West Side business under scrutiny after dog dies in their care

A dog named Georgia died while in the custody of K9 University Chicago after a worker didn’t realize the furry animal was left inside a transport van as the temperature climbed to 90 degrees.

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K9 University Chicago is facing backlash on social media after a dog died in their custody.

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A West Side animal boarding business is under fire after a dog died in their care when it was left inside a vehicle last week as temperatures climbed to 90 degrees.

Last Thursday, a dog named Georgia was checked into K9 University Chicago, located at 2945 W. Lake St., in East Garfield Park, for a boarding stay, according to a Facebook post from the business. The dog arrived at the facility in a transport vehicle, but the driver didn’t see Georgia when the other animals inside the van were taken into the facility, according to the post.

Workers eventually found Georgia inside the van and attempted CPR, according to the post. The dog was taken to a veterinarian, according to the business. It was unclear how long it had taken workers to figure out Georgia had been left in the van. The dog was later pronounced dead.

Ruby Madrigal, the owner of the business, declined to further comment when reached by phone Monday afternoon.

The business wrote about the incident on their Facebook page, leading to an onslaught of backlash on social media that included a petition to shutter K9 University Chicago. The incident was first reported by NBC5 Chicago.

The West Side business is licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which was investigating the incident, said Krista Lisser, a spokesperson for the agency, in an email.

By Monday afternoon, the business had taken down their social media pages.

Mo Vela, 28, of Chicago, started the petition after seeing a social media post about the death from a dog walking service she has used in the past. She later saw other social media posts from past workers who were speaking out about prior problems at the business.

“Seeing that, it instantly clicked this place needs to be shut down,” Vela said. “If we go through the investigation, gather all the videos, that takes awhile. If we start a petition, if we get enough signatures, maybe it will pressure the local politicians to do something faster.”

The death happened as the area was experiencing consecutive days of 90-degree weather. Temperatures in Chicago had reached 90 degrees by Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service’s website.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends pets never be left inside a parked vehicle, noting temperatures can quickly reach dangerous levels. Signs of a pet having heatstroke include difficulty breathing, glazed eyes and lack of coordination, according to the Humane Society.

The organization recommends taking an animal suffering from heatstroke to the veterinarian while also applying ice packs or cold towels to the animal’s head, neck and chest and giving the pet small amounts of water or ice cubes.

Because of Georgia’s death, K9 University Chicago plans to change check-in procedures, search for interior vehicle technology and provide canine CPR training for staff, according to the Facebook post.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust. 

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