Leyland dog daycare owner responds to leaked video of dog being dragged along floor at Paws Playhouse

An RSPCA investigation was launched after a dog was filmed being dragged along the floor by its collar at a doggy day care service in Leyland.

By Matthew Calderbank
Sunday, 29th May 2022, 11:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 2:09 pm

The footage came to light after a former member of staff approached the RSPCA about the welfare of dogs at Paws Playhouse in Tomlinson Road.

In the video, a spaniel appears to be grabbed by its collar, dragged backwards along the floor and dropped inside a gated area away from other dogs.

Former staff member, Robyn Connell, said she filmed the incident earlier this month after growing concerned about the handling of dogs at the Leyland business.

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Paws Playhouse owner Lee Parkinson conceded the video “doesn’t look great” but said the dog had to be quickly removed from a situation ‘for its own comfort’

Paws Playhouse owner Lee Parkinson conceded the video ‘doesn’t look great’ but said the dog had to be quickly removed from a situation ‘for its own comfort’.

The RSPCA has concluded its investigation and confirmed it will not be taking any action against Mr Parkinson or Paws Playhouse.

South Ribble Borough Council said it was aware of the video, adding that an investigation has not taken place because no complaint has been received.

It said the opinion of its animal licensing team “is that the business is well run and managed and received a 5-star rating at its last inspection.”

The footage appears to show a spaniel being dragged along the floor by its collar at Paws Playhouse in Leyland

Robyn, who left the day after recording the video, said: "I quit because I couldn't bare to watch the way those dogs were treated anymore. I got home that night and completely broke down.”

After showing the footage to her friend, local dog walker Katie-Louise Blundell, the pair agreed to raise their concerns with the RSPCA.

“We felt we had a duty to report our concerns and inform current and future customers,” said Katie, 25, who worked at Paws Playhouse as a volunteer before starting her dog walking service.

“We are not trying to ruin anyone’s business,” she added, “we just want those who have dogs at Paws Playhouse to see what we’ve seen and make their own informed decision.

Paws Playhouse owner Lee Parkinson conceded the video “doesn’t look great” but said the dog had to be quickly removed from a situation ‘for its own comfort’

"The video doesn’t lie and no one can try to say it’s taken out of context. This is just one of a number of incidents we witnessed in our time there”, claims Katie.

"I would want to know about this if my dog attended and I felt other dog owners should be able to make their own choice after viewing the video.”

The footage was handed to the RSPCA and inspectors visited Paws Playhouse this week to speak to the owner, Lee Parkinson.

You can watch the footage in our video player above.

The footage appears to show a spaniel being dragged along the floor by its collar at Paws Playhouse in Leyland

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What did the RSPCA say?

The charity said it has concluded its investigation and confirmed it will not be taking action against Mr Parkinson or Paws Playhouse.

A spokesman for the charity said: “The RSPCA takes reports about animal welfare concerns very seriously but we can only act when the law has been broken.

“This means action can only be taken if an independent vet examines the evidence and confirms an animal is suffering or when the law has been broken.

“In some cases, issues will be dealt with by advice and education and it is not always appropriate to publicise this information for legal reasons.

"Unfortunately we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people and what action may have been taken.”

What did Paws Playhouse say about the video?

Owner Lee Parkinson said the video “doesn’t look great” but insists the clip had been ‘taken out of context’.

He added that the dog in the video belongs to his cousin who has defended Lee and his handling of Cora, who she describes as a ‘hyper spaniel’.

He told the Post: “As always there are two sides to every story and this appears to be an attempt to smear our hard earned reputation in our community.

"I’ll be honest, the video doesn’t look great. But what you don’t see on the clip is two other dogs who were trying to mount her.

"She was removed by her collar from the situation and placed in another area for her own comfort.

"While doing this, she started to wriggle and twist. We had to act fast but at no point was she harmed.”

The dog’s owner, Anita Parkinson, said she has ‘no worries’ about Cora’s welfare at Paws Playhouse.

She said: “Cora is a well-rounded hyper Springer Spaniel and I have no worries about her safety.

"This isn’t a case for the RSPCA and never will be. She is adored at daycare and loves going and will continue to do so.”

When screenshots of the video emerged online, Mr Parkinson faced a fierce backlash on social media.

He said he was concerned for his safety after receiving threatening messages and was afraid to walk his dogs in the area out of fear he would be attacked.

He said: “Some of the messages we had after the pictures went online were frightening.

"People were threatening to do all sorts of horrible stuff, we were really worried.”

Lee also feared his business was ‘finished’ after his former staff accused him of mistreating dogs in his care.

He said: “When I first saw the video, I thought, that’s it, we’re done. I didn’t think we’d have anyone coming back to us after that.

“But after speaking with our regulars and explaining what actually happened, we’ve managed to put people’s minds at rest.

“We’ve lost four customers so far, but I was expecting it to be a lot worse.”

Lee said he hopes the outcome of the RSPCA investigation will help vindicate him and reassure anyone concerned by the video.

He said: "We want to assure everyone that the dogs at Paws Playhouse are our number one priority and the only reason we started the daycare five years ago is because of the love and care we have for dogs.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA added: "We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.

“Anyone with concerns about any dog day care centres in their local community can also raise concerns with their local authority, who license such premises in England.”

What did the Council say?

Councillor Mick Titherington, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at South Ribble Borough Council said: "We are aware of this video and the owner of Paws Playhouse has been in contact with us to voice his concerns about its distribution.

"The Council has not received a complaint in relation to this issue. We are familiar with the business and have not received any complaint about them since they began to trade five years ago.

"The opinion of the council's animal licensing team is that the business is well run and managed and received a 5-star rating at its last inspection.

"If the council were to receive a complaint an investigation would take place, and this would be the case for any complaint received."