COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A local woman is warning about the dangers of dog collars six years after her dog died while playing while wearing one.
Robbie Scott runs the Naked Dog Project which encourages dog owners to ditch the collar whenever possible.
One of the first things you do when you adopt a dog is put on its collar; it’s their identification — but it can also be dangerous.
Scott said her dog Gracie was strangled to death while playing with a dog at daycare. Her goal is to save other pet owners from going through what she went through.
“She was coming into her own and just starting to do everything right and we lost her,” said Scott.
Gracie was like most puppies. Active, loving, and trouble.
“She lived her 6 months at full speed.”
Her life was stopped in its tracks when she and another dog started playing at daycare. Both were in choke collars attached to a drag line.
“Another dog came up and grabbed at her neck, they twisted, and she strangled to death.”
Since that day she has done a lot of research and found that she was far from alone when it came to dog collar related death and injury. After that the Naked Dog Project was born.
“The research that we have is over 26,000 dogs a year get into trouble in collars.”
Scott says dogs are at most risk of getting hurt when playing with other dogs.
“We hear story after story of people coming home and they have one dog hanging from the other dog.” She’s also heard stories of dogs being left in a crate where their collar gets suck, getting caught in a floor register and the list goes on.
She encourages dog owners to take the collars off and have them “naked.”
“My hope would be that one day collar safety would be something people would just do, like seat belts. People just do it.”
Scott admits playing naked isn’t always an option, but you can choose your collar carefully.
“You’re not supposed to use a choke collar for anything but training, and if you are on the other end of the leash.”
She encourages people to research the collar their dogs wear and to read warning labels. Her dog now wears a harness with tags. She hopes others will do the same.
“We would do about anything to not have another family go through this. This is going to be a lifelong issue for this.”
For more information about the dangers of different collars go to nakeddogproject.com.
The nonprofit has also installed emergency kits in several public spaces where dogs play in the event a dog has a choke collar on and they get stuck.
NBC4 Investigates originally covered Gracie’s story back when it happened. The daycare confirmed it was policy for dogs to be on drag lines with choke collars. The daycare is now reportedly closed.