CLAIRTON (KDKA) — As a Christmas present to her kids, Toni Vojtash brought home Baby, a pit-lab mix rescued from a local shelter. The bonding was instantaneous.
“We loved her. She was everything you could ask for in an animal,” Vojtash said.
But after she brought the dog to the Gaydos-Behanna Kennel in Clairton to be fitted with a microchip, Vojtash says Baby became severely ill.
“Two days later she got really, really sick,” she said.
She says the kennel’s owner, Robin Gaydos-Behanna, told her to begin treating Baby for the lethal Parvovirus, but the dog’s condition only got worse, and on Christmas Eve, Baby died.
“I had to watch my children sob. My daughter’s blood vessels were broken from crying. There’s something wrong with that lady and that place, and something needs to be done,” Vojtash said.
Sandra Main says her dog, Bane, also got deathly sick after being treated at the same kennel for ticks. Main says the dog tested positive for Parvo, and blames Gaydos for nearly killing him.
“You knew there was a Parvo breakout and you did nothing,” said Main tearfully.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan went to the kennel to speak with Robin Gaydos who denied that allegation, saying she doesn’t believe the dog, Bane, ever had the Parvovirus and says she’s unsure about Baby.
Gaydos: “I don’t know where or what or how. I really don’t.”
Sheehan: “You don’t think Baby got the Parvo virus here?”
Gaydos: “By her coming here? No.”
But Gaydos concedes that she did have dogs infected with the virus little over a month ago. And even though she claims she’s thoroughly scrubbed and disinfected the facility, KDKA has confirmed that the state dog warden has conducted two inspection in the past few days and that the kennel is under state investigation.
Sheehan: “You are under investigation right now. There’s been an inspection and they have a continuing investigation.”
Sheehan: “Are you concerned?”
Gaydos: “You’re always concerned when something like this is going on. but ultimately were looking out for the well-being of the animals.”
Sheehan: “And do you think you’ll be cleared?”
Gaydos: “I believe so.”
The irony here is that Gaydos is a humane officer and spends much of her time enforcing dog laws, like rescuing some pit bull pups currently at the kennel from an alleged dog fighting operation.
But if she’s found to be operating a contaminated kennel, the state could close her down for a year or more.
Sheehan: “So, if the state shuts you down, you wouldn’t be able to do this kind of work?”
Gaydos: “Nope. Wouldn’t be able to do my animal control, wouldn’t be able to do my humane police.”
But Vojtash thinks that’s what needs to happen.
“She’s rescuing all these animals. She has a Parvo outbreak in her shop,” Vojtash said. “How many other families is this going to happen to before it stops? Our dog is dead.”