Community rallies together for Gabbana the Golden Retriever

A fundraiser is raising money to help pay for the injuries a golden retriever allegedly received while at a dog daycare near CrossIron Mills.

By Krista Sylvester | August 18, 2021 |7:00 am

Gabbana (right) is now recovering at home with Armani (left) after her surgeries to treat her neck wounds. There is a fundraiser to help pay for the $5,000 vet bill.

Photo: Carly Siakaluk // Submitted

It’s a case of “she said, she said” when it comes to how a 10-month-old Golden Retriever named Gabbana sustained over $5,000 in vet bills. 

Carly Siakaluk left Gabbana and 4-month-old golden retriever Armani in the care of Stacey Lynn Hodess of Dogville Daycare, located in Delacour near CrossIron Mills, while she went to BC last month. 

It was supposed to be an eight-day stay but ended a day early with an emergency vet trip. 

“I had a friend go pick my dogs up to which they saw her in really bad shape, barely moving and extremely lethargic,” Siakaluk explains, adding they brought her to the vet who shaved her down, discovering several puncture wounds. 

“They were so neglected she had maggots living inside,” Siakaluk alleges. 

What’s not being disputed is that Gabbana had some type of issue about halfway through the stay; what’s being disputed is how she ended up with those injuries and how it was handled. 

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Hodess says she thought the injuries appeared to be either a bee sting that got infected or an internal cyst. She says she texted Siakaluk to let her know that Gabbana was experiencing a problem with her neck, encouraging the dog to go to the vet, even making a vet appointment. 

Breaking down each side of the story. 

Calgary Citizen has confirmed through messages provided from both parties that Hodess did indeed reach out to Siakaluk to let her know there was something wrong, encouraging a vet visit and even booking one herself. 

Siakaluk says she declined the vet visit because she was under the impression it was a bee sting. She says when Hodess declined to send photos of her dog’s neck, she became more worried and sent her friends to pick up the dog a day early, on July 31. This part is confirmed through the messages; Hodess said the dog wouldn’t allow her to take photos of her neck. 

That’s when it was discovered that Gabbana had what appears to be puncture wounds on her neck that got infected to the point the maggots inside also laid eggs. The vet said this could have happened within three to five days. Hodess says she can’t be sure the dog didn’t come to her with the puncture wounds and says she didn’t see any dog fights under her care. 

The vet rushed her to emergency and she had to undergo surgery to remove the maggots, and then have a second surgery after they found more inside. She had a bad infection and is still recovering, now at home. According to Siakaluk, the vet believes the injuries were the result of a dog bite.  

A rollercoaster of emotions. 

“My poor baby’s life could have been lost due to her negligence,” says Siakaluk, who contacted both Calgary police and the Alberta SPCA and says she will be suing Hodess. 

“At first I felt panic because I wasn’t home and didn’t know just how bad things were, trying to get someone to go take them from her care but I didn’t know at this point she was even really sick or anything,” she says, adding she had to pay for the dog’s care before Hodess would release them to her friends. 

“As soon as my friend told me she was extremely sick and was barely moving, I felt instant heartbreak and I was worried that she wasn’t going to make it. I feel angry that someone could allow someone’s pet to suffer for days and days on end.”

What officials have to say. 

The Calgary police service confirmed to Calgary Citizen that they received a complaint but can’t comment any further. The Alberta SPCA provided this statement via communications manager Dan Kobe: 

“I can confirm we received a public complaint on August 3rd, 2021 about a dog potentially suffering distress at a boarding facility in central Alberta. An investigation was opened and assigned to a peace officer. We are unable to release details about how the investigation is unfolding.” 

Hodess says she hasn’t heard from the SPCA or the Calgary police and says she is counter-suing Siakaluk for slander and defamation because of the posts that she’s made about her and her business. 

The fallout. 

“I honestly don’t even have the heart to talk about this anymore. She’s making accusations that are not true. I have text messages saying that the dog needs to go to the vet. I booked an appointment and she said, ‘no, don’t take the dog to the vet,’” Hodess told Calgary Citizen. 

She says she’s being unfairly targeted and that Siakaluk is ruining her business “for no reason.” She points to Facebook posts that Siakaluk made during the stay that says the dogs were happy and having fun. 

Hodess was previously charged with seven counts each of causing pain and suffering to an animal, and unnecessarily causing animals to suffer in Sept. 2020, though she says those charges were dropped. 

“All of those charges are withdrawn. It had nothing to do with me; it was my ex-business partner. I have no record,” Hodess adds. 

Siakaluk says when she tried to approach Hodess via messages to pay for the vet bills, that she was blocked and hasn’t heard from her since. Hodess told Calgary Citizen that she was blocked by Siakaluk but messages provided from both sides appear to show that Hodess was the one who did the blocking. 

Raising funds. 

In the meantime, there is a fundraiser to help pay for Gabbana’s injuries, which has now raised around $2,000 of the $5,000 goal. 

Siakaluk has taken to social media to deter others from using Hodess, and she claims other people have come forward with allegations, to which Hodess denies and says never happened. 

“This is killing me; I have dogs of my own. I love them,” Hodess says. 

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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