‘Freak accident:’ 8 dogs die in care of Portsmouth dog training facility

Portsmouth Animal Control investigates

Posted: May 27, 2021 / 12:00 PM EDT
Updated: May 27, 2021 / 12:45 p.m. EDT

John Holloway’s 1-year-old French Bulldog Ego was one of several dogs that died at the Virginia Beach Dog Training Center.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – John Holloway and his 1 year old French bulldog Ego were best friends. He says he was basically just another family member to him and his brother.

While visiting the Virginia Beach family a few months ago, Holloway met another canine father whose puppy was very well trained.

“I saw the dog before training like in October, then I saw him after he went to training. He listened on command and could walk on a leash, ”recalled Holloway.

With a newborn daughter, he wanted Ego to show his best demeanor, so he turned to Virginia Beach Dog Training to guide him through the same program.

According to Holloway, one of the co-owners, Stephane Hubert, picked up Ego on May 15th for a three-week training program at the store on Lane Place in Portsmouth.

He received a heartbreaking phone call last Sunday. Co-owner Nicole Hubert told him that Ego and several other dogs died of heat exhaustion. She explained that the owners had left the house for 5 to 6 hours and during that time the air conditioner somehow clicked on but somehow turned around to heat. “It didn’t really make much sense to me,” said Holloway.

Holloway said Hubert said the house must be about 90 degrees.

“She was crying hysterically; she cried all the time. It felt like she was sorry it happened, ”explained Holloway.

Portsmouth Animal Control officials say a total of eight dogs were killed in the incident.

In addition to ego, several dogs from other customers died.

Max went through the program too and didn’t make it.

Its owner, Chris Kowalski, went to Facebook to make people aware of what has happened since he said the company’s Facebook page was closed at the time.

Photo by Max credited to the owner Chris Kowalski

Holloway said a few days ago that he commented on that Virginia Beach Dog Training Facebook page alert other potential customers.

He says his comment was deleted shortly afterwards.

On Thursday morning, Virginia Beach Dog Training posted about the incident on Facebook. The contribution reads:

“Last weekend we had a freak accident in which members of our personal pack as well as some of our customers’ dogs were lost. We are devastated by the loss and have tried to show compassion and respect for the wishes of the parents of the lost. We were in direct and timely contact with everyone affected by the accident and were transparent about the events related to the accident. Once the immediate crisis was resolved, we investigated the cause, identified and resolved the device failure, and continued to take action to prevent this situation from occurring again. We were in contact with the animal control department and cooperated fully with their investigation. Words cannot begin to express the sadness we feel as a team, and we understand the outrage and concern. We appreciate the support of our customers who have made every effort during this terrible time to offer their condolences and continue to support them. “

According to Holloway, co-owner Nicole Hubert compensated him for $ 5,000 for his loss and ego cremation.

However, he says that sharing his story is about raising future customers’ awareness.

“People should be informed. I know people love their dogs because I loved my husband. I’ve been crying since it happened. But people need to know before they send their dog there, it might be the last time they see their dog, ”said Holloway.

10 On Your Side was in contact with Nicole Hubert for several days. Ultimately, however, she contacted a lawyer and decided not to conduct an interview until later.

Portsmouth Animal Control says the investigation is ongoing.

Holloway is currently investigating the possibility of a civil lawsuit.

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