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Updated: Dog Dies Following Incident at Potomac Yard PetSmart

German shepherd attacked two dachshunds on Dec. 27.

4:10 p.m. update — PetSmart spokesperson Michelle Friedman sent Patch this written statement regarding the Dec. 27 incident that occurred at the Potomac Yard store:

"The death of Reagan is a tragic loss. No words can express our deep sorrow and regret for this incident. Nothing is more important to PetSmart than the safety and wellbeing of pets, especially those that are placed in our care, and we want to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again. While PetSmart has strict policies and procedures to keep pets safe and offers all of its associates comprehensive training, accidents still do occur.

"Despite our associates’ efforts to prevent this incident, our own investigation has led us to determine that PetSmart policies and procedures were not followed. We take policy violations very seriously, and consequently, several of the associates at this location are no longer with PetSmart. We are also working to help the pet parent during this difficult time."

— — — —

One dachshund died and another was injured following a Dec. 27 incident involving a German shepherd at the at Potomac Yard. All three dogs were staying at PetSmart’s “pet hotel.”

The owner of the dachshunds contacted Animal Control following the incident.

“The shepherd had somehow escaped its cage and attacked the other dogs,” said Joy Wilson, Alexandria’s Animal Control director. “All the dogs were being housed there because the owners were out of town.”

Wilson said one of the dachshunds had to be euthanized because of its injuries. The other dachshund received sutures and was placed in overnight vet care.

Wilson said the PetSmart employees were instructed to contact her office in the future if similar incidents occur. 

The German shepherd, whose owner lives in Washington, D.C., was quarantined for 10 days to show it was not infected with rabies.

“The sad part about it is that it’s not either owners’ fault,” Wilson said. “When we were dealing with the attacking dog’s owner, she was devastated her animal was put in position to kill another animal.”

PetSmart’s media relations office in Phoenix did not return Patch's request for comment on Friday.

Wilson said the German shepherd was not entered into Virginia’s dangerous dog registry because it resides in the District.

Matt Harris January 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Very Uncool - I frequently leave my dog at this location and until I learn more about what happened, I'll likely try to find another place to board my dog. Any suggestions?
Angela M. Oddone January 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
No boarding situation is going to be 100% guaranteed safe. I asked my vet for a recommendation and she recommended Anchor Kennel in Accokeek, MD, which was excellent. Hiring someone to house/pet sit is probably the safest and most convenient option.
Amalia January 13, 2012 at 10:33 PM
The german sheperd should have been euthanized. I knew Regan. She was a mini dachshund. The poor baby did not have a chance with such a big animal. They should never have been in the same area. Petsmart is responsible for the lack of proper training of its employees. They should pay the owner of Regan a sum for her pain and suffering of having her lovely Regan massacred.
Amalia January 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Joy Wilson, the Alexandria Animal Control should include in the Virginia's dangerous dogs Registry the name of the german shepberd because HE KILLED A DEFENSELESS SMALL DOG. The fact that this dog is not a resident of Virginia is a copout. If our laws do not apply to District dogs, for heaven's sake demand proof of residence in the State of Virginia of the pet owner!
Drew Hansen (Editor) January 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM
It was not Wilson's decision not to put the dog in the state's dangerous dogs registry. It was the decision of an Alexandria city attorney.
irret January 13, 2012 at 11:44 PM
amalia this is so sad for regan and her parents. i don't agree that the sheperd should have been euthanized as this would only cause pain for two sets of pet parents. the dog should be kept at home with a housesitter if the owner leaves town again and needs to board. in general i think a kennel is a bad idea and dogs don't like being there. the owner leaves them and this causes anxiety, the dogs are in a place they don't know or may not like.
Rachel January 14, 2012 at 07:26 AM
If there are supposed to be caregivers there 24/7 (according to the Petsmart.com website), how did this tragic event occur?? This has less to do with how dangerous the German Shepherd is, and everything to do with the neglect of their employees. My dog frequents Doggie Daycamp at this store but I don't know how I feel about taking her back here now.
Jenny Cavanaugh January 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Your Dog's Best Friend. They are locally owned and in Del-Ray. They offer cageless boarding and cost only $5 more a day than PetSmart (if you already pay extra for play time).
jennifer January 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Such a sad event for everyone involved. Animals are just that, animals- no matter how much we think our dog/cat/horse whatever would never hurt a fly. I feel horrible for the poor dog that lost it's life and it's family. Such a tragedy. At the same time my heart goes out to the shepard and it's family as well. Who knows what set the shepard off. And can you imagine the guilt of the employees at PS?! The entire situation, for EVERYONE involved, is devastating. I agree that if you board your animal out of state then they should be put on the DDR. Especially in this case where the DC and VA line is almost non existent. As for boarding facilities, both Anchors and DBF are great places. However both places have a communal play area where something such as what has just occured could also happen. Especially when dealing with a GD and a D- I don't care how fast an employee gets there, there's little to no chance of survival. My heart goes out to all involved.
Charles Els January 14, 2012 at 11:54 PM
The dogs are both animals. This is what animals do sometimes. Amazing that this article generates more comments and attention than what is currently taking place within Alexandria's city government or Alexandria's troubled school system. Give those two areas as much focus as these poor dogs and the city would be better for it.
Kara Lynn Noto January 15, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Doggwalker.com has been a fantastic resource while traveling. For close to the same cost of boarding your dog, a walker will visit the home to walk, feed, play and care for your pet. Special needs are addressed in a consultation prior to the first series of appointments. They've been fantastic!!
Cameron January 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Pet Peeps (petpeeps.biz) out of DC also provide an awesome service.. they'll come to your house to pet sit for a very reasonable price... check them out!
dandog January 16, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Sad incident for all involved. Matt, I had used Your Dog's Best Friend for a year until my dog was attacked at the front door one morning in Nov 2010. The clueless patron's dog whose jumped on my dogs back and start attacking him, had an aggressive leash issues. The owner of YDBF knew about this and still allow this animal in their facility with other dogs and around customers in the common area. I was able to get pull my dog out the door without serious injury; but never heard back from YDBF mgmt after one phone call- with they offered to come pick my dog up after I left. I have used Dogtopia in Alexandria for over the past year and very happy with daycare & boarding. I have also heard good things about A Dog's Day Out too.
Bev Glass March 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Dogs and all animals are loved in so many ways. Maybe your can't understand cause your not a sincere animal lover. :( I do agree the school system has many areas that need attention.
Bev Glass March 28, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I feel sorry for what the pet owners had to go thru and the memories they have of this terrible incident
Bev Glass March 29, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Dogs and all animals are loved in so many ways. Maybe your can't understand cause your not a sincere animal lover. :( I do agree the school system has many areas that need attention.
samantha December 19, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Inexperienced staff and failed temperment test. I board dogs at my house in Parkfairfax and I make sure they are always supervised, and if not, they are crated. I also do not take aggressive dogs or dogs I know will possibly cause an issue among others. Like one person said, there is never any guarantee that your dog won't get hurt or even hurt someone else, but it seems to me that they were not paying attention to these animals. Places that board multiple dogs, such as this place, any many others have temperment tests for a reason. Safety is my main concern for the animals I care for, bottom line. If anyone ever wants to keep their pup in a safe home environment, and it costs less than a larger facility, please contact me! -Samantha www.ruffsandrelaxation.com
Sandra Fuller April 15, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Sorry but I believe the shephard shouldve been euthanized too.Whats to keep the shephard from attacking another dog and or child.All I know is I couldnt trust a dog of mine in my household knowing that they had killed another dog.

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