Pet Sitter Found on Rover.com Loses Oakland Woman’s Dog

SACRAMENTO -- An Oakland woman is warning pet owners about the risk involved with using the pet-sitting website Rover.com.

Katie Rubin lives in Oakland but commutes to Sacramento for work. Six months ago she rescued a chihuahua mix named Tiny. She often brought Tiny to Sacramento with her, however, sometimes it was not appropriate to have her dog with her at work, so she used a pet sitter found on Rover.com.

Rubin said the pet sitter was a young woman with a newborn and another young child. She said she had used the sitter before without incident, although she says the sitter's house regularly smelled of marijuana.

On Oct. 3, the sitter called Rubin to tell her that Tiny had gotten loose on La Riviera east of Watt Avenue. She still hasn’t been found.

Rubin tells FOX40 she’s concerned about the way Rover handled the situation.

First, she acknowledges that she probably should not have left her dog in the house that smelled like marijuana. However, she is questioning why Rover would allow someone like that to be listed on their site. She’s questioning their screening practices and procedures.

Rubin is also upset because she said at first Rover was not very helpful. She said they gave her a template flyer to send out, but she had to push very hard to get them to reimburse her for printing costs.

She says at this point she doesn’t hold out much hope of finding her dog, however, she wants others to know that things can potentially go very wrong when they hire a sitter from Rover.

FOX40 asked Rover for an interview. They declined the interview but sent this statement:

“While stories like these are incredibly rare, Rover takes each one very seriously. Upon learning about the situation, our specialized Trust & Safety team immediately launched a thorough investigation -- which is still ongoing today. We are committed to supporting Tiny's mom and will continue to work to bring Tiny home.”

FOX40 asked Rover whether the sitter in this case is still working with the company and about the liability clause in the event of a lost pet. Rover released issued the following statement:

  • All Rover sitters undergo a thorough approval process before listing their services. In fact, less than 20 percent of potential sitters make it through. In addition to submitting a profile about their pet care experience, every sitter must pass a general background check, a quiz about safety and caring for dogs, and a hand-review by our sitter quality specialists. We also offer ongoing education and 24/7 support to our sitters, to give them the resources they need to provide the best possible care.
  • Should an emergency arise, Rover has a dedicated Trust & Safety team that is available 24/7 to help owners and sitters resolve situations as quickly and safely as possible. Our resources include local sitters who help search, pet amber alerts, fliers and other materials, and we remain in constant communication with the dog’s family to ensure full transparency with our efforts.
  • In the rare occasion that a situation occurs on a sitter’s watch, Rover immediately suspends that individual’s account pending a full investigation by our team. The results determine the appropriate course of action to ensure our high standards are met consistently. That might include suspension or being removed entirely from the Rover platform.