Former Petco groomers face no jail time after dog dies in dryer cage

Petco at Westchester Commons

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Two former Petco workers charged in connection with the death of a golden retriever are scheduled to go to trial Tuesday. Suzanne Jensen and Rebecca Witherspoon were both charged with one count of inadequate care of an animal, a misdemeanor, following the death of Colby. The golden retriever was found dead inside a dryer cage at the Westchester Commons Petco store in Chesterfield last May.

Both women were fired from their jobs shortly after Colby’s death and California-based Petco took “full responsibility.” As a result of Colby’s death, Petco promised to retrain all groomers nationwide.

Petco at Westchester Commons

“While we’ve confirmed that no heat was used, and is not used in any of our grooming salon dryers, as an additional measure, the type of kennel dryer Colby was housed in has been removed from service in all Petco stores,” a Petco spokesman said following the dog’s death.

Little remorse

Colby’s owner Allison Marks said her family wanted justice for what happened to Colby, who she described as a member of her family. Marks said she “saw little remorse” from Witherspoon and Jensen during previous court hearings. During their last hearing, neither woman wanted to comment on the case.

Previously, Jensen said she was a dog lover, and that a broken air conditioning unit inside the store was to blame for Colby’s death.

WTVR CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said any evidence of improper conditions inside the store would play a factor at trial, but only if the evidence was credible.

Stone added the charge Jensen and Witherspoon faced was the lowest level misdemeanor a prosecutors could charge in Virginia. If convicted, neither defendant would face jail time, Stone said.