ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Missouri – St. Charles County Health Department officials are investigating the death of a puppy after being in a kennel.
The Baldwin family brought 5-month-old George, a Golden Retriever puppy, to the Westinn Kennels before heading to Gulf Shores on vacation.
When they picked him up nine days later, he was not acting, so the family said they took him to the vet.
“We dropped him off, went on vacation, didn’t think anything about it,” says Jona Baldwin, George’s owner. “He was just a typical 5 month old puppy, he didn’t deserve this.”
Kevin West, owner of Westinn Kennels, said George behaved normally for the first 8 days of his stay at the facility. However, on the ninth day of his stay, it was reported that the puppy had vomited some food.
“Like his parents, we want to know what happened to George,” West said.
“When an incident occurs, an incident that is not an emergency, like a first burping, it will be noted on their tracking form and they will be watched for six hours. In this case, Papa picked up within this observation period, so that no further steps were taken. “
Westinn Kennels records show that George ate all of his meal June 13-21. The tracking form used in the kennel read: “22.06. – Vomit / bile around 1 p.m., tired for the rest of the day. “
Baldwin said when her husband picked George up from the Westinn Kennels, he was told that he had vomited earlier in the day.
Then there are two accounts of how George behaved when he left the facility.
“I have statements that say the dog was definitely what you would call a ‘sleepy puppy’ when it came out, but wagging its tail and accepting friendly pets from the staff,” West said.
According to Baldwin, the family had to carry George out of their truck.
“It was just lying in the front yard,” he said. “Not like a normal 5 month old Golden Retriever would be happy to be home and see us and the boys. He couldn’t even lift his head. “
Baldwin added that George vomited again in the car and they were taking him to a veterinarian where he was taken to a pet emergency clinic.
“It was just too much to deal with,” said Baldwin.
Veterinary records from the veterinary clinic that Baldwin shared with Fox 2 / KPLR 11 show that George was diagnosed with “pneumonia, likely secondary to aspiration”.
“It had the highest oxygen level they could have in an oxygen tank Tuesday night through Saturday,” Baldwin said.
“They finally got the oxygen out of him, he seemed to be fine so they still said there would be two to three weeks of rest at home but they wanted to send him home with medication so we went” and got him on Saturday, ”said Baldwin.
The records also show that George was given antibiotics when he was released, which he should continue for at least two weeks and then follow up with his vet to recheck the chest x-rays.
But he didn’t make it that far.
“He died about an hour and a half to two hours later in my husband’s arms in our living room,” Baldwin said. “He had gone.”
West said he wasn’t always at the facility, so doesn’t always know what’s going on there, but he trusts his staff.
“There is nothing to suggest that George was mistreated,” he said.
The St. Charles County Health Department said it was aware of the incident and is investigating it by conducting interviews and gathering facts. The department said it was the first time an incident was being investigated at that facility.
“We don’t want another animal to lose its life,” said Baldwin. “You cannot speak for yourself, we have to speak for you. We don’t want something like this to happen again, and that’s what we do. “
Baldwin said George was aware of his recordings. West said the kennel will check that the dogs are up to date on their vaccinations before entering the facility.
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