WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – Animal control officers are investigating how nine dogs ended up dead in Westfield. The dogs were discovered in their kennel last Thursday — but investigators say they just learned of the deaths Wednesday. Our abc40 weather team says it was a hot and humid 85 degree day last Thursday. Brenda Coggins knew it, so she figured her dogs would be safe in an air conditioned kennel.
Sadly that wasn’t the case. She says these dogs are both her love and her livelihood
“I have nothing to benefit from my dogs being dead,” Brenda said. “It’s a huge loss.”
Brenda says she was stunned to find lifeless bodies of nine of her sixteen dogs. She says she went out around mid-morning and left all nine Australian Shepards in this air conditioned kennel. She realized something was wrong when she came home.
“It was pretty devastating to walk in and see all my dogs like that,” Brenda said. “It was a gruseome site. They were all dead. They all bled out through their noses. They were all laying in puddles of blood,” she said.
Brenda says later that day, she buried the dogs in her backyard, but didn’t call police.
“If somebody wants to dig up my dogs and test them, I have nothing to hide,” she said. “If they want to do that, they’re like eight feet down. We dug them deep but all individually wrapped in blankets. I just didn’t want to leave them there all night.”
She suspects a chemical emitted from a 2 year old air conditioner could be to blame for the deaths.
“The air conditioner itself tripped it’s only safety,” Brenda said. “The circuit beaker in the house was fine. It was just the one that was on the air conditioner. When I tried to re-set it and turn the power back on it sprays moisture in my face.”
The Australian Shepards, meanwhile, were all bred by Brenda and ranged in age from a year and a half to nine years old. Some were show dogs.
“All the puppies are born in my bedroom and come out to my kitchen afterwards,” Brenda said. “They’re all my pets. I love them all.”
Appliance experts we spoke with say they’ve never heard of a chemical in an air conditioning unit causing such a disaster. We also spoke to some veterinarians who tell us that it would be unlikely that a dog would bleed out from heat exhaustion and it sounds more likely to be some sort of poisoning. Investigators will work to determine if that air conditioning unit is actually what caused a poisoning.
The MSPCA and Westfield Police are leading the investigation. Brenda says they took that air conditioning unit this afternoon and will test it to determine if it is defective.