FAIR OAKS, CA - Teresa Gilland's dog Sadie died three years ago after being groomed at a Fair Oaks Petco store.
"She was huge in our life," Gilland said. "When our oldest daughter went away to college, we really needed [Sadie] then."
Sadie experienced heat stroke after being placed into a cage dryer and had to be euphanized later that evening.
"I couldn't have known," Gilland said. "It never occured to me that they were putting her in that kennel. It's nothing you can see... it's not out there for the public to see. It's an enclosed kennel and they blow hot air in there."
The groomer later told Gilland that Sadie became ill while in the dryer and when she rushed Sadie to a vet it was too late to save her.
"Sadie was suffering, she had internal bleeding, she was blind and she had been in extreme pain all day," Gilland said.
The cage driers have been the subject of national news stories, but Teresa's is the first known court case.
It took Gilland two years to find a lawyer willing to take the case and she is armed with a vet report that lists internal burn injuries and bleeding caused by heat.
Groomers said cage driers are convenient because they don't require immediate supervision, but hand drying is preferable for safety.
"We use the regular blow driers that should be in most groom shops, similar to how you blow your hair, but they are forced driers," Trends n' Treats Owner Millie Finch said.
Gilland just wants at best, cage driers banned and least, consumers to have an option when they hand the leash to a trusted groomer.
PETCO released the following statement in regards to Sadie's death:
We've been aware of Sadie's story since it happened three years ago. We can't comment on the case, as it's currently in litigation, but it was a tragic loss and we take all issues of pet safety very seriously. Over the last few years, we've made a number of improvements in the grooming equipment we use and we are always seeking to improve our existing safety practices. One of those improvements is that we no longer use heat of any kind in the drying process in our grooming salons.