Pets At Home withdraw three dog leads from UK sale after puppy’s tragic death

Pets At Home have withdrawn their stocks of KONG Rope Dog Leads pending an investigation into the death of Archie, a Beagle-Harrier who was killed by a van

Heartbroken owner Ed with Archie the Beagle-Harrier

Pets At Home have taken three dog leads off their shelves across the UK after a puppy broke loose and was killed by a van.

Archie, a Beagle-Harrier, was being walked while wearing a harness clipped to a KONG lead when it snapped open without warning and Archie stepped in front of the van.

The poor dog was killed outright leaving his family broken and asking questions of Pets At Home who sell the lead, reports Belfast Live.

His family, Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes from Belfast, had bought the lead just 48 hours earlier trusting the KONG brand would not let them down as they continued training one-year-old Archie.

Pets At Home were contacted by the couple about the accident and within hours the company had every KONG Rope Dog Lead removed from sale in all stores.







The offending lead which has been removed from sale
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)







Joanne and Ed’s engagement celebrations included Archie
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)

Joanne and Ed are urging the public to check their own dog leads after their # Action4Archie drive prompted a Europe-wide withdrawal of the one they bought and two others.

The couple have called for an official product recall notice by Pets At Home which which can only happen when triggered by the US firm, Mission Pets.

Ed, 39, from Dunmurry, who was walking Archie at the time of the road accident, said: “Archie was basically my wee son. That’s just how I feel. I don’t have children of my own, he was my wee man, my first dog and the best thing to walk into our home.

“Joanne and I adored him and we used to joke that if we had to choose between one of us and the dog, it would be a close run thing. Now he’s gone and our home feels desolate. Our hearts are broken.”

Joanne bought the KONG-branded lead from Pets At Home last Saturday.







Little Archie was beloved by both his owners
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)







Archie was one year old when he was killed
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)

On Sunday the clip opened during a walk, releasing Archie but the couple were able to corral him in a driveway and put the lead back on.

The following day while on another walk, the carabiner clip clicked open again but this time Archie stepped into the road before Ed could pull him to safety and the dog was hit by a van. Archie died on the roadside.

Ed said: “We checked the lead well before our walk on Monday because it had unexpectedly opened the previous day and it seemed to be working fine.

“We trusted the KONG brand and we trusted Pets At Home would only sell guaranteed safe leads. But now we know there are no guarantees.







Ed had been walking Archie when the puppy was able to get free from the lead
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)

“To witness what happened to Archie in a matter of seconds from being full of life to death, has been an absolute trauma. I saw the whole thing play out, I heard the noise, I keep playing it over in my mind. I’m tortured by it.

“I feel guilty that he was killed while I was with him. Joanne feels guilty that we bought the lead.

“We’re just devastated and angry and we want to warn other dog families not to assume as we did, that a trusted brand bought in good faith from a trusted shop cannot fail just when you need it most.”

The couple contacted Pets At Home to tell them what happened while using the KONG Rope Dog Lead and were initially offered a refund of £ 18.99.







The couple are still grieving over Archie’s death
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)

Distraught, they turned to BelfastLive for help.

Joanne said: “We were sick with shock, we needed to explain what had happened and we wanted to understand how Archie could possibly be dead when we’d spent his whole life making sure he was secure, safe and looked after.

“With the help we got through to KONG and then the manufacturer of the lead in the USA, a company called Mission Pets.







Archie on his first birthday in March
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)

“Thankfully they listened to us, they responded quickly and sales of the leads with this particular carabiner clasp were stopped immediately, and they were removed from all of the Pets At Home shops with immediate effect.

“The three companies now want our lead to do tests on it and try to ensure whatever happened, never happens again. It will go to Mission Pets for full testing.

“Sadly though it is just too late for our wee man. We’re bereft, devastated to have lost Archie in this way. He was such a good boy, the heart of our family who was just starting what we’d hoped would be a long and healthy life. He only turned one a week ago. Now he’s dead and all we have left are his ashes di lui in a cask.







Ed and Joanne before they lost Archie
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Joanne McPoland and Ed Hughes)

“If we had not used that lead, if that clip had not failed, we would have him here by our side safe and happy. Instead our home has been consumed by sorrow.

“It was horrendous for the driver too, he was in tears and he has our every sympathy. We hope he’s OK. The only lucky thing is that Ed wasn’t hit by a car because he stepped out instinctively to get Archie.”

A spokesperson for Pets At Home said: “We were devastated to hear about what happened to Archie and our hearts go out to Ms McPoland and Mr Hughes at this very difficult time.

“We take safety concerns of this nature very seriously and are removing from sale three Kong products that use this carabiner clip, including the Rope Dog Lead, whilst we work with Kong to understand what happened.

“We have been in contact with Ms McPoland to offer our condolences and will keep her updated with the outcome of our investigation.”

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