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Pet Sitter Lost Client's Dog After Taking Pet Out Of Town

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Her dog sitter lost her dog, lied about it and now the pet sitting site that connected them isn't taking any responsibility.

That company, Rover, is one CBS 2 has exposed in the past.

CBS 2's Tara Molina reports, the dog's owner doesn't want to share the name of that sitter or the name of her dog because of the investigation that's happening now. She did tell CBS 2 that the sitter took her pet from Lakeview to Waukegan.

That's where her dog disappeared almost two months ago--with a search now spanning the state. Morgan said she doesn't want to share her dog's name because she's been told by humane investigators that he could be in survival mode and the use of his name could cause him to run away if seen.

The brown and white ball of fluff and energy, the doodle-mix was Nia Morgan's closest companion for nine months before the beloved pooch disappeared.

"It's definitely a lack of presence in my apartment," Morgan said. "It's a devastating story."

Morgan says the sitter she hired through Rover traveled with her dog to Waukegan and lost him within hours of her dropping him off. However, she pretended she had him until the last day of her trip.

"Her justification for not telling me right away is that she didn't want me to find out and getting worried," Morgan said. "She thought animal control could find my dog."

Now Morgan has signs posted in the neighborhood. There's a $5,000 reward, a full online campaign and plenty of support.

"I'm working with animal control, a humane investigator and the John Garrido Foundation."

But, she says, no real help from Rover.

"I don't think Rover has done enough."

We've investigated Rover in the past. Back in 2019, a Rover pet sitter hosted a party in Margaret Leonard's Glenview home. It was ransacked and her car stolen. Her pets, thankfully were OK.

"Rover's response has been very cold," she said at the time.

Morgan said the same thing, and that's why she's speaking out about this. She not only hopes someone recognizes her dog, but to hopefully prevent someone else from suffering the same heartache.

"While there can be really reliable pet sitters on the app, and there are, there can also be people like my pet sitter that just glimpse through, get on the app and can do this to their clients," Morgan said.

In a statement a Rover spokesperson said:

"The well-being of pets in our community is a top priority at Rover. We have a 24/7 Trust and Safety team dedicated to helping facilitate safe stays and supporting sitters and pet owners.

Following our investigation into this situation, the sitter was removed from our platform for violating our community guidelines. Every pet care provider on Rover must pass a background check provided by a third party. As part of the enhanced process, the individual's record is checked against a number of databases, including county criminal records and the national criminal record database. In this instance, we believe that the individual's record status changed as a result of judicial proceedings.

This is a rare experience on Rover. For additional context, almost half a million services have been booked in the Chicago area since 2011, and the vast majority have gone as planned with 97% of reviewed bookings receiving a 5-star review.

Our hearts go out to Ms. Morgan and we join with her in hoping for a safe return of her pet."

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