On the night of February 28th 2013, our 4 1/2 month old English Bulldog puppy Sophia passed after being restrained by your trainer during her "loose" leash walking lesson in your Petco Levittown, NY store. During her session she was restrained as she went to greet my husband. She immediately vomited several times, collapsed and begain coughing blood. Not one employee in your store was prepared in the event of an emergency. There were no emergency vet phone numbers or locations posted nor were any of your staff from trainers to management trained in canine first aid/CPR.
The Brachycephalic dog requires care above and beyond standard protocol. If you continue to provide services for this breed, educate your employees on their requirements. Enghlish Bulldogs and all "brachies" have rules. Any force to the neck of a Bulldog is undue force. Breathing is a priority for them, they cannot be restrained at the neck, nor be exposed to heat at all. They need cool, well ventilated space and access to water at all times.Their compromised respiratory system puts them at high risk for overheating which can lead to death.
Sophia did not have to die that night. My dog did not have a "severe cardiac abnormality." That is a lie. Her necropsy revealed a healthy heart and lungs, free of defect and disease. Your vets speculated arrythmia upon reading the report.
REGARDLESS OF THE MECHANISM OF HER DEATH, the remaining fact is that a member of your puppy class died tragically. There was an emergency and your employess were unprepared.
You are a company that makes millions of dollars from the love and affection that people have for their pets. We had hoped that we would receive the same compassion in return, and Sophia's life would be honored in that way.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 1 out of 4 pets would survive if just one pet first aid technique was applied prior to getting emergency veterinary care. 60% of all vet visits are emergency in nature and statistics show that preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among pre-senior dogs and cats.
I believe that Petco as a company can begin by making a change to ensure the safety of all animals. Certifying all of your dog training and grooming staff in pet CPR and first aid would be a great start. Perhaps Sophia would still be with us today if she had been treated with canine CPR techniques.
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