Former Petco Workers Charged With Animal Neglect In Dog’s Death

Colby, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, reportedly died after being left in a drying cage in the store's grooming area.

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Colby the Golden Retriever. Via Allison Marks/Facebook
Colby the Golden Retriever. Via Allison Marks/Facebook

Two former Petco workers have been charged with misdemeanor animal neglect following the death of a Golden Retriever in the drying cage at a Petco in Midlothian, Virginia, WTVR reports. Suzanne Jensen, 31, and Rebecca Witherspoon, 28, were both working as groomers at the store at the time of two-year-old Colby’s death.

It was more than two months ago that Colby’s owner, Allison Marks, said she dropped the Golden Retriever off at the Westchester Commons Petco. When she didn’t hear back from the groomers for a couple hours, she said called the store and was told to meet the store’s assistant manager at a nearby animal hospital where she learned her dog had died. A veterinarian who treated the dog told her Colby likely died of a heat stroke.

Owner Allison Marks called Colby's death "the worst day since [her] husband passed." Via WTVR

Owner Allison Marks called Colby’s death “the worst day since [her] husband passed.” Via WTVR

Jensen was contacted by the news station, and the self-described animal lover said she believed that a malfunctioning air conditioning unit in the grooming area in the store was the cause of Colby’s death. She also said that she was not the employee who was in charge of Colby at the time and that she would be fighting the criminal charges against her.

Following Colby’s death, Petco released a statement in which it claimed no heat was used in its dryers, but took “full responsibility” for what happened.

“After a thorough investigation, it was clear our animal care protocols were not followed when it came to Colby,” Petco said in the previously realized statement. “As a result, the individuals directly involved are no longer part of our company.”

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