Dog owner warning: ‘Tortured by it’ Pets at Home withdraws products after beloved pet dies

Dog owner warning: ‘Tortured by it’ Pets at Home withdraws products after beloved pet dies

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Belfast: Family devastated after dog killed in road traffic accident

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The high street pet store will no longer stock rope dog leads made by brand KONG while it conducts an investigation into why one failed in such a catastrophic way. The lead that snapped while on beagle-harrier Archie had been bought from a store just 48 hours before.

The one-year-old dog was being walked when the clip on his KONG harness snapped open, leaving him not secured to the lead.

Without warning, he stepped in front of a van and was run over.

His grief-stricken owners, Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes contacted Pets at Home about the accident and, within hours, the company had removed all KONG leads from sale.

Ms McPoland and Mr Hughes are now urging other dog owners to check their leads.

READ MORE: Woman heartbroken as beloved pet dies after horror dog attack

McPoland, Hughes, Archie

The lead that snapped while on beagle-harrier Archie had been bought from a store just 48hrs before (Image: BelfastLive)

Dog lead

The one-year-old dog was being walked when the clip on his KONG harness snapped open (Image: BelfastLive)

Mr Hughes, who was walking Archie at the time of the fatal accident, commented: “I don’t have children of my own, he was my wee man, my first dog and the best thing to walk into our home.

“Joanne and I adored him and we used to joke that if we had to choose between one of us and the dog, it would be a close run thing.

“Now he’s gone and our home feels desolate. Our hearts are broken.”

Ms McPoland said she was “sick with shock” after the loss of Archie, and is “bereft, devastated” to have lost a dog that only turned one a week before dying.

She added: “The shock, the grief and the guilt are overwhelming. We seem to be stuck on a loop going over it again and again.”

The couple have also called for Pets at Home to issue a product recall, which is said to only be possible with the approval of pet apparel firm Mission Pets.

Hughes with Archie

Hughes: ‘Now he’s gone and our home feels desolate. Our hearts are broken’ (Image: BelfastLive)

Mr Hughes told BelfastLive: “We checked the lead well before our walk on Monday because it had unexpectedly opened the previous day and it seemed to be working fine.

“We trusted the KONG brand and we trusted Pets at Home would only sell guaranteed safe leads. But now we know there are no guarantees.

“To witness what happened to Archie in a matter of seconds from being full of life to death, has been an absolute trauma.

“I saw the whole thing play out, I heard the noise, I keep playing it over in my mind. I’m tortured by it.

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“I feel guilty that he was killed while I was with him. Joanne feels guilty that we bought the lead.”

The couple said that after making contact with Pets at Home, they were offered a refund of £18.99 for the dog lead.

Ms McPoland added: “If we had not used that lead, if that clip had not failed, we would have him here by our side safe and happy.

“Instead our home has been consumed by sorrow. Anyone who loves a dog will understand what we’re going through.”

Mission Pets said that a product recall was triggered as soon as they heard about the tragic accident, but Pets at Home said it was still awaiting instructions.

The firm’s designer also called for owners to return any of the affected KONG-branded rope leads to return them to stores for testing.

Archie

‘Nothing can bring Archie back, we can’t even say sorry to him’ (Image: BelfastLive)

Ms McPoland said the couple felt “listened to by Mission Pets” and would await the results of the testing.

She added: “Nothing can bring Archie back, we can’t even say sorry to him. All we can do is warn other dog lovers about what happened to us in the hope it never happens again.”

A spokesperson for Pets at Home said: “We were devastated to hear about what happened to Archie and our hearts go out to Ms McPoland and Mr Hughes at this very difficult time.”

Michelle Elliott, President of Mission Pets, said: “Product safety is a top concern. We are in direct contact with the parties involved to gather all the facts and circumstances.

“Our engineers would like to see the product that failed. Once we understand the situation better, then we will work quickly towards resolution.”

And a spokesperson for KONG said: “We at KONG are heartbroken and working closely with our partners at Mission Pets to thoroughly understand the situation that occurred.”

They added: “Never would we want to do anything to put pets in danger. Our goal is to always do what’s best for our pets and to make their lives better.”

Additional reporting by Jilly Beattie

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