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Dog heartbreak as owners forced to put adorable puppy to sleep after salon visit


Harry the cockapoo suffered a collapsed intestine shortly after being put in a ‘drying cage’ at a dog groomers. He collapsed and was later taken to the vet where he was put down two days later.

Harry’s owner, Lisa O’Neill, bought him for £2,350 in October 2020 and took him to an award-winning dog groomers in February 2021.

However, in May, when he went back to the salon, which Lisa declined to name, Harry was washed and put in the ‘drying cage’ on May 6.

He collapsed and Lisa had to take him to her local vets in Ayrshire.

The eight-month-old cockapoo was then taken to Vets Now Hospital, in Glasgow, and he was put to sleep on May 8.

Lisa said: “I did do a bit of research and the groomer I took him to had 30 years of experience, had won awards, so I had absolutely no qualms about taking him there.

“Being a novice and not knowing about cage dryers I didn’t know to ask the question.

“When I got him back he looked good, he smelled lovely, he was desperate for a drink but I thought that was quite natural after being dried.

“So away we went and I was quite happy to trust them.

She added: “In May, it was the same scenario – a girl came and took him off me outside.

“About an hour later, I got a phone call saying Harry had collapsed while being dried”.

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The vet later told her that Harry “had heat stroke and that these drying boxes are death traps.”

Lisa explained: “It turns out, he had been put in a heated drying box and the timer was set for 30 minutes.

“Being an excitable puppy, he didn’t like being locked in anywhere so being locked in a drying box he would have jumped about the whole time”.

That’s when Lisa took him to the vet where he was set to have an operation that could have saved his life but because his blood wasn’t clotting he “would have just bled out on the table.”

Lisa, who said Harry “suffered tremendously” during the ordeal, has launched a petition to get the Scottish Government to act on regulating dog groomers, which has already gained 3,000 signatures.

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After Harry’s heartbreaking death, Lisa contacted the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) who investigated the incident.

The SSPCA inspectors concluded that Harry’s death was not clinically attributed to the groomers but backed calls for the regulation of dog groomers.

The post-mortem, by an external organisation, found that the dog had not died of heatstroke. A follow-up check had also been undertaken by a Scottish SPCA vet.

The Scottish Government has recently increased the maximum available penalties for causing unnecessary suffering to animals. This is now five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government commented: “We have introduced a new framework for the licensing of some activities involving animals, and will be consulting on whether to extend this to additional activities, including potentially to dog grooming businesses”.



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