Dog Baked to Death in Petco Grooming Drying Cage [Update]



After more information was released about the incident, it was important that this story be updated. As social media sites like Facebook are really catching wind of this incident, the authors listed below researched further into the matter in order to provide more detail. The original story and its additional content begin now.

A dog was baked to death after it was left unattended in a grooming drying cage by a Petco employee at a store in Midlothian, Virginia. The dog’s death is now under investigation by local animal control authorities.

The owner of the dog, Allison Marks, stated that she had taken her two-year-old golden retriever, named Colby, to the Petco located in the Westchester Commons shopping center on Friday. Marks left her dog at Petco to be groomed at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning. After a few hours, she had not received a call back from Petco regarding when she could retrieve Colby. Wendy Stiko, Marks’s daughter, said she had received a call from one of the employees at Petco, who told her that they were at a local animal hospital with Colby after a tragic incident occurred at the store.

Marks was told by the employee that her dog was dead from being left unattended in the drying cage for 45 minutes. The cage has a drying temperature of over 105 degrees. The family learned the reason why Colby was left unattended was because an employee clocked out to attend a friend’s graduation party. Other employees were not alerted that Colby was suffering in the drying cage.

Heatstroke in dogs can occur very quickly. In his article about heatstroke in dogs, Dr. Becker warns pet owners of the danger and provides them with tips for hot summer days. He states that the heat-related death of a pet is very tragic but that this incident can easily be prevented. In this case, however, there is no way that Marks could have prevented the death of her beloved dog. She had no way of knowing that taking Colby to the Petco that morning for a routine grooming could have led to his untimely death. Marks daughter told reporters, “(My mother) just wants justice for Colby.”

Marks expressed her feelings to reporters shortly after the event occurred. She stated that Petcothis incident was like losing a child to her and that she did not want anyone else to ever have to go through such a thing. The beautiful golden retriever, Colby, suffered an unfortunate fate, as his organs failed from heat stroke in a high temp drying cage.

Since the incident, those higher up at Petco have been working to ensure the public that they are taking care of the matter. With this routine grooming incident, the branch could suffer a bit in sales, as customers may now be reluctant to take their pets in for grooming, due to the nature of the situation. Comments on Facebook and other social media sites reflect that people are taking high concern to the fact that any employee of a Petco could make such a mistake. Claiming that if one employee could be careless enough to let something like this happen, other employees may also forget to make customer’s pets their priority.

Petco released a statement shortly afterward, claiming that the employee who left Colby in the drying cage has been suspended. Following an investigation, it could be possible that the employee and/or the Petco branch is charged for animal endangerment or cruelty. In the state of Virginia, being guilty of this crime would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Chesterfield Animal Control authorities confirmed the dog’s death on Sunday, and have launched an investigation into the matter. Officials from Petco stated they are also investigating the dog’s horrible death, and that they will take full responsibility for what happened. They stated that the health and safety of pets is always their top priority, and will continue to be, even after this unfortunate event. In a statement released by Petco, they said, “Our thoughts are with Colby’s family at this difficult time.”

By Alex Lemieux

Update and Additional Contributions By Crystal Boulware


NBC 12: Powhatan woman: Petco ‘baked’ dog to death

Healthy Pets: Dead in Minutes: Dogs and Heatstroke

WRIC: Dog dies after regular grooming at Petco

Main Photo Courtesy of Mike Mozart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

179 Responses to "Dog Baked to Death in Petco Grooming Drying Cage [Update]"

  1. Dav   June 27, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    The idots that allowed these dryers to be installed without safety timers should be fined!

  2. Carole   June 25, 2015 at 8:17 am

    The employee responsible was “suspended”? Are you kidding me! They should have been fired on the spot! The whole crew that was there at the time were negligent. I can’t believe that they don’t routinely check drying cages and the rest of the area. I am so very sad and sickened by this, I just can’t find the right words to express it. The torture that poor baby must have suffered. RIP Colby.

  3. Tony Host   June 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Probably get some backlash for this..” it’s just a dog”, etc. But thank god this was not my dog because i would now most certainly be in jail for the brutal torture/murder of that employee. Not even exaggerating.

  4. Willx   June 12, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Why is the drying cage HOT? Water evaporates in warm or cool air just as it does in hot. The cage only needs to be warm enough to keep the dog from getting chilled

  5. Craig   June 12, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I feel sick they should get rid of the cages altogether and use a towel. That is murder through neglect and to an animal that is completely defenceless helpless and innocent it would be like doing it to an actual child! Someone will rot in hell for that!

  6. c zambotti   June 11, 2015 at 7:48 am

    should be more than 1 person in charge of things like this

  7. Mary Lou   June 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Maximum penalty should be applied as well as suing all response or parties This is inexcusable!

  8. Cerese Wemple   June 7, 2015 at 5:39 am

    This is so heartbreaking….what a horrible death all because of a STUPID HUMAN!! ive never seen one of these dryers..i thought that groomers dryed the dogs with a hand held dryer…they need to put buzzers on these dryers that go off every 5 min.. to have the dog checked if they are going to be so lazy and use one of these horrible dryers!! this sickens my heart to know that Colby suffered such a horrible death!! I cant believe no other employee seen him in there!! PETCO NEEDS TO PAY!!!!

  9. awilda Acosta   June 5, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Omg. I stopped taking 2 of my dogs to Petco in 96th St in NYC. One of my dog got an ear infection due to exercive water in his ears

  10. v   June 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    A misdemeanor? That’s it? Virginia needs to seriously update their laws…the animal suffered greatly and the facility clearly did not have proper procedures in place. A good process would have included mandatory inspection of a groomers workspace as a result of the groomer having taken in a client and then leaving in a relatively short time. Or why isn’t the supervisor checking the status of all clients before a groomer is allowed to leave the premises?

    • Deb Lollar   June 6, 2015 at 7:04 am

      Why do they have dangerous equipment without an auto shutoff. Better yet, why wasn’t the dog handed over to another groomer before the first one clocked out? If the groomer was leaving, who did she think was going to check on & remove him from the drying cage and then notify the owner he was ready for pickup? Im sure officials investigating are asking these same, no brainer questions, but as a consumer & pet owner whi also has her dog groomed regularly, I want to know these things. Im extremely concerned now about the safety of leaving my pet to be groomed. I never knew those drying cages were used. I always thought hand dryers were used. I think all grooming salons should clearly post & explain, in advance of grooming, what their methods & practices are. Full disclosure.

    • Victoria Whiddon Geselbracht   June 7, 2015 at 6:48 am

      Oh hell no she would wish she was dead too after I got done with her.this should be felony charge and jail time.i hope the owner would sue the store and the groomer.sad just sad

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