Dogs not poisoned by AC’s Freon

WESTFIELD – Investigators looking into the deaths of nine Australian shepherd dogs at a Granville Road kennel have determined that they were not killed by gasses from a malfunctioning air conditioner but have not learned what did kill the dogs.
Their owner did not report the deaths of the dogs when they expired, MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin said yesterday in a telephone interview. He said that the July 5 incident came to light when an anonymous caller to a local television station reported that the dogs had been buried.
Published reports indicate that Brenda Coggin, the owner and operator of Coggin Creek Stables and a breeder of Australian Sheppard dogs, said that she had found nine of her dogs dead in their kennel.
She said her dogs had bled out through their noses and were found in puddles of blood. She told a television reporter that she believed gasses from a malfunctioning air conditioner poisoned the dogs.
MSPCA investigators, working with Westfield’s Animal Control Officer Kenneth Frazer, began to investigate the deaths, which Halpin called “a rare event.”
“Clearly something went very badly wrong,” he said. “We’re looking into it and were examining the air conditioning units to determine if they malfunctioned.”
An MSPCA investigator removed the air conditioner from the kennel yesterday.
Frazer said that the air conditioner had been ruled out as a source of poison for the dogs.
“Nothing came out of the air conditioner that would have made the dogs sick,” he said.
The technician who examined the appliance said that, even if Freon had escaped from the air conditioner, it would not have killed the dogs.
The AC unit would only run for a few minutes before it shut down.
“It hadn’t been cleaned for some time,” Frazer said. “It was shutting down because the compressor was overloaded. All it was doing was blowing warm air in there.”
However, Halpin said that bleeding from the nose is not a symptom usually found when dogs die from excessive heat but said that the investigation is far from complete.
Frazer also said that the investigation is not finished and said that Coggin should have preserved one of the cadavers for a necropsy.
She did not do that, however, and Frazer said “She was just beside herself with what happened so you can’t really blame her for that.
He also said that he has no plans to exhume the dogs.
“They’ve been in the ground too long” he said.

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