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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 this 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