Colby, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, died of heatstroke May 31 after being left in a drying cage at a Petco grooming salon in Midlothian, Va.
The store’s assistant manager told Colby’s dog mom, Allison Marks, that a groomer put Colby in the cage and then left the store to go to a graduation party.
In a statement June 4, Petco said it took full responsibility for the tragedy and the company was “heartbroken over Colby’s untimely passing.” The employee was terminated.
This week, former Petco employees Suzanne C. Jensen and Rebecca L. Witherspoon were charged with a class 4 misdemeanor for animal neglect.
“After consultation with the Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s attorney’s office, animal services officers obtained summonses for animal neglect,” the Chesterfield Police Dept. said in a news release today.
Jensen told WTVR she was “completely shocked” by the charge. She claimed she was not in charge of Colby when he died, and the store’s broken air-conditioning unit contributed to his death. She said she plans to fight the charge.
The maximum penalty Jensen and Witherspoon are facing for Colby’s death is a $250 fine.
In a statement, Marks said she was pleased with the charges.
“I am glad to see there will be justice for Colby’s death,” she said. “I am still extremely thankful for all the continuous support and prayers during this difficult time!”
To prevent similar tragedies in the future, Petco said it would remove drying cages from all of its grooming salons and provide additional training to groomers. The company said no heat was used in the drying cages, but didn’t offer an explanation as to why Colby died of heatstroke.
Photo via Twitter