Owners say Chihuahua died at dog day care, cremated while they traveled

A Connecticut couple says a local dog day care is responsible for the death of its dog, which they loved like a child.

Ana and Arturo Rodriguez told WTIC they boarded their Chihuahua, Peanut, at The Flying Fur dog day care in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, before flying out to look after a sick family member.

During their trip, the couple called the day care to check on their dog and was told he was getting along well with the other dogs, but when they came back July 20, they were told Peanut died.

“The accident that occurred was not the result of gross negligence, but an isolated accident between 2 boarding/daycare guests, that had previously been playing nicely together,” TheFlying Fur owner Sandy Brengi said in a statement, according to WTIC

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The facility told WTIC the dogs were left unattended for a brief period when “he sustained one fatal bite to the back of his neck and was in no way mauled by the other animal,” according to Brengi’s statement.

“I don’t have any children of my own, so I’ve invested nine years of emotions on Peanut. He was my world,” Arturo Rodriguez said.

Arturo Rodriguez said he and his wife never saw their dog’s body and were handed an urn with his ashes, as well as his collar, tags, a cremation certificate and a handwritten letter from the attending veterinarian. The letter and certificate were dated July 17 -- three days before the couple returned home.

“It was offensive that they cremated him and did not tell us about the incident.,” Ana Rodriguez said. “It leads us to believe that there were underlying reasons why they weren’t telling us about it.”

“I just want some closure,” Arturo Rodriguez said. “I want to make sure this is actually my dog.”

The Windsor Locks Police Department, animal control and the state Department of Agriculture are investigating the incident. 

Brengi issued the following statement about the incident to WTIC:

“On behalf of the entire Flying Fur family, I would like to address the recent accident that occurred at our facility. 

“The accident that occurred was not the result of gross negligence, but an isolated accident between 2 boarding/daycare guests, that had previously been playing nicely together. I would also like to clarify the confusion regarding the breed of the other dog involved. 

“This dog was not a pit bull, as has been reported, but rather a mixed breed dog, that weighs between 25 – 30 lbs. We group our daycare guests together by size and temperament and at no time was there a dog larger than 30lbs in this play group. Additionally, there were no more than 8-10 dogs in that weight group the day this accident occurred. 

“At my direction, my daughter Alexa took the injured pet to the hospital immediately. He was not presented to the attending veterinarian as a stray dog or as property of The Flying Fur. In fact, his cremation certificate listed his full name. He sustained one fatal bite to the back of his neck and was in no way mauled by the other animal. 

“As principal owner, it was my decision not to contact his family as it was my understanding they were traveling out of town for personal matters. I thought the news would add stress to what was already a very emotional situation for them. It was also my decision to have him privately cremated and placed in a decorative urn. 

“That decision was based on my own choice of privately cremating some of my personal beloved pets. In no way was this done to cover-up any evidence of wrongdoing. 

“We would like to assure our community and our customers, that we are not taking this situation lightly, and we are truly sorry the accident occurred. Since the accident we have adjusted our existing procedures. We believe these steps will further insure the safety of the pets entrusted to us. 

“The Flying Fur has been in business since 2012. Since our opening, approximately 55,800 pets have passed through our business, and we have never experienced an accident such as this. 

“We are a proud and active member of the Windsor Locks community. We have deep ties to the town and the area. Windsor Locks has been my home for 30 years & my husband is a lifelong resident. We would like to thank all our loyal customers, family, and friends for their years of continued support of our family-owned business.”

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