Heating system malfunction blamed for dog deaths

A Candler woman’s heating system is being blamed for sending out extreme heat, resulting in the death of two of her three dogs. (Photo credit: Tosha Wendland)

A Candler woman’s heating system is being blamed for sending out extreme heat, resulting in the death of two of her three dogs.

“It was just a tragic situation. It was something that could have been prevented. Something that we didn't see coming,” Tosha Wendland said.

She said on December 15 when she came home from work and opened her door, she was met with extreme heat.

She immediately went to check on her dogs who had been at home for nine hours without water.

“Our poodle had already passed, but I still tried to revive him. I got him in a tub of cold water and I was shaking him, but he wouldn’t come back to,” she said.

Then she went to her second dog who had climbed into the bathtub.

“He was lethargic. His tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth. He had vomited. He was drooling. I immediately started running cold water. I was trying to get him to drink. I was trying to pour water down his throat. He wasn’t. It was just coming down the side of his mouth,” she said.

She was able to take him to the Regional Emergency Animal Care Hospital (REACH), where she was told he had a 20 percent chance of survival.

“We went back there and saw him, and he was in a lot of pain. He raised his head and looked at us, and he knew that we were there, and we ended up deciding to have to put him to sleep,” she said.

Quality Air’s Service Manager Ben Cline said one of the parts on her heating system malfunctioned.

“The part is actually called a sequencer, and this sequencer stuck close,” he said.

In turn, it kept sending out heat without turning off.

Wendland believes it was more than 90 degrees in her home, and the only way she was able to stop the heater was by shutting off the breaker.

“I kept telling myself that I could save them. I kept telling myself if I just got them water, if I got the windows open, and my windows stick, and I couldn't get the windows open, but it was so hot,” Wendland recalled.

According to Quality Air’s records, there were four calls and service checks for the heating system between February and December when the incident occurred. But each time a maintenance tech checked it, it was working properly.

Cline explained it further by using an example.

“If you have a noise in your vehicle, you take it to the mechanic and that noise all of a sudden disappears. It can be hard for a mechanic to diagnose an issue,” he said.

He still feels bad for what happened, especially as a dog owner himself.

“I've spent hours at REACH Animal Hospital with one of my dogs, so I understand what they must be feeling, and I'm very sorry for what happened, but at the same time, it wasn't a lack of effort on our part. It was just a very unfortunate circumstance,” he said.

In all of this, there is a glimmer of hope.

Wendland’s third dog was able to survive.

She’s hoping someone will hear her story and take action before something like this happens to them.

Cline said customers should consider taking video of any appliance that malfunctions so that a maintenance tech can get an idea of exactly what’s happening, that way if it doesn’t malfunction when a tech is around, they will have an idea of what it’s doing when it’s not working properly.

Quality Air made changes to fix the heater's malfunction and did not charge Wendland.

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