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Wag is a fast-growing app that has attracted publicity, celebrity endorsements, and tens of millions in investments. The app connects pet owners with sitters, walkers, and other pet services, and earns money by taking a percentage of each transaction. Wag has already earned a reputation as the Uber of dog-walking, an app that can both revolutionize the multi-billion dollar pet industry and provide side gigs to an army of contractors in the burgeoning gig economy.
And like Uber, Wag’s reputation has taken a series of severe hits in recent months as a number of dog owners have accused Wag contractors of negligence that has resulted in lost and even killed pets, Bloomberg reports. Last month, reports began to circulate on social media that a Wag dog walker had lost Buddy, a beagle-terrier mix owned by retired nurse MaryEllen Humphrey.
Humphrey alleges that Wag offered her $2,500 and a trip to Disney World in exchange for her silence. While Wag asserts that it set up a $1,000 reward, issued a Pet Amber Alert to notify the neighborhood of the missing dog, and hired a professional dog rescuer, Humphrey denies that this is the case.
In response, Wag ordered its attorney, Mark Warren Moody, to send her a cease and desist letter demanding that she publicly apologize and retract her accusations on social media. “If your retraction and apology to Wag! are not publicly posted to each and every social media platform that you have used to libel Wag! within 24 hours of the time of this email, this office has been authorized to use all available means to bring as swift as possible an end to your lies,” Moody wrote.
Humphrey was forced to hire her own professional trackers to find Buddy, but in the end it was a local woman who found the dog, which happened to be standing near a “Find Buddy” poster. Other Wag clients have also come forward to share stories of lost dogs that ended up being struck by cars.