In May 2015, Allison Marks dropped off her two-year-old golden retriever, Colby, at a Petco in Midlothian, Virginia, for a grooming appointment. It was the last time she saw her beloved dog alive.
Marks grew worried when she when she didn’t hear from the groomers by 1 p.m. When she called them, she was told to go to a local animal clinic.
“They didn’t even tell me why I had to go there, just that one of the managers would meet me there,” Marks said. “I walked into it blind.” There, she saw Colby on the vet’s table, lifeless. He’d been left in a drying cage for too long, where he overheated and passed away. The vet explained that Colby had most likely died from heatstroke.
“I just started screaming. Colby was my everything,” she said, adding that the vet said Colby had been dead for at least 45 minutes “and his temperature was still above 105 degrees.”
The Petco assistant manager told her that the groomer who had been working on Colby left to go to a graduation.
“I don’t know if they turned him over to another groomer and they dropped the ball or what,” Marks said. “I know people walk back and forth past the dryers constantly because I have to take Colby back there myself with his anxiety.”
At the time, Marks was considering taking legal action against Petco. “I can’t bear the thought of losing another dog,” she said. “I feel like I should’ve done better by him.”
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Petco released the following statement, adding it was taking “immediate action” to investigate the incident:
“All of us at Petco are heartbroken by Colby’s passing. The health and safety of pets is always our top priority and we take full responsibility for all animals under our care. Our thoughts are with Colby’s family at this difficult time.”