The owners of Bandit, a 4-year-old Lab-border collie mix, said he vanished after a dog walker they found through the app Wag! didn’t follow their instructions and didn’t use a harness when taking the dog out for a walk.
Wag! said a dog getting loose on a walk is “extremely rare” and sent KIRO-TV the following statement:
"We are terribly sorry to inform you that Bandit has unfortunately passed away. Bandit was found in (Olympic Sculpture Park) this afternoon, and we are in close contact with the owners. Wag! had gone to extraordinary lengths to bring Bandit home. We are heartbroken by this outcome. The walker has been removed from our platform pending an investigation. Our thoughts are with Bandit's owners at this difficult time."
Bandit’s owners say they’ve used the app before and this is the first time they’ve had a problem.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time it’s fine. This 1 percent it’s not. (Bandit’s) not coming home tonight and we just want to make sure people weigh that flexibility with the risk,” Burke said.
Burke and Morrissey said they’ve both walked for Wag! as dog walkers and urge all dog walkers to pay attention to the instructions left by dog owners, saying it could help prevent another accident. As for what Wag! did to help find Bandit after he ran away, the company said: “Wag! activated a search party of numerous people to look for Bandit from the moment he escaped; printed and distributed hundreds of flyers, printed and hung two large banners and activated a Pet Amber Alert as well as PawBoost. It deployed a special dedicated tip line for sightings and stayed in constant contact with the dog’s owners, as sightings came in.”