An innocent game of tug-o-war with a KONG toy lead to the euthanization of a Rottweiler in California.
Max, Jaime Stumpf’s five-year-old Rottweiler, was enjoying a carefree game of tug-o-war with Stumpf’s son when the boy commented to his mother that he thought the KONG was stuck in Max’s mouth.
Stumpf’s wife looked over the dog and saw nothing wrong. The KONG was in the proper position – right in the middle of Max’s mouth – so she told the boy he could continue to play.
Later that night – around one o’clock in the morning – Max hopped onto Jaime and his wife’s bed. They realized Max still had the KONG in his mouth and tried to take it away from him. That’s when the Stumpfs realized the toy was stuck on Max’s tongue.
The Stumpfs rushed Max to the emergency veterinary hospital to have the veterinarians cut the KONG from his tongue. They realized the toy had suctioned Max’s tongue into the hole used to insert treats, and every time Max had tried to remove the KONG himself, it suctioned itself harder to his tongue.
Unfortunately, so much time had passed before the KONG was removed, Max’s tongue was dead. The Stumpfs had to decide if they were going to let Max live without a tongue, or put him down.
The family decided Max’s quality of life would be poor without his tongue, so they gave the vets permission to put Max to sleep.
Vice President of Brand Impact at KONG Hilary Van Der Zee released this statement regarding the tragedy:
“We were deeply grieved to hear the news about Maximus yesterday. Since we’ve been made aware of this loss from our KONG friends on social media, we have reached out to Maximus’ family. After learning of the incident, we have launched an extensive review. We are taking this matter very seriously and need to have a deeper understanding of the facts prior to determining our next steps. We do know that this product has been sold for over five years, and, up until yesterday, we have never heard of any dog experiencing this type of health issue. Toy safety is at the heart and soul of what we do, and we will be determining the next steps once we have all the facts in front of us.”
KONG has proven itself to be a respectable and safe pet toy brand up until this point. Will this incident change your opinion of KONG, or will you let it slide as a misfortunate fluke? Should KONG change its design? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to share this story with you friends by using the buttons below!