Resa Jones, owner of Bones and Biscuits, said she is still open for business after community backlash for what she said is a "misunderstanding."
Following a recent incident where dogs at her boarding and grooming business were left unattended for several hours, her business and personal life has come under attack from people in the community.
"I understand some of my customers are hurt and upset," she said. "And I don't blame others for forming an opinion on what they have heard or saw, but when lies are spread about me and my children and my personal life becomes part of the gossip and slander, that is too much."
Jones said slanderous and false comments were made by readers on the Minden Press-Herald Facebook page and she has filed reports against persons who made the comments and will pursue all charges possible.
According to Jones, a mixture of bad luck and poor decisions has caused her extreme heartache.
"It's not just my business, my kids were pulled into this," she said. "It is stressful enough to have teenagers, and our family is going through so much right now."
The mother of four says that due to the Facebook comments being circulated and the gossip being spread her children "un-friended" her on the social media site.
Looking back, Jones admits that there are things she could have done differently.
"I know people have suggested I have a back up plan, like a part time person or another family member," she said. "I can see what they are saying, and I am doing things to improve my business."
Jones has given up her home in Haughton to move into her business.
"Right now I am having transportation issues, so I am going to stay here and oversee things until I can get it sorted out," she said. "I do have loyal customers who know what my shop normally looks like, and that this was just one horrible messed up situation.
"I know people are gossiping, saying that I am mean to animals," she continued. "That's okay, because I know I love these animals and I know the truth."
Jones said she is looking forward to building her customer base back up, introducing new products and the day when she understands why all this happened.
"It really is a case of bad luck and a few bad decisions," she said. "I know saying 'it's a misunderstanding' sounds like an excuse, but I really feel like some people got a hold of some information and turned it into bad news. It was a bad situation, I understand that, but it was not as bad as it was made out to be."
On the day of the incident, Jones said that she was feeling ill that Monday evening as she left the business at 5:30 p.m. She went home and planned on taking a nap but slept through the evening and night because she was feeling so poorly.
When Jones woke up Tuesday morning she realized she was out of gas and the battery in the rental car she was using was dead.
"My car was in the shop," she said. "I had been having trouble with it, which is why other times I was late opening up the shop."
Jones called her sister, who works in Bossier, to see if she could give Jones a ride to Minden.
"But she was already at work, but could take me when she got off," Jones said. "I thought everything was going to be okay. I knew I had put out food and water for the dogs and that they would be fine until I was able to get there."
Jones said she was still feeling sick after getting off the phone with her sister, so she continued to rest while she could.
"When I woke up around noon, I saw I had missed calls and texts," she said. "People were asking me where I was, saying I was missing, saying horrible things about me on Facebook."
Jones arrived at her business to find gates knocked down, water bowls turned over, her office destroyed along with other animal messes scattered all throughout the business.
"I cannot get over why people think that I run my business like that every day," she said. "It was a lot of work to clean that mess up; my regular customers know that is not how my business is run."
Jones said the complaining customers were new to her business and while she understands why they would be upset, she maintains that it can all be explained.
"Everything from the lies about them not having water, food or being sick to why there are holes in the doors can be explained," she said. "But before they asked me, they gave it to the media and then lies about how long I had been gone started spreading.
"I will tell anyone that asks me," she continued. "This has affected me in such a personal way that I have no information to hide."
Jones said that she wishes this had not happened because the fiasco has caused her business to slow and more personal grief than people can begin to understand.
"I wish people would think about what they are saying, that they can ruin a person and their family," she said. "It hurts right now and I am putting my faith in God; he has a bigger plan. I am growing from this and when I come out on the other side I will be better for it."