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Dogsitter’s deceit exposed

When a British kennel operator found a visiting border collie dead, she panicked, buried his carcass in a nearby field and called his owner to say the dog had run away.

Jessica Valpied, 24, owner of 24-7 Petcare in Guernsey, apparently feared the death of a client’s dog would ruin her business and reputation: She won the National Pet sitter of the Year Award at Crufts in 2006.

Valpied was fined £400 by magistrates — an outrageously light punishment according to the dog’s owner, Michael Van den Bossche, who left the dog at the kennel when he went on a vacation in France.

Valpied reported the ‘missing’ pet to the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and even orchestrated a high-profile publicity campaign to find him. She swore her employees to secrecy, and told them to pretend to search for the dog by walking around the area, calling the animal’s name, and whistling for it, according to an article in The Telegraph.

Van den Bossche, 45, who specializes in obesity surgery, also put up posters, made appeals on the radio, and placed an advertisement in a local newspaper.

But Valpied’s deception was uncovered when two junior members of her staff told their parents, who contacted police. The dog was apparently killed at the kennel by two other dogs who entered his pen.

Valpied said she claimed the dog, named Arte, had run away because she did not want her staff to get into trouble or for the killer dogs to be put down.

“It was a cruel and evil thing to do,” said Van den Bossche. “”This sort of thing should never happen again. We have been told lies and stories have been concocted. To lie to that extent is just awful.”

Valpied was awarded the Crufts honour in 2006 by beating 2,600 entrants who provide sitting, feeding, grooming and walking services for dogs and other pets.

Her website reads, in part: “The welfare of animals is always paramount in my life and goes far beyond the boundaries of business.”