the core of his heart. But since he couldn’t be there for him all the time, he enrolled in a nearby pet daycare and grooming center. He thought that he was doing what was best for his dog, but on one unfortunate day in March’17, he noticed that his dog had something else besides her regular collar. When he looked closely, it left him appalled!

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Luke Mullaney lives in Mount Greenwood (South-west Chicago, Illinois). He and his girlfriend, Lauren Mayer had adopted Mya, an adorable and full of life German shepherd, about two years back. They loved to play with Mya but considering their full-time jobs and their wish to shower her with the best things in life, they signed up Mya as a regular member in a Posh Pet Day Spa nearby. Little did they know what was to follow…

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Mya was a rescue dog and suffered from anxiety. So, Luke and Lauren thought that interacting with other dogs in the spa would make her feel more at ease. Moreover, this way they could take care of other errands while Mya enjoyed her playtime and lush grooming sessions. Everything seemed to be going smoothly for over a year until…

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Mya was sent to the day spa twice a week. She even seemed happy about the experience. But on March 11, 2017, everything changed. It was another usual day for Mya to be at the spa. But when Luke went to pick her up, he suddenly noticed that Mya had an extra collar around her neck. At first, he thought it could have been an identification mark for the spa. But then it hit him; he had never seen it before for over a year, then why now?

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What troubled him, even more, was that there was a big black box attached to the collar that was placed almost directly on Mya’s throat. However, he had no idea what this sinister thing meant. He was furious and walked right back into the facility. And the reaction from the staff member made him believe that something very wrong was going on in there.

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In an interview with ABC news, Luke said, “The troubling thing was the first thing she said when I walked in the door and held it up was, ‘Uh Oh,’” On enquiring strictly, Luke discovered that the device was an electric pet trainer called PET853 anti-bark shock collar. Obviously, someone at the spa had fitted Mya with this sinister device. But who and why?!

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Luke was furious. He asked the staff member why it was on his dog and she replied that obviously the dog was barking too much. Luke was extremely furiously, for the reason that someone at the spa had used a device- that too, a shock device- on his dog especially without his express consent. He immediately called his girlfriend to ask if she knew about this.

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However, even Lauren was appalled on hearing the news. She had no idea about the shock collar and was equally furious. She was confused why would anyone strap Mya with anti-bark shock collar when she rarely barked anyway? Mya was one of the quietest ones. So, what kind of bad habit were the members of the spa trying to break by giving her such a painful stimulus?

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The staff members, however, refused to answer any questions. But Luke and Lauren needed answers!

On giving it a deeper thought, they realized that Mya tends to whimper and cry in unfamiliar situations or places, so maybe the spa had used the collar to stop her from making those noises. But she expressed her disagreement with this practice in an interview with a reporter from DNA- a Chicago news website, “She is crying because is scared. And she is scared because she has a shock collar on.”

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Furthermore, the collar was activated by the noise and it could have also been triggered by the barking from other dogs. Luke and Lauren were seriously concerned. After all, they had accidentally noticed the sinister device. They had no idea how long had this been going on in the spa. While they had immediately stopped using the spa’s services, they were sure that they were using similar devices on other dogs too.

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Lauren told DNA, “The first thing I realized was that if there’s a ‘No. 6’ on it, there must be five others.” She informed the other fellow dog owners about the incident by posting it on a local Facebook page. Soon enough comments poured in. Some were even in the favor of the spa, saying that Mya could have been a special case. But sadly, the reality bit.

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Another person came forward who revealed that the same spa had used a shock collar on her dog as well. Someone had written ‘No. 7’ on her dog’s collar with a white marker pen. So, it became clear that the problem was bigger than they initially thought. Luckily enough, all the dog lovers came together and demanded the spa to give answers for their ill practices. But the answer was less than comforting.

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Since the incident had gone viral, a journalist from ABC 7 Eyewitness News paid a visit to the owner of the Posh Pet Day Spa, Lynn Mulrenin for an interview. However, Mulrenin point-blank denied using shock collar in her spa. She claimed that the collar belonged to either her daughter’s pet or a staff member’s pet and a new staff member could have placed the shock collar on Mya by mistake.

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Mulrenin reported that the collar was not a shock collar but a training collar that merely makes a beeping noise. She said, “I use one on my own dog. He is a beagle-basset mix. My daughter uses one on hers. It’s a correction collar. There’s absolutely nothing – I mean – they wouldn’t sell them in the stores if they didn’t work.”
But Luke and Lauren had discovered something else.

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The manual for the model around Mya’s neck clearly stated that it has the capacity to shock its wearer. But Posh Pet Day Spa was adamant on their initial statement. They even released another statement, “This is an accusation, they would never do anything to hurt an animal and it has caused them ‘tears and heartache.’”

However, Luke and Lauren say they do not trust the spa and have applied for a refund for the payments made in advance. They say they have learned a harsh lesson and appeal to other dog owners to thoroughly check any pet facilities before leaving their beloved pet there.