Owners forced to put eight-month-old puppy to sleep after dog salon visit 5 months ago

Owners forced to put eight-month-old puppy to sleep after dog salon visit

The puppy had been placed in a 'drying cage'

A dog owner has been left heartbroken after she had to put her puppy to sleep following a visit to a dog salon.


Mum-of-one Lisa O’Neill, 37, is still mourning the death of eight-month-old cockapoo Harry, who suffered a collapsed intestine shortly after being put in a 'drying cage' at a groomers.

O'Neill bought the puppy in October 2020 and took him to an award-winning grooming salon in February 2021.

However when he went in May, Harry was washed and then put in a 'drying cage' at the groomers, which his owners declined to name, on May 6.


He collapsed, and Lisa had 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 O’Neill is still mourning the death of eight-month-old cockapoo Harry (credit: SWNS)

Police officer O'Neill, from Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, is campaigning for dog groomers to be regulated, which animal welfare chiefs agree needs to happen.

The SSPCA have said Harry's death was not clinically attributable to the groomers but backed calls for regulations.

Lisa said she "did do a bit of research" about the groomer and that he had 30 years of experience and had won awards so she "had absolutely no qualms about taking him there."

However because she was "a novice" she didn't know to ask the question about the drying cages.


She continued: “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."

O'Neill therefore returned to the groomer's in May - but got a phone call about an hour after dropping him off, telling her that Harry had "collapsed while being dried."

She still had no idea about the drying cage.

The SSPCA have said Harry's death was not attributable to the groomers but backed calls for regulations (credit: SWNS)

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.

“He was taken to Vets Now in Glasgow to try and treat him but unfortunately, the complication that arose from the heatstroke meant his blood wasn’t clotting."

Harry was set to have an operation which could have saved his life but because his blood wasn't clotting he "would have just bled out on the table."

So O'Neill "had to go and sit with him while they put him to sleep."

She said Harry had "suffered horrendously," adding that “he had intussusception due to the stress and trauma of being locked in the box.

“The specialist said everything he’d suffered from, the heatstroke and the stress had caused an intussusception - where intestines go into themselves.

“I can discuss it now without breaking down but it’s taken a while for that to happen.

“A dog is a member of the family.

“Harry if you put him in a crate, he would jump about, he didn’t want to be locked in, so to be locked in a heated box for that length of time, he would have been going crazy.”

She has now launched a petition to get the Scottish Government to act on regulating dog groomers which has gained nearly 3,000 signatures. She also hopes to make more dog owners aware of drying boxes.

Scottish SPCA chief inspector Laura McIntyre said: “In May 2021 we investigated the heart-breaking death of a dog when he fell ill at a groomers shortly after being in a drying cage.

"The dog was taken to a private vet where his condition sadly deteriorated and he was ultimately put to sleep.

"We arranged for a post-mortem to take place, by an external organisation, in order to fully investigate the circumstances.

"This post-mortem found the dog had not died from heatstroke. A follow-up check was also undertaken by a Scottish SPCA vet.

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