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I would like to share our tragic story of how we lost everything we worked so hard for in our entire life in a matter of a month and a half due to COVID-19.

We got married in December of 2018. After that, we decided as a couple to put our entire life savings into a business where we can make a difference, not only in our community but in the lives of others through our passion and love for animals.

We have three dogs of our own, so we opened a doggy daycare called Texas Pups in Little Elm—a daycare where dogs can come and play in a free-roaming facility.

We worked day and night to start up the business and build a steady clientele who became our family. We work with local shelters to volunteer and try to give back as much as we can to our community.

Starting mid-March is where things started slowing down for us. As people were not traveling, they were not coming in for daycare or boarding services. Then April came around and, due to COVID-19 and per the governor’s executive order, we were not considered essential business, so we had to close our doors.

We notified our landlord, whom we lease our commercial location from, and informed him that we are trying to take advantage of any and every assistance that’s being given by the city, state, and country. We applied for the Small Business Administration loan but have yet to hear back from anyone regarding our current status. As soon as we can open, once the stay-at-home order is lifted, we will be able to take care of the rent, etc.

We let him know our entire life investment went into this, and the last thing we want to do is lose our business due to something that’s beyond our control. This is our livelihood! And we will comply and want to work together to come out of this together. We have a relationship, as we have been his tenants for the past year.

But one night this week, my world came to a halt when another tenant from the same strip mall called and asked us if we were moving our location since she saw construction going on in our daycare. We were confused, so we took a trip to our location, and that’s when we noticed everything was gone.

Our landlord did not call, email, or send us any further communication—instead, he went into our location and took everything we had. Over $40,000 worth of materials and equipment for our daycare was just gone. Some items were thrown out, and the rest is nowhere to be found. We reached out to him to see what was going on and received no response. Come to find out he just took everything from us—demolished the location so he can rent the space out to someone else. There was no communication, no letter to evacuate the premises, no court-ordered eviction. Everything we owned was simply taken without our knowledge.

Now here we are, already frustrated as to how we were going to come back slowly but surely to be able to do what we love in a community we love during a global crisis. We now will come out of this with lawyer costs and loans, and we are trying to figure out if we will ever be able to start back up again.

I want my story to be a voice for other small-business owners who are or will soon be going through the same thing as we all come out of this and try to come back strong as individuals and as a community. I want to be the voice to request justice for people like myself and other small-business owners from landlords who can take everything away during this time without following the proper protocols.

Where do we go when we have followed the rules, have taken the proper steps we were directed to take, and yet we are left without any help to come out of this? We would like proper justice to come into play to protect the ones that have followed the rules and have played their part in trying to survive.

I have actively given to my city and state as a taxpayer—both for my home as well as my business. It’s time my community, my city, and my state officials stand up for justice and assist individuals like me to get justice.

Otherwise, we will lose everything we have worked our entire lives for.

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