Owner of two dogs killed at Gibson’s Natural Pet Resort offered testimony for stricter regulations for kennels

Odin and Graham

Brenda Demers, formerly of Upton,  recently testified in support of  legislation filed to regulate boarding kennels and daycare facilities for dogs (H630). Brenda’s two tea size cup pups were mauled to death by a Siberian husky while boarding at Gibson’s Natural Pet Resort in Grafton, Ma in the spring of 2015.

Rep. James M. Cantwell (D-Marshfield), Rep. Louis L. Kafka (D-Stoughton), and Rep. Carolyn C. Dykema (D-Holliston) filed legislation to ensure dogs are safe while staying at boarding kennels or doggie daycares. The legislation addresses staff qualifications and staff/dog ratios. The legislation also addresses group sizes, supervision of dogs, housing and care requirements, indoor and outdoor physical facility requirements, utilities, dog handling, body language interpretation, breed familiarity,  and emergency response training. The legislation would include fines for violations.

Demers said, “This is a high-profit business with no one overseeing them, no regulations, and very low standards. There is nothing for the business to lose and everything for the customer to lose.”

“These facilities need to be regulated as they are taking care of living beings,” said Demers. “Behind a well-maintained storefront facade was a broken down facility that had not been inspected by the town in 13 years,” said Demers.

She testified her two small dogs were killed within the first 36 hours of their stay because of  unmaintained cages, untrained employees, a failure to separate dogs by size, and rotted/faulty cages. According to Demers, Gibson’s did not immediately contact her or the pups vet the day the dogs were killed.  “Instead they put our boys in a freezer for eight days.  The facility owners, employees, and town dog officer carelessly handled this grave situation,” she said.

“This legislation provides a common-sense approach to expanding protections for pets in our Commonwealth,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), who offered testimony to the Committee.  “Existing laws remain silent on establishing universal standards relative to boarding kennels and daycare facilities for dogs, which has led to cases of endangerment.  By establishing statewide standards, the Commonwealth can help to ensure consumer confidence and a universal quality of care.”


  1. As an employee of a Kennel facility in MA, while any accident especially when a death occurs is horrible, dogs are unpredictable animals and an accident can occur whether staff is properly trained or not. Regardless of group size, my work has small dogs playing safely with larger dogs of the same temperament. I do agree with the fact dog to staff ratio should be monitored as well as group size. But I do not feel like it’s right to blame the kennels as a whole as a problem. As I said before any dog has the capability of causing an attack regardless of temperament, size or breed.

  2. Hi, this is terrible!!! im so sorry this should of not happen… I hope they find better regulations and protections to dogs and cats….

Comments are encouraged! If this is your first time commenting (welcome!). Your email is required but not displayed. I ask town officials to use their real names.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s