Virginia Petco employees charged after dog dies in their care


CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) –Two former Chesterfield Petco employees face animal neglect charges after a dog was found dead in a drying cage at the store in May.

Suzanne C. Jensen and Rebecca L. Witherspoon were employed by Petco at the time of the incident and now face a class 4 misdemeanor charge of animal neglect.

Allison Marks dropped off Colby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, at the store to be groomed only to later find it dead in a drying cage at the Westchester Commons location. Marks said Petco employees told her that they found her dog dead in a drying cage and said a vet then told her he believed Colby died of a heat stroke.

Petco initially suspended the groomer who was caring for Colby. After an investigation, they say the “individuals directly involved” are no longer working for the company. Petco said it was taking “full responsibility” in the death of Colby and taking added measures to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The national chain removed the type of kennel dryer that Colby was kept in at all Petco stores, and is giving additional training sessions at all of its grooming salons.

Both Jensen and Witherspoon have been served with a summons to appear in court on the charge. A representative from Petco says the chain finished its investigation and released a statement reading in part,

“I am glad to see there will be justice for Colby’s death,” Marks said upon hearing the news of the charges. “I am still extremely thankful for all the continuous support and prayers during this difficult time!”

Petco has declined to give specifics on exactly what happened to Colby. However, the chain says the type of dryer used on Colby, did not have heat or hot air. Petco did say that “our animal care protocols were not followed” and that “as animal lovers, we’re saddened and deeply concerned about what happened to Colby.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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