In the digital age it is important to ask for a SafetyPIN to prevent tragic stories from happening to you and your family
A Manhattan woman booked a sitter for her pooch through the infamous “Uber for dogs” app, Wag, only to learn the pup had gone missing in New Jersey — and may have ended up as dinner for pit bulls.
The owner used the app to find someone to watch her 4-year-old rescue Chihuahua, Sweets, from June 13-20, but a few days in, she was told the caramel-colored canine had vanished from the dog-minder’s home in North Bergen, NJ.
One man involved in the search claims the sitter’s story about what happened kept changing — but says the dog-walker brought up one seriously disturbing possibility.
“She told the owner there are dog-fighting rings in the area. They use Chihuahuas as bait for the pitties,” said Michael Ripinsky, the Jersey dog-shelter owner who first helped find Sweets a home. Now he’s joined the search for her.
Ultimately, the sitter said the dog had slipped out of her yard and wasn’t wearing a collar at the time because it had come loose and the sitter removed it.
Wag does not inspect its sitters’ homes, instead relying on a “written test, an in-person safety test and a background check,” according to spokeswoman Dini von Mueffling, who added Sweets’ sitter no longer works for the app.
When Ripinsky went to check out the home where Sweets was staying, he found the yard was just a dirt pile surrounded by crummy fences.
He says it wasn’t in the Chihuahua’s nature to run off — and worries she really has been caught up in the underground dog-fighting scene.
Wag dismissed the idea.
“With regard to the question of ‘Chihuahua death rings’: We have no knowledge of this. At no time in our conversation with local law enforcement, animal control or local shelters, has this topic come up,” said von Mueffling.
Since Sweets disappeared, Wag says it has mounted a massive dog-hunt — hiring a tracker, organizing search parties and offering a $2,000 reward.
Sweets is at least the eighth Big Apple pup to give a Wag walker the slip since 2015.
Last month, 3-year-old German shepherd-basset hound mix Teddy was lost by his walker in Harlem — but was fortunately found the next day.
Others haven’t been so lucky.
Upper East Side Chihuahua Norman slipped his harness during a March walk and hasn’t been seen since.
The app also screwed the pooch in May when it gave a female walker’s address to an irate dog owner who burst into her home at 1 a.m. shouting, “Where the f–k is my dog?”
The dog was safely back at the owner’s home.
Sweets’ owner declined to comment. The sitter couldn’t be reached.