Palm Beach family loses toy poodle in tragedy at pet boarding facility – Palm Beach Post


When Julian Bharti traveled to the Bahamas on June 24 for a family vacation, he left his two toy poodles, Bear and Pepsi, at Onblonde Pet Spa and Boutique, a dog-grooming facility on South County Road in Palm Beach that also offers boarding services.

The family’s plan for a peaceful getaway ended the following day when they got a call that Bear had been been severely injured after being attacked by another dog at the Jupiter Farms property where Onblonde has its boarding facility, Bharti told the Daily News.

Bear died several hours after he was rushed to an emergency veterinary clinic in Jupiter.

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Bharti and his family were devastated.

Bear had been cared for primarily by his wife, Christy, and their 12-year-old daughter, Sienna, to whom the dog belonged.

Bharti said his wife and daughter were “a mess,” when they got the news about Bear. 

Onblonde owner Alyce Riedesel said Bear’s death was a “horrible tragedy,” and she and her staff remain distraught over it.

He was playing under the supervision of an Onblonde staffer, she said, when a dog in a neighboring yard jumped the fence and attacked him “without warning or provocation.”

Toy poodle first dog seriously injured in Onblonde’s care

Staff members were able to separate the animals within seconds, she said, but Bear’s injuries were too grave.

“This event was truly unimaginable, and the pain of this loss will be felt by all of us forever,” Riedesel said.

Bear was the first dog to be seriously injured while in Onblonde’s care, Riedesel said.

Bharti said he and his family continue to grieve the loss of their pet, and they still have questions about what happened.

Bharti said details were sketchy in the immediate aftermath of Bear’s accident, and a text from Riedesel on the day the dog died failed to shed light on the circumstances.

“We were told that the dog who grabbed him was a Pointer, and we received little other information,” Bharti said. “When you leave your pets in the care of such a high-end facility, I feel it’s reasonable to assume that they are coming home safely.”

Once he got word of the incident, Bharti had his other dog, Pepsi, removed from Onblonde’s care.

The family’s chef drove to Jupiter Farms to pick up the 2-year-old pup and kept her at his home until the Bhartis returned.

With Pepsi in the care of their chef, the family decided to remain in the Bahamas for the duration of their trip.

“We decided there was no point in coming back,” Bharti said. “If Bear were in the hospital, we would have for sure come back. There was nothing we could do at that point.”

Onblonde plans to raise height of fences

Bear was cremated and his ashes are “sitting next to my wife’s bedside table,” Bharti said. “I don’t know what we’ll eventually do with them. But right now, she just wants to keep them close.”

Riedesel said she and her staff conducted a thorough review of Onblonde’s policies and procedures following Bear’s death, and they determined there was nothing that could have been done to anticipate such a tragedy.

However, out of an abundance of caution, she added, Onblonde plans to raise the height of the fences in all of its dog yards an additional 2 feet. 

In the meantime, Riedesel said, Onblonde will make a donation of $1,500 in Bear’s memory to  a charity of the family’s choice, and it also will cover all costs that were incurred in the attempt to save Bear’s life.

“Our staff all knew and loved Bear,” Riedesel said. “Every dog who comes to Onblonde is treated as a member of our family, and we are devastated by this loss. We understand that nothing can be said or done to ease the pain that Bear’s family feels.”

Julian Bharti said he wanted to share the story of the family’s loss as a cautionary tale about pet boarding, but also to express anger at the conditions that led to Bear’s death.

“I blame them for not creating adequate separation between large and small dogs,” Julian Bharti said. “The fence separating them should not be able to be jumped. And I also blame them for the inability to quickly thwart the incident.”

Bharti said the family intends to get another dog, though he’s aware that while a new addition will not replace Bear, “it may help the healing a bit.”

Jodie Wagner is a journalist at the Palm Beach Daily News, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach her at [email protected]Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.

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