City Bark Denver under investigation after deadly dog attack

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The City of Denver is investigating City Bark Denver – an animal boarding facility – after an attack left one dog dead and another injured on Sunday.

The attacked dogs, Pomeranians Penelope and Thelma, are owned by Marcus Wilkerson and Glen Cunningham. Wilkerson heads the FOX31 and Channel 2 sales department.

“For us … we don’t have kids, and they’re the center of our world,” Wilkerson said.

Before leaving for a weekend getaway, the men took Penelope and Thelma to City Bark Denver. When they returned on Sunday, 3-year-old Penelope was seriously injured.

“When they brought Penelope out she was unresponsive,” Wilkerson said. “She was just laying in their arms and her side was bloodied.”

The couple learned the attack happened as they were arriving at the facility.

“They were just kind of dismissive about it and said, ‘well you need to take her to the hospital and we’ll take care of whatever the bill is,’” Wilkerson said.

The men rushed to an animal hospital as Penelope’s condition deteriorated. She stopped breathing on the way to the hospital, the couple said. Attempts to revive the dog at the hospital were unsuccessful.

Thelma had also been attacked. She is suffering a puncture to muscle tissue and is expected to be OK.

Email records sent to FOX31 show the men reported the attack to city regulators in the animal control division. A Denver Environmental Public Health investigator told Wilkerson video evidence from the business shows a German Shepherd attacking Penelope.

“Three pound Pomeranian in with 60-70 pound dogs— and she didn’t stand a chance,” Wilkerson said.

On Tuesday, a City Bark manager told FOX31 he would not be commenting until after speaking with the dogs’ owners. Meanwhile, the men are learning more from city inspectors.

“One of the employees … has fessed up that they made a mistake and they put small dogs in with all the large dogs,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said the staff wasted 10 to 12 minutes as the couple waited for Penelope to be brought to them.

The men said a City Bark manager reached out to them on Tuesday. Wilkerson and Cunningham said they are considering legal action against City Bark. 

It’s unclear if additional dogs were attacked on Sunday.

UPDATE: After this story aired and was published on Tuesday following a request for comment from City Bark Denver, the company released the following statement to FOX31 Denver on Wednesday evening:

“We are truly devastated by the incident that occurred at our resort on Sunday, October 25th. At this time, both the Manager on Duty and the General Manager have been placed on administrative leave while we conduct an internal investigation. The safety and well-being of our guests is, and always has been, our top priority, which is why we are taking all measures to ensure proper policies and procedures are in place and adhered to.”

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