Nevada County dog day care owner pleads no contest to animal cruelty |

Nevada County dog day care owner pleads no contest to animal cruelty

The owner of a popular local dog boarding facility has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, Nevada County court records state.

Michael Eskew of Lucky Dog Camp, a home-based dog day care and overnight boarding business, was sentenced last month to three years’ probation and 40 hours of community service, Superior Court records state. He subsequently withdrew an application for a kennel license and has since closed his business, sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales said.

Eskew was charged after Nevada County sheriff’s animal control officers responded late last year to a call from a witness who saw him physically abuse a dog, Scales said.

The witness recorded Eskew on a cell phone video punching and kicking the dog, Scales said. Eskew also reportedly threw the dog to the ground.

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“The incident lasted several hours,” Scales said. “It was an ongoing situation.”

Eskew initially denied the allegations, until he was shown the video. He then said “he just lost his temper,” Scales said.

According to Scales, several local animal trainers were contacted who were familiar with the dog, noting it never showed any signs of aggression and had received high marks during obedience training.

The dog did not have any physical signs of abuse and no other complaints had been recorded against Eskew, Scales said. He added the facility was well-fenced and clean.

Eskew could not be reached for comment. His defense attorney, Greg Klein, declined to make a statement.

Tips for pet owners

Scales recommended that pet owners planning to board their animals should at the very least tour the facility and plan a meet-and-greet between the owner and their pet, to see how they interact.

“You wouldn’t drop your kid off somewhere random,” he said.

It is difficult to guard against this kind of seemingly isolated incident, said Cheryl Wicks of Sammie’s Friends animal shelter.

“The first thing I would tell people is to get references,” she said. “Ask, do you have a kennel license? At least that means that Animal Control has looked at the facility. They look at the sanitation and the cleanliness, whether there’s supervision, sleep quarters, food and water.”

Like Scales, Wicks stressed the importance of a visit beforehand.

“It’s always a good idea to make sure your pet gets along with the owner and any other animals on site,” she said.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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