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Rover.com Acquires DogVacay

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The firms are “made up of dog people on a mission.”

SEATTLE & SANTA MONICA – Rover.com, a network of pet sitters and dog walkers, and DogVacay, an online and mobile pet-sitting community, announced that they are joining forces.

Over the past five years, Rover and DogVacay have created a new category giving pet parents access to options such as in-home dog boarding, pet sitting and dog walking.

In a press release, the companies said pet parents will have access to the largest network of more than 100,000 five-star sitters, offering a range of services in cities across the U.S. and Canada. To date, millions of services have been booked through the companies, which generated over $150 million in bookings in 2016.

“Rover and DogVacay are both made up of dog people on a mission to enable everyone to experience the love and joy of a pet,” said Aaron Easterly, Rover’s CEO. “Together, we can accomplish our goals quicker and make an even bigger impact. “Plus, this partnership will enable us to pick up engineering velocity, bring new products to market faster and invest even more aggressively in building the best tools for our sitters and dog walkers.”

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The companies said the partnership gives dog owners the benefit of unprecedented coverage and choice in neighborhood pet care. It’s also an opportunity for pet sitters and dog walkers who’ll benefit from the combined resources, insights and educational tools of both brands.
“Growing DogVacay with my team over the past five years across the U.S. and Canada has been an incredible journey,” said Aaron Hirschhorn, DogVacay’s CEO. “Our goal has always been to make quality pet care accessible to everyone, and with Rover and DogVacay’s experience and expertise, we will continue to create the best solution for our host community, our pet parents and most importantly, our pets that we love as family.”

The combined companies expect to accelerate international expansion efforts. Rover’s headquarters will continue to be in Seattle and led by Easterly as CEO. Hirschhorn will join Rover’s board of directors.

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State Bill Would Ban Pet Leasing

A few other states already have similar laws.

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A proposed law in Connecticut would ban the practice of pet leasing.

The legislation seeks to outlaw leases in which the new pet owners accept high interest rates and believe they are agreeing to a payment plan, the Connecticut Post reports.

Such agreements open the possibility of the pet being repossessed at a later date, according to the publication.

The state Senate approved the ban last week. The proposed legislation will now be considered in the state House.

Bob Duff, a Democrat serving as Senate majority leader, said: “As a pet owner myself, I could never imagine leasing a pet and then after six or nine months or whatever it is, giving it back. They might actually think they own the pet instead of leasing the pet.”

According to the Post, pet leasing has already been banned in Nevada, California and New York.

The Connecticut proposal would still allow for certain types of pet leases, including “those for breeding purebred dogs, renting show animals or obtaining guide or law enforcement dogs,” according to the Post.

Find out more at the Connecticut Post 

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Chewy to Open $55M Facility, Creating 1,200 Jobs

It’s planning a fulfillment center.

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Chewy, an online pet supply retailer, has selected Rowan County, NC, for its new fulfillment center, with plans to create 1,200 new jobs and invest $55 million.

“Chewy selected North Carolina because from our infrastructure to our workforce, we have everything businesses need to succeed,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “These new jobs will make a positive impact on Rowan County and the surrounding area.”

The e-commerce company will locate in Salisbury, NC.

Chewy is dually headquartered in Dania Beach, FL, and Boston, MA. It has customer service centers in Dallas, TX, and Hollywood, FL, and eight fulfillment centers around the country.

“We’re excited to expand Chewy’s fulfillment operations to North Carolina, our first in the state and ninth in the country,” said Pete Krilles, vice president, corporate real estate and facilities, for Chewy. “We greatly appreciate the partnership with the City of Salisbury, Rowan County, the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, North Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“We look forward to making a positive economic contribution to the region with the creation of 1,200 new jobs. In addition to job creation, our new fulfillment center will enhance our delivery network across the southeastern United States, allowing us to better service Chewy customers with even faster delivery times.”

“Companies like Chewy will find success in North Carolina because we have a strong workforce and desirable business climate,” said Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “Pair that with our location and quality of life and you’ve got a winning formula.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of NC were instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.

A performance-based grant of $166,650 from the One North Carolina Fund will support the creation of 150 of the new jobs, facilitating Chewy’s establishment of the facility in North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

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Pet Store Chain Files for Bankruptcy

Its owner died in January.

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Petland Discounts, a chain that operated in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The action follows the January death of the company’s owner, Neil Padron.

The company has closed its stores.

Notices with each of the three states’ labor departments indicated that more than 300 jobs could be lost across 70 store locations.

The bankruptcy petition was filed in New York Eastern Bankruptcy Court.

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Padron started the business in 1965. He died of bladder cancer on Jan. 14.

Details of the bankruptcy case are available here.

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