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Animal control officer gives tips to pet owners after 3 dogs die at Berlin kennel

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BERLIN--In just a matter of months, three families say their dogs died while staying at River Run Kennel in Berlin.

FOX 61 interviewed the Story family, whose dog was named Hambone, and the Matteson family, whose dog was named Harvard.

After Hambone's death, River Run issued this statement to FOX 61 saying, in part, "We are very sad that he passed away while staying at our kennel. He was with us for two days and appeared to be a happy, well fed, older dog. After he passed away, the Storys related to us that he had a history of seizures. It appears that he died peacefully in his sleep during the second night he was with us."

After we reported on Harvard's death, River Run claimed that report was based on rumors.

The Department of Agriculture said these deaths don’t happen often.  Either way, kennels are not required to report deaths at their facilities.  Ray Connors, supervisor of state Animal Control with the Department of Agriculture, said a complaint needs to be filed before they investigate.

Harvard's family is now doing that.  Hambone's owners filed one back in June, but Connors said, “It was unfounded. The dog had an underlying medical condition that caused it to expire. “

Connors said in some cases pets just don't do well in a kennel setting and can become ill.

“I have an elderly dog. I know she would never do well,” said Connors.

He said it's best to go to the kennel with your pet ahead of time and see how they react.

"Ask for a tour. If they refuse you to go look at the facility. That should be a clue,” said Connors.

It’s also important to make sure the kennel has good reviews and is on the state's e-license list.

Connors is also warning consumers about the thousands of people who advertise pet boarding inside their homes. They too must be licensed. Just days ago, a Redding woman was arrested after a dog died while in her care. She was not licensed.

Connors said, “If they're licensed by this department, then they're inspected by this department and they're subject to our regulations.”

If anyone has any questions or concerns in general about kennels, you can call the State Department of Agriculture at 860-713-2506. And click here to access the state's e-licensing database to look up any business you intend to leave your pets at.