LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A Las Vegas woman was startled to receive photos of her deceased dog months after she was sent what she believed were her beloved pet’s cremated remains.
Natalie Smyers rescued two Yorkies — siblings Goobers and Tootsie — about five years ago. The pair quickly became part of her family, she said.
At age 15, Goobers crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Smyers said she found him deceased in his bed in late March. Afterward, she called 1st Call Pet Cremation, a Las Vegas-based animal cremation service.
“They were here in my home to pick him up within an hour,” she said, adding that she paid $300 for the service.
The company’s website promises the following: “We will arrive directly to your home for a professional removal and transport to our crematory. Your pet will be returned to you in a standard urn with a clay paw print and a commemorative certificate.”
Smyers alleges the company delayed service for months. In June, she said she finally received a box, a paw print and a certificate. But last Friday, the co-owner of an Arizona-based pet cremation business sent her a message on Facebook that led to a disturbing discovery.
“The gentleman told me to give him a call because he did not think I received the correct ashes,” Smyers said.
The man then sent her photos of Smyers’ name on a toe tag. He said Goobers, who died in March and was in his custody, had not been cremated.
“He also sent me pictures of my deceased dog, dead in a bag, and it is my dog,” Smyers said.
Smyers said she never thought to open the box she had received until Monday. The box contained white-colored ashes, but she does not know to whom they belong.
“Whose remains or what remains do I have?” she said. “Because I was just sent pictures of my dog deceased in a freezer.”
“But what about everybody that has gone through this process since March?” Smyers said. “If I received fake remains, that means a lot of other people probably received fake remains, and what remains do I actually have?”
The co-owner of the Arizona crematorium told Nexstar’s KLAS that he was contracted to provide crematory service from 1st Call Pet Cremation. He claimed the business had not paid him for months and that he was trying to find the owners of the pets in his possession to alert them.
He estimated there were as many as 50 pets in his freezer awaiting cremation.
Smyers said she planned to drive to Arizona to pick up Goobers and take him to a Las Vegas veterinary clinic for cremation.
On the phone Monday, an employee at 1st Call Pet Cremation said he had heard from Smyers but had not heard about the extent of the allegations.
The company’s website says the business is Better Bureau Bureau-accredited, though the business’ BBB profile had no rating and was “being updated” as of Monday.