‘It’s unimaginable’: Family dog escapes Concord animal hospital, gets hit and killed by car

CONCORD, N.C. — A Concord family came home from Christmas vacation to find their dog was missing from the animal hospital where she was being boarded. Friday morning, the dog Charley was hit by a car and died after being boarded at the Poplar Tent Animal Hospital.

”It’s unimaginable. It’s your family dog, it’s part of your family,” Catherine Malicki said.

Right now, Malicki doesn’t have any answers for her daughter to explain how this could have happened to Charley.

Malicki said the Poplar Tent Animal Hospital told her the cage wasn’t properly locked and the back door wasn’t completely shut.

“They said they didn’t put the pin in the cage,” Malicki said.

She spent yesterday trying to get help from the animal hospital. She said the hospital didn’t have procedures for a missing pet.

“I wanted more resources to help me and I was frustrated by that,” Malicki said.

And, a lot of time was lost.

“If we had all day yesterday and getting people out there early that would have made all the difference. I’m convinced of that and it will haunt me forever,” Malicki said.

Catherine and some friends hung signs everywhere and even strangers came to help. A local organization Mission Pet Recovery came and set live traps, hoping to bring Charley home.

“It breaks my heart. I wish I would have pitched a tent and waited for her,” Malicki said.

Friday morning, Charley was found near the hospital but she had been hit and killed by a car.

“I screamed. I just can’t even believe this is real still I can’t believe it happened,” Malicki said.

Malicki said the hospital didn’t have cameras or an alarm for a dog getting out of the cage or the door. They also didn’t have an overnight attendant. Now, she wants other pet parents to know to ask those questions before boarding a pet.

“She has a Christmas stocking she hasn’t opened yet. She should be here,” Malicki said.

We reached out to the Poplar Tent Animal Hospital for a response and Dr. Jeff Munn said his heart aches over the tragic incident.

“Believe me, my heart aches over this,” Munn said. “If I could back up time and go recheck that door, I would in an instant.”


POPLAR ANIMAL HOSPITAL STATEMENT:

"To our Poplar Animal Hospital family. On December 25th after evening walks, one of the dogs at our facility escaped. After employees left for the evening, Charley managed to escape from her locked cage. Unfortunately, in addition to this, the kennel door had a lock failure. Upon inspection of the door we found that It appeared to be in the “locked” position, however the weather stripping prevented the door from fully securing. This was immediately corrected to prevent any further issues.

Our doctors and staff have been caring for the pets of Cabarrus county for 17 years and have never experienced this type of tragedy. Our goal now is to ensure that this never happens to another family. Ms. Noyes has agreed to work with us to develop a plan to help families locate missing pets and manage communication when tragedy strikes."


Malicki is new to the area so she said it took her awhile to track down resources for help but one woman even drove from Asheville to help with her blood hounds.

Catherine wishes she had those resources earlier.

Here are a few:

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