Pets At Home pulls KONG lead from shelves after dog’s tragic death


Three popular dog leashes have been removed from all Pets At Home stores in the UK and Ireland following the death of a family’s beloved pet.

A Beagle-Harrier died in a collision with a van in Belfast after the clip securing the harness to the KONG-branded lead unexpectedly opened. Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes had purchased the head of their one-year-old dog Archie just 48 hours earlier.

They told Belfast Live of his grief and regret after assuming that the advance made by the trusted brand would not let them down. The couple have now turned their grief into action by launching a campaign calling on Pets At Home to issue a product recall notice, which can only happen with the approval of US company Mission Pets.

Pets At Home removed all KONG Rope Dog Leads from its shelves in all of its stores within hours of being informed of the accident by the couple. They will remain unavailable pending a product investigation.

The leash clip opened twice. It first opened while Joanne and Ed were walking Archie, but they were able to block it in a driveway and reattach the leash.

But the carabiner clip opened again on a walk the next day and Archie hit the road before Ed could get him to safety. Archie died of severe head trauma on the side of the road after being hit by a van.

The leash used on Archie’s last walk

Ed told Belfast Live: ‘We checked the lead well before our walk on Monday as it had opened unexpectedly the day before and it seemed to be working fine. We trusted the KONG brand and we trusted Pets At Home who would only sell safe and guaranteed tracks. But now we know there are no guarantees.

“Witnessing what happened to Archie in seconds, from being full of life to death, was absolute trauma. I saw it all unfold, I heard the noise, I still keep going. replay in my head. I’m tortured.

“I feel guilty that he was killed while I was with him. Joanne feels guilty that we bought the leash. We are just devastated and angry and want to warn other dog families not to assume like us, that a trusted brand bought in good faith from a trusted store can’t fail just when you need it most.

Archie on his first birthday in March
Archie on his first birthday in March

The couple launched their #Action4Archie campaign which resulted in the Europe-wide removal of the dog leash they had bought with two others. They were initially offered a refund of £18.99.

California-based Mission Pets Inc says the carabiner on this rope leash is made in China. The lead is then licensed to KONG who have an exclusive agreement with Pets At Home who sell it in the UK and Ireland in their stores.

It is not yet known how many have already been sold nationwide. Pets At Home has removed each of the three types of leashes with this clip from sale and is awaiting instructions to establish a product recall.

Archie as a little puppy
Archie as a little puppy

However, Mission Pets told Belfast Live the product recall was triggered as soon as they heard about Archie’s fatal accident. The company says it relies on stores to confirm the recall.

Mission Pets’ Adam Kellog, who runs SportPet Design at the company, called on all dog owners who have purchased any of the three types of KONG-branded rope leads with the clip in question to stop selling them. utilize. He says dog owners should bring the product back to Pets At Home to test.

Joanne said, “The leadership team at Mission Pets had to do business with us as they were in the middle of the Global Pet Expo in the United States, which is the industry’s largest trade show for pet products. pets in the world. But they understood our pain and made time for us and showed us compassion even as they were supposed to board for the show.

“We feel we’ve been listened to by Mission Pets and we’ll be waiting to hear what their tests are on the main show. Nothing can bring Archie back, we can’t even say sorry to him. All we can do is warn another dog in love about what happened to us in hopes it never happens again.

A Pets At Home spokesperson said: ‘We were devastated to learn of what happened to Archie and our thoughts are with Ms McPoland and Mr Hughes at this very difficult time. We take safety issues of this nature very seriously and are removing three Kong products that use this carabiner, including the Rope Dog Leash, from sale while we work with Kong to figure out what happened. We have been in contact with Ms. McPoland to offer our condolences and will keep her informed of the results of our investigation.

Mission Pets Inc President Michelle Elliott said, “We love pets and animals of all kinds – it’s at the heart of everything we do. We take any complaint against our product very seriously.

Ed and Archi
Ed and Archi

“Product safety is a major concern. We are in direct contact with the parties concerned to gather all the facts and circumstances. Our engineers would like to see the failed product. Once we better understand the situation, we will quickly work towards a resolution.

And a KONG spokesperson said: “We at KONG are heartbroken and are working closely with our partners at Mission Pets to fully understand the situation that has arisen. Together we are reaching out to these pet parents to support them and receive more details.

“We would never want to do anything to put pets at risk. Our goal is to always do the best for our pets and make their lives better.

“Everything we do every day revolves around creating fun, safe and healthy interactions. We will be looking closely at our products to determine the best way to move forward while maintaining our high quality expectations.”

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