CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - The death of a pet can be a traumatic event for any family. The animals, which can be a dog or cat to a reptile or a fish, can become part of the family without many people realizing it, until that pet is gone.
Increasingly, many people have chosen to have their pets cremated, with their ashes spread among places they loved to be, or perhaps being kept on a mantle.
For Kelley Sheehan, that was the plan for her chihuahua, Ariel.
"She was 5 1/2 pounds of pure alpha," said Sheehan. "She thought she was the big dog. She thought she ruled everybody."
Ariel died in October, and she said at the advice of a local animal hospital, she sought out the Charlotte Pet Cemetery and Creamtorium, which came and picked up Ariel's remains.
"We never saw her again," she said. "We don't have her ashes. We don't have anything."
Sheehan told FOX 46 she had paid money to the business, and was given a timeline of five to seven days. To date, it's been almost four months and she said she has nothing to show for it.
Heidi Wright's story is similar, with two exceptions. She said she didn't pay any money upfront for the cremation of her dog, Jordan. She also said she was told her dog's remains were lost.
"How do you lost an 80-pound dog?" Wright told FOX 46.
One woman who did not wish to be identified said she had to wait six months for the remains of her dog from the same business, when she was initially given a timeline of two weeks.
FOX 46 launched an investigation after the initial claims came to light. On Monday, we spoke with a man affiliated with the business about the issue, but he said he didn't want to comment until the issue had a chance to "talk with the poeple," indicating that it would happen Tuesday.
FOX 46 again reached out Wednesday and Thursday, with our calls going to voicemail. We also called someone who Sheehan said was affiliated with the service, but that call also went to voicemail. The calls have yet to be returned.
The Charlotte Pet Cemetery and Creamtory has a listed address, at a home in Huntersville. FOX 46 has learned that the business is no longer based there.
Online reviews for the business are mixed. Reviews on Google indicated five-star reviews, citing their care and customer service. Reviews on Yelp were one-star reviews, indicating similar issues to the ones Sheehan has been experiencing. The business also currently has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau.