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Payment Promised For Treatment Of Injured Pet Never Received

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Lots of people board pets while they travel. They expect their animals aresafe. Sometimes, though, accidents happen.

One accident that happened last Thanksgiving caused heartbreak, anger andfrustration. It involves the Ultimate Pet Resort in Fayetteville, a family dog and abig bill that neither the owner of the dog nor the owner of Pet Resort canagree on.

Last November, while boarded at the Ultimate Pet Resort, Sugarbaby escapedout the front door and was hit by a car.

"The kids were crying. It was emotional," said Candy Johnson, the dog'sowner.

What happened afterward upsets Johnson almost as much.

Sugarbaby's injuries were serious: she suffered a broken pelvis, hip andfemur. Johnson knew it would be expensive to save her and decided it best toput the dog to sleep.

Then, the owner of Ultimate Pet Resort, Viktoria Runningwolf, offered to pay for everything.

"It made us feel better," Johnson said. "We thought, 'What a nice lady.She's going to take care of everything. Pay for the surgery. Take care ofour dog.'"

The two women took Sugarbaby to North Carolina State University's VeterinaryHospital. Runningwolf wrote a check for $1,750 to cover the downpayment.

The surgery ended up costing $1,630, so Runningwolf's check should havecovered it -- until she stopped payment.

Johnson called Runningwolf, who later left the following message onJohnson's answering machine:

" I did get in touch with N.C. State and my bank did makea mistake on something I requested them to do. So it has been taken care ofand the credit was still left for you."

"She was just so convincing. She was very convincing," Johnson said.

Runningwolf said she sent a new check to the vet school. The school neverreceived it.

Five On Your Side became involved in April. In the months that followed,Runningwolf canceled interviews four times, before meeting WRAL in September.

"I had to go from shock mode into damage. How am I going to save thisdoggie?" Runningwolf said.

Runningwolf said she felt responsible and wanted to do whatever it took tosave Sugarbaby's life.

"I owed it not just to Candy Johnson or the son. I owed that obligation tothat four-legged guest of mine that came and stayed at the resort," shesaid.

Runningwolf said even though she wrote the check for $1,750 she agreed topay only $1,000 toward the vet bill. She said Johnson was to reimburse herthe $750. She claimed that was why she stopped payment on the check.

"I don't have that kind of money. We have a small business here,"Runningwolf said.

But Runningwolf never even paid the $1,000.

"(WRAL: 'N.C. State does not have $1,000.') No, they don't. (WRAL: 'I'm sure if you came upwith the $1,000 for N.C. State...') I will pay N.C. State," Runningwolf said.

To resolve the issue, Johnson went ahead and paid the N.C. State Vet School $630.

Five On Your Side told Runningwolf that one week ago, and she said she would payN.C. State the remaining $1,000 "probably Thursday or Friday" of last week.She did not.