A Chula Vista family said they had to make the difficult decision to put their beloved dog down recently after his chew toy got stuck on his tongue, KTLA sister station KSWB reported.
About a week ago, the family's 5-year-old Rottweiler named Maximus Decimus Aurelius, or Max, was playing with a Kong toy when Jaime Stumpf's son Tyler noticed something was wrong.
“He said ‘Mom, I think Max’s ball is stuck in his mouth,'” she told the San Diego-area television station.
Stumpf checked the toy, found it to be in its proper position and they continued playing. At some point, the family went to bed that night.
Then, at 1 a.m., the dog jumped up onto Stumpf's bed and woke her up.
“Max jumped on top of me at one in the morning. I reached in to take the ball away and I realized that I couldn’t take it away,” Stumpf said.
To her horror, she discovered that the ball was stuck on Max's tongue, and she couldn't get it off.
“There’s no hole on top. There’s a hole on the bottom and it just got sucked on his tongue,” she told the TV station. “So, the more he worked on it to try to get it out, the more it clamped down on his mouth.”
The family rushed Max to the pet hospital, where veterinarians ultimately had to cut the toy away from the tongue. At that point, it was too late, and the family was left with a difficult decision, according to a heartbroken Stumpf.
“Yeah, I’m not going to let our dog live without a tongue," she said, holding back tears. "It's stupid."
The company has responded to the family's claim, issuing the following statement to KSWB:
“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 of the facts in front of us.”
Stumpf told the station she is hoping the company would consider changing the product.
“What I feel is that the model of this toy that he got ahold of needs to be improved," she said. "That’s it. Bottom line, that’s all I care about. Just fix it.”
Stumpf added she is considering a lawsuit.
“It will always haunt me until the day I die that that dog, as noble as he was, laid next to me in my bed and suffered in silence,” she told KSWB. “He didn’t need to die from that, but he did.”