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

Portsmouth Animal Control is investigating

by: Nexstar Media Wire

Posted: May 28, 2021 / 12:38 PM EDT
Updated: May 28, 2021 / 12:38 AM EDT

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Ego with Owner John Holloway (Courtesy Photo)

Holloway says on May 15, one of the co-owners, Stephane Hubert, picked up Ego 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 left the house for 5 to 6 hours and during that time somehow clicked on the air conditioner but somehow went to heating. “It didn’t really make much sense to me,” said Holloway.

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

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

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

In addition to ego, several dogs from other customers also 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 (Courtesy Chris Kowalski)

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

His comment was deleted shortly afterwards, he says.

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

“Last weekend we had an unusual accident in which members of our personal pack as well as several dogs from our customers were lost. We are devastated at 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 involved in an accident and made the accident situation transparent. After the immediate crisis was overcome, we investigated the cause, identified and resolved the equipment failure, and continued to take steps to prevent this situation from occurring again, fully cooperating with their investigation. Words cannot express the sadness we feel as a team, and we understand the outrage and concern. We appreciate the support of our customers who reached out during this terrible time to offer their condolences and continued support. “

Holloway says co-owner Nicole Hubert compensated him about $ 5,000 for his loss and cremated ego.

However, he says that sharing his story is about making future customers better known.

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

WAVY-TV from Nexstar was in contact with Nicole Hubert for several days. However, she eventually contacted a lawyer and decided not to conduct an interview until a later date.

Portsmouth Animal Control says the investigation is ongoing.

Holloway is now examining the possibility of a civil lawsuit.

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