CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Petco says it has taken "full responsibility" in the death of Colby, a dog that died at a Chesterfield store, and that the national chain is taking added measures to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
Allison Marks, from Powhatan, says last week, Petco employees told her that they found her 2-year-old golden retriever, Colby, dead, in a drying cage, at the Westchester Commons shopping center. Marks says a vet then told her he believed Colby died of a heat stroke.
Petco initially suspended the groomer who was caring for Colby. After an investigation, they say the "individuals directly involved" are no longer working for the company.
Additionally, Petco says it's removing the type of kennel dryer that Colby was kept in at all Petco stores, and that additional training sessions will be given nationwide at all of its grooming salons.
A representative from Petco says the chain finished its investigation and released a statement reading in part,
"…it's clear our animal care protocols were not followed when it came to Colby."
The chain says it fired employees involved with the situation, and is removing "the type of kennel dryer Colby was housed in" from all of its stores.
Colby's family sent NBC12 a statement in an email today reading, "Colby's family would like to thank everyone for all the continuous support and prayers during this difficult time."
Meantime, Petco declined to get any more specific on exactly what happened to Colby. However, the chain says the type of dryer used on Colby, did not have heat or hot air.
"My thoughts were like, 'Wow. How could something like that happen? How could they let something like that happen,'" said pet owner John Brown, who shops at Westchester Commons.
Petco also writes that its grooming salon employees nation-wide will have reinforced training sessions starting next week. The chain says it "understands there is no way to make up for the loss of Colby, and our thoughts continue to be with his family during this difficult time."
"I think (Petco is) going to do right by the people. It's sad that the dog died," said dog owner Jeanett Ridings, who shops near the Petco store in question.
Chesterfield Animal Control is still investigating Colby's death. There is no word yet on any charges.
The following is Petco's complete statement:
At Petco, we know that pet parents entrust us thousands of times each day to provide quality care for their pets. To deliver on that promise, we have strict protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of all animals in our stores and grooming salons. As animal lovers, we're saddened and deeply concerned about what happened to Colby last Friday, and we're committed to doing everything in our power to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again.
· After a thorough investigation, it's clear our animal care protocols were not followed when it came to Colby. As a result, the individuals directly involved are no longer part of our company.
· While we've confirmed that no heat was used, and is not used in any of our grooming salon dryers, as an additional measure, the type of kennel dryer Colby was housed in has been removed from service in all Petco stores.
· We are also using this incident to reinforce our standards of care, and will be conducting nationwide sessions to reinforce this training with grooming salon team members in every Petco store next week.
We take full responsibility for what happened in Midlothian, and remain heartbroken over Colby's untimely passing. Pet parents place their trust in us, and we realize that trust is earned. We understand there is no way to make up for the loss of Colby, and our thoughts continue to be with his family during this difficult time.